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Think for a minute: what is massage? It is being in contact with our body. When we experience physical pain, our natural reaction is to touch the painful part of our body. This instinctive reaction forms the basis of massage. It is one of the oldest methods of healing: massage was used as long ago as 3000 B.C. in the Far East, where the positive benefits of applying oils and rubbing the body to prevent or relieve pain and illness were widely appreciated. In ancient civilizations, scented oils were almost always used – heralding the birth of aromatherapy massage. Your skin plays an important role in your life and serves immune functions as well as sensual and emotional ones.
Massage can have profoundly positive effects in those with depression or with anxious personalities, promoting feelings of calmness and serenity. With this newfound calmness, people are often able to begin dealing with the underlying problems that initiated their anxiety or depression. Massage can also be used in many other positive ways, including calming fretful babies and the rehabilitation of those with long-term incapacity problems (including those who are bedridden) – for example, highly trained therapists can offer lymph massage to assist postoperative recovery from breast cancer.
Massage can be practised in many ways. Just stroking your own or another person’s body is a type of massage; this contact is incredibly important in order to gain some understanding and love for the human form. There are, however, four main categories of massage that are widely recognized: effleurage (stroking), friction (pressure), percussion (drumming), and petrissage (kneading). Most masseurs use a variety of these styles, depending on each individual case. Generally, they also use other personalized styles combined with other natural healing methods. This is often reflected in their choice of essential oils and carrier oils.