History of Swedish Massage

History of Swedish Massage

THE SWEDISH MASSAGE

The Swedish Massage, which was conceived by Henri Peter Ling, a Swedish physiologist at the University of Stockholm, was publically introduced in 1812 as a means of improving blood circulation, of relieving muscle stress and pain, of increasing flexibility and of promoting total relaxation of the body and mind. The Swedish Massage was imported into the United States in the 1850s by Charles and George Taylor, two American brothers practicing medicine in New York who opened the first two Swedish clinics in the New World; the first in Boston, Massachusetts and the second in Washington, D. C.

GEORGE TAYLOR

GEORGE H. TAYLOR WAS BORN in Williston, Vermont, on January 4, 1821. Largely self-educated, before he was eighteen he began teaching in the common schools of Williston; and soon he was selected to be the town’s first Superintendent of Schools. Before he had turned twenty-one, though, George Taylor was suffering from various chronic, difficult-to-understand, and evidently impossible-to-treat health problems. So, he began researching the matter for himself. This led to studies at the Medical Department of Harvard and at the New York Medical College, where he graduated in 1852.
Dr. Taylor started his professional career at the New York City Water Cure, 184 12th Street, at the corner of University Place – a hydrotherapy institution. He established his own practice, in or soon after February, 1853; and a few years later, he was joined by his younger brother, Dr. Charles Fayette Taylor.
Early in his career, George H. Taylor encountered a curious belief among people in general, as well as among physicians, that women’s bodies were particularly susceptible to disease. He found no evidence to support this notion; and much of his work was devoted to promoting the health of women, particularly through exercise.
Taylor developed a system of exercise therapy, and later he learned of institutions in Stockholm that used similar methods. This is probably why his brother Charles, very soon after being awarded a degree in medicine in 1856, sailed to England to learn Per Henrik Ling’s system of Swedish movements from Dr. Mathias Roth, the author of the first English book about Swedish massage. In 1858, George traveled to Sweden to observe the Swedish movements firsthand. Once back in New York, he founded the Remedial Hygienic Institute.
Prescribed exercises and massage were at the heart of what became known as the Swedish movement cure. Dr. Taylor invented a mechanical massage device which he introduced in 1864. Later, his clinic at 67 West 38th Street became known as the Improved Movement Cure Institute. We know that, in addition to exercise and massage, it incorporated certain elements of hydrotherapy (water cure). Patients of the Institute were taught about the nature of their illnesses and about their treatment regimen, as well as about the importance of good nutrition.
Dr. Taylor, in addition to his mechanical massage device, invented various types of exercise equipment used to treat specific medical problems.

Since its inception in the early part of the 19th century, the Swedish Massage had become one of the most widely used massage techniques in the Western world and it is the basis for a number of other Western massage therapies which include the Sports Massage, the Deep Tissue Massage and the Aromatherapy. To attain its objectives, the Swedish Massage utilizes seven basic therapeutic movements:

• Effleurage. These are long gliding and soothing strokes which are aimed toward the heart while tracing the natural curves of the body. Massage oils are often used to facilitate smooth movement and to warm the muscles.

• Petrissage. These are movements which use strokes that lift, roll or knead soft body tissues. This process draws blood into the area and helps relax tense muscles and fascia as well as the rest of the body.

• Pinpoint Pressure. These movements are directed toward points that are knotted or hardened and painful to the touch. Pressure is directed to these points in order to break them down and release the muscle.

• Deep Friction. These are very small circular movements which press slightly below the surface of the skin and onto the muscle beneath it. These strokes relax muscles which contracted and tensed due to overuse or as a result of emotional stress at their deeper levels.

• Skin Rolling. This movement involves pinching a fold of skin and moving it forward in a rolling motion. This process lifts skin off its connective tissues to promote better blood circulation for the improvement of skin tone.

• Tapotement. This movement requires rhythmical tapping with cupped hands or with hands set in the karate-chop position. This practice awakens the body into vitality and the tingling sensation of energy and health.

• Finger Brushing. This movement is usually performed at the closing of the Swedish Massage treatment session as fingertips are lightly brushing against the surface of the skin to relax the stimulated muscles while calming the nervous system.

The most outstanding health benefits of the Swedish massage are in:

• Relaxing of tired, tense or overused muscles.
• Improving blood circulation without overburdening the heart.
• Increasing flexibility and widening the range of motion by stretching the body’s soft tissues: muscles, tendons, ligaments, skin, joints and connective tissues.
• Stimulating the nervous system while simultaneously relaxing the nerve endings.

Purpose of Deep Tissue Massage

Purpose of Deep Tissue Massage

The deep tissue massage is a kind of massage therapy that centers its attention primarily on the ailing, the sore, the painful, and the distressed deeper layers of muscles and connective tissues.

The purpose of Deep Tissue Massage is particularly beneficial for chronically tight and constricted areas such as in cases of stiff necks, tightness of lower backs and aching shoulders. The strokes of the Deep Tissue massage are not very different from those of any other types of massage therapies, but they are slower and with more pressure applied to reach deeper while focusing on troubled areas.

The Deep Tissue massage is so important in certain painful contractions and spasms due to stress, strain or injury because that is the only way to get to the root of the problem as it is embedded deep under the surface where adhesions which are the causes of the pain and rigidity in muscles, tendons, and ligaments are located. Adhesions obstruct circulation in the affected areas to limit the blood flow, which leads to the pain, the restricted movement, and, ultimately, to the inflammation. By applying firm pressure and direct friction across the grain and fabric of the muscles, the Deep Tissue massage aims to break down those troublesome adhesions to restore proper blood circulation, reinstate full movement and heal the inflamed tissues. The therapists performing the Deep Tissue massage may use fingertips, knuckles, hands, elbows, and forearms during the therapy session and alternate them during the various stages. Clients are frequently asked to take deep breaths as the therapists dig deeply into a particularly tense area.

