Massage Therapy

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Massage Therapy

Massage Therapy

Massage Therapy is just one option from a wide array of other very effective and closely related options, such as Acupressure, Body Work, Manipulative Therapy, Manual Lymphatic Drainage, Structural Integration, Alternative Medical Systems, Mind-Body Intervention, Biologically Based Therapy, Energy Therapy, Shiatsu and Tui Na.  And all these as a group come under the wide umbrella of alternative medicine and body-based methods.  Massage Therapy is a procedure in which various methods are utilised to manipulate soft tissues of the subject’s body such as the muscles, tendons, ligaments, skin, joints, connective tissues as well as the lymphatic vessels and organs of the gastrointestinal system.

The primary goal of Massage Therapy is to affect physical, psychological and functional curative changes by performing manipulative functions which involve moving or stationery pressure, structured or unstructured force to strategic points, vibration, stroking, kneading, and so on.  On occasion, mechanical devices are used as tools of the trade, but for the many part, Massage Therapy is applied manually with the therapist’s hands, fingers, elbows, forearms and feet as the subject is fully clothed in a massage chair or partially to totally naked but covered with a towel on a massage table or on a mat on the floor.

Ancient scriptures have attested to the fact that massage therapy dates back into antiquity and it has been a fundamental practice in many different cultures such as the Roman, Greek, Japanese, Chinese, Egyptian, Mesopotamian and Indian.  Even Biblical writings from c. 493 BC speak of daily massage with olive oil and myrrh being applied to the wives of Xerxes (Esther, 2:9-12) as part of their daily beauty routine.  Hippocrates of Cos, a Greek physician of the fourth century BC who is also considered the “father of medicine” and after whose teachings the famous Hippocratic Oath was named, wrote that “The physician must be experienced in many things, but assuredly in rubbing.”

Advancing to more modern times, Massage Therapy gained its popularity in the United States when it was presented by two physicians from New York in the 1800s.  Their techniques were an adaptation from the Per Henrik Ling Massage Therapy which was developed in Sweden.  With the introduction of new and exciting innovations in medicine during the 1930s and 1940s, the popularity of Massage Therapy waned but was revived again by the athletic community in the 1960s and 1970s.  Massage Therapy was provided as a central medical service for the first time in the United States during the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia.

Etymologically speaking, the word “massage” in English comes from a long line of derivatives as follows:  the French word “massage” which means “the friction of kneading,” which comes from the Arabic word “massa” which means “to touch, feel or handle,” which comes from the Latin word “massa” which means “mass or dough.”  The Greek word for “massage” is “anatripsis” and the Latin word is “firctio.”  However, the oldest known origin of the English word “massage” comes from the Biblical Hebrew word “me-sakj” which means “to anoint with oil.”

What we refer to as Massage Therapy today has in the past been merely referred to as Massage.  However, the “therapy” portion of the Massage Therapy came into being only when the illegal prostitution and sexual services in the United States began advertising themselves and their wares as “massage.”  Wanting to distinguish itself, the legitimate massage became Massage Therapy while the illicit continued to be called massage.

Essential Oils for Effective Relaxation

Relaxation is an important part of a daily regimen.  Some people focus on daily work schedules, exercise, home care, taking care of children, and other personal chores for daily living.  Relaxation should always have a part of your day, but some people ignore the importance of relaxation and rest.  Resting the mind and body helps refresh energy and brings back a balance of body strength and fortitude.

Relaxation essential oils also induce a mindful state of calm that helps you forget of the day’s stressful events or what daily chores are needed for the next day.  Relaxation does not necessarily mean that you are required to sleep.  Relaxation includes meditation and drawing your mind away from the stress and into a complete peaceful state.  A total relaxation state soothes your whole body and reduces the tiring effects of stress and sleepless nights.

Some people have a busy and hectic life going to work, taking care of children, and finding the time to clean the home.  Essential oils for relaxation can help you relax and stay calm during hard times that would otherwise cause you to lose control from high levels of stress.  They can be used at the end of the day to help you unwind and calm your nerves.

You can also use essential oils in aromatherapy within your office.  Although the goal for relaxation methods is to calm and create a sense of peace, they do not make you tired.  Using essential oils in the office will give you peace throughout the day and help you maintain your temper during high stress moments.  Used in the office, the oils will calm your mind during the work day so that you do not feel overwhelmed by stress or deadlines.

