Massage is a natural folk medicine.
It was known to all civilizations in the East and the West. In the East, its development was continuous, while in the West it has experienced its ups and downs. Thus, for example, in the dark Middle Ages it was withdrawn from the public life (but it was still secretly practiced, as well as healing and midwifery) and then again publicly emerged during the Renaissance.
Today’s classic (or Swedish) Western massage was introduced in the second half of the 18th century by the Swede Henrik Ling and the German Dr. Matzgar, after which it quickly spread throughout the continent. In the 20th century, during the First World War rehabilitation massage began to develop, followed by massage for athletes – already at the first Olympic Games of the new era in 1924 in Paris, massage was used by the “Flying Finn” Pavvo Nurmi, the winner of five Olympic medals; the pioneer of sports massage in Slovenia after the 2nd World War was Dr. Alojz Šef.
In Slovenia, there was a real massage boom after 1990 – first with the classic Western massage, while a decade ago Oriental massages were introduced.
It is the touch that heals. Pleasure that you feel after a massage can raise self-confidence. The effect is relaxation – both physical and mental, thereby renewing the will and pleasure of working and living.
“It is anti-stress, it stimulates the cardiovascular system, increases blood circulation and lymph circulation, it has beneficial effect on the well-being – for example, already by rubbing or massaging the feet we can change our mood.
- If we are constipated, we can stimulate digestion by massaging the abdomen, while by massaging the genital area women can reduce menstrual cramps.
- Massage washes away lactic acid from the muscles of athletes and helps to increase joint mobility.
- Massage also affects the vegetative nervous system.
We often feel sleepy afterwards, but the next morning we wake up rejuvenated, full of power,” explained Živkova. Western massage achieves all these effects by rubbing, kneading, pressing, shaking, tapping, and certain Eastern massages also include stretching.
In the classic Western massage, the massage therapists use oil. “The friction irritates the skin, accelerates the lymph, increases blood flow by as much as six to seven times.
- In the massaged area it increases the flow, while we also carry out peeling – the removing of old skin.
- It is also beneficial for the joints as they warm up, which benefits them greately. It is useful for ligaments and muscles, as these may stick together with the soft tissue and form the so-called nodes that are removed by massage.
- Rubbing has the task of warming up, establishing the first contact, and stimulating blood circulation in the body. By rubbing, we want to break up the nodes and ensure a smooth flow.
In case of athletes, we want to flush away as soon as possible the lactic acid generated as a by-product of training – by squeezing we want to further supplant the byproducts of training. By kneading, we want to expand the muscle tissue, while the relaxation techniques (such as slight tapping) cause gentle vibrations and relax muscle tissue in order for it to return to its original state,” as Živkova further explained.
Benefits of massage
- It strengthens the immune system,
- improves blood and lymph circulation,
- improves skin tone,
- increases body awareness, corrects posture,
- increases tissue metabolism,
- accelerates the flushing out of toxins that cause muscle tension and fatigue,
- regeneration and nutrition of tissues is better, faster,
- lowers blood pressure and heart rate,
- improves respiratory function,
- increases cellular metabolism,
- reduces pain,
- eliminates and prevents cramps,
- returns muscle flexibility and elasticity, increases muscle performance,
- calms and reduces emotional tension.