Because the Deep Tissue massage is somewhat intense, it should not be applied under the following conditions:

Infectious skin disease, rashes, bruises, inflamed skin, tumors, or open and unhealed wounds.
Immediately, or soon after, surgery or recent fractures.
Immediately. or soon after, chemotherapy or radiation treatments, unless approved by the client’s physician.
Osteoporosis patients, unless approved by the treating doctor.
Clients prone to blood clots.
Heart disease patients, unless recommended by their cardiologists.
Pregnant women should get their massage treatments from professionals who are certified in pregnancy massage.
Abdominal hernia.

The good news is that Deep Tissue massage really works, and it usually works very fast. Often, clients will walk into a session with excruciating pain and walk out a couple of hours later with smiles of relief on their faces. The bad news is that, depending on their tolerance level to pain, most clients experience it to one degree or another at a certain point during the session. Also, there is usually some measure of soreness immediately after the treatment, which can last up to an entire day. However, the pain of the Deep Tissue massage therapy and the lingering soreness afterward is nothing compared to the pain before the treatment, and it comes with the knowledge that it will all be over very shortly. The massage therapist may suggest applying an icepack to the sore area, but it is rarely severe enough to warrant it.

When most massage therapies are aimed at relaxation of the body and mind and the massage is generally applied to the entire body, the Deep Tissue massage sets its sights on precise problematic areas such as those afflicted with:

Chronic or acute pains
Diminished mobility or limited range of motion.
Healing areas after traumas or injuries caused by falls, sports injuries, whiplashes from car accidents, and so on.
Strains from repetitive motion, such as carpal tunnel syndrome.
Pains due to incorrect posturing of the body.
Pains from osteoarthritis. According to a study conducted and reported by the Consumer Reports magazine, over 34,000 people classified Deep Tissue massage therapy as being more effective in alleviating osteoarthritis pain than physical therapy, exercise, prescribed, or over-the-counter drugs, glucosamine, diets, acupuncture or chiropractic treatments.
Fibromyalgia. Statistics have shown that Deep Tissue massage is more successful in easing symptoms of Fibromyalgia than any other available curative remedy.
Muscle tension, contractions, or spasms.

To flush out metabolic waste from the massaged tissues, clients should drink plenty of water after the Deep Tissue massage.

The Zen Massage

The Zen Massage

There are very many massage techniques in existence today, some of them stemming from the far Eastern World of antiquity while others originated in the more recent years of the Western world. Although they were born out of very different philosophical and cultural persuasions, each of these obtainable massage techniques provides some aspects of relaxation. Still, none does it as thoroughly as one that was born in Austin, Texas, and christened as the Zen Massage.

Zen, by the way, is an ancient Chinese discipline, which means “meditation,” and it focuses on the meditative portion of the dharma practice and the experiential wisdom which is also called the zazen or the path of enlightenment. It, therefore, steers away from theoretical knowledge and theology. Zen Massage induces utter calm, peace, and a relaxed state of being feels.

By combining an assortment of highly sophisticated and time tested and proven techniques, the Zen Massage affords its subjects a spontaneous soothing and a balanced energy experience of picture-perfect enormity. The various features which are part and parcel of the entire therapeutic Zen Massage treatment are as follows:

The Heated Stones. This is a curative procedure that makes use of hot stones which are moved along the subject’s muscles in smooth gliding motions and well-calculated pressure.

The Hot Towel Pore Cleanse. This purifying treatment involves the use of freshly steamed towels applied to the entire body. The heat of the towels opens the pores to cleanse and revitalize the outer skin (epidermis) while also reaching into the lower layers, the dermis, and the hypodermis.

The Bio-Mat. The Bio-Mat calms down and relaxes tight and sore muscles while it quiets and soothes irritated nerves. The Bio-Mat transports the subject into the realm of a complete state of wellbeing on the physical as well as on the psychological levels.

The Aromatherapy. Pure essential oils are used for this aromatherapy treatment to help the subject relax as stress is melted away, and complete balance and wellness overcome the client.

The Peppermint Bliss Foot Massage. The peppermint bliss foot massage smoothes and softens tired and aching feet for a feeling of harmony and peace, which radiate from the tips of the toes to the crown of the head.

The Zen Massage therapy is a noninvasive and natural massage treatment which has been clinically proven to be completely safe while being highly effective in relieving stress, which has also been shown to be the leading cause of countless physiological and mental health problems. Some of the most significant benefits that have been attributed to the effectiveness of Zen Massage therapy are: · The lowering of high blood pressure, which in medical terms is referred to as hypertension and has been often spoken about as the “silent killer.” The improvement of the REM sleep. The REM stands for rapid eye movement, and it is characterized by, you guessed it, rapid eye movements. It also includes rapid low voltage EEG, which is commonly spoken of as brain waves. On average, a healthy adult spends approximately 20 to 25 percent of a whole night’s sleep in the REM phase, and it is essential to good health. The decrease of fatigue of the body and the mind which naturally leads to enhanced concentration and improved motor skills. In conclusion, Zen Massage therapy helps its subjects to release their worries, unwind their bodies, relax their tensions, quiet their minds, and ease their senses.

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