There are several essential oils that can help you relax in your home or in the office.  Essential oils such as ylang ylang, chamomile, and neroli will help you relax throughout the day without making you tired.  Each have their own unique effects, but when they are used together they are a powerful aromatherapy to ultimately make you feel at peach.

Ylang Ylang

Ylang Ylang is an extremely potent essential oil that is sensual and relaxing.   The balancing effects from the exotic aroma leaves your whole body and spirit feeling relaxed.  It is also a romantic aroma and it is perfect for date night or cuddling up with a loved one at night.

Chamomile Maroc

Chamomile Maroc is probably one of the many popular soothing aromas.  This essential oil soothes your mind while relaxing your body.  It will help you emotionally to combat the irritability and anger that can happen from a day of high levels of stress.  If you are a person who has a hard time withholding strong emotions such as anger, chamomile is a great essential oil to help you calm your anger.

Neroli

Neroli has a combination of relaxation effects that restore your level of peace while rejuvenating your overall energy and body strength.  The essential oil is distilled from blossoms of the bitter orange tree.  It is an exotic plant that has deep effects on the emotional aspects of your mind.  The fragrance can restore your mind to lower levels of stress and disperse the anger left in your body.  Irritability will be lessened when this essential oil is used within the office.

Essential Oils for Stress Relief and Emotional Balance

All of these oils will help you throughout your day even if used individually.  Used together and they will remove the heavy emotional effects of stress and tension.  Removing the negative effects of the day can help you maintain your balance, and it is a major factor of dealing with anger management.  You will find yourself more productive, and you will have a better customer service friendly attitude.  Use these essential oils in combination with other stress relieving oils and you will find your whole presence to be more positive.

 

How Essential Oils are Made

Essential oils are actually extracts from certain plants, trees, and fruits using a technique called distillation.  Since plants contain such a small amount of extract, several pounds of plants are needed to provide a small bottle to consumers.  The essential oils are then refined and distilled and packaged in containers that help maintain the scent and fragrance for a good amount of time.  The following is a list of treatments and extract procedures that produce the essential oils for our use in aromatherapy or creams.

Steam Distillation

Steam distillation is the many popular and the oldest distillation process available.  Old time, traditional aromatherapy professionals believe this method is the best way to produce the many quality extracts.  This system takes dried or fresh plants and places them into a steam chamber.  The steam is put under pressure and then circulated in and out of the plant material.  The heat from the pressurised steam causes the plant’s cellular structure to open and the essential oils pour into a holding container.  This is a delicate method since the heat must be well balanced to open the plant but not too hot causing destruction of the delicate oil.

After the steam and oil are distilled into a container, the steam returns to a liquid while the oil creates a film at the top of the solution.  Both the liquid and the oil are both therapeutic by-products of the process.  The oils can be packaged as pure essential oil extract.  The water still holds a lot of the oil properties, so it is used by cosmetic companies in toners or skin creams.

Cold Pressing

Extracts from fruits such as bergamot, grapefruit, lemon or limes use different forms of processing.  The essential oils are mainly in the fruit’s peel, so they need to be penetrated.  The fruit’s peel is rolled over a large array of sharp objects that cause the peel to burst and the oils extracted.  Then the fruit is squeezed and the juice contained.  Like steam distillation, the essential oils rise to the top of the juices as a film.  They are separated by centrifugations into containers that are packaged to consumers.

Enfleurage

This method of extraction is used for flowers or plants that are very delicate.  Some plants are too delicate to withstand the heat from steam distillation.  Enfleurage uses animal fat to absorb the essential oils from the delicate flowers.  As the petals are depleted from their oils, more are placed on the animal fats until it is completely saturated with the extract.  After the fat is saturated, the fat is treated with alcohol which solvates the essential oils.  Once the mixture is contained, the alcohol will evaporate leaving behind the essential oil product.

Solvent Extraction

Solvent extraction is the many efficient and affordable way to separate the extract from the plant.  In this method, a solvent is used to saturate the plant and absorb the oils.  After saturation, it is then treated with alcohol.  Like enfleurage, the alcohol eventually evaporates and it leaves only the essential oils for packaging.  This method is especially useful for more expensive extracts where each plant needs to be squeezed for its extract as much as possible.  Although this method is the many cost efficient, it can leave solvent in the product which can cause side effects.

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