M assage therapy is recognized as one of the oldest methods of healing, with references in medical texts nearly 4,000 years old. In fact, Hippocrates, known as the “father of medicine”, wrote papers recommending the use of rubbing and friction for joint and circulatory problems.

Chinese records dating back 3,000 years also document its use; the ancient Hindus, Persians and Egyptians applied forms of massage for many ailments. A Chinese book from 2,700 B.C., The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Internal Medicine, recommends 'breathing exercises, massage of skin and flesh, and exercises of hands and feet" as the appropriate treatment for complete paralysis, chills, and fever."

Doctors such as Ambroise Pare, a 16th-century physician to the French court, praised massage as a treatment for various ailments. During World War I patients suffering from nerve injury or shell shock were treated with massage. St. Thomas's Hospital, London, had a department of massage until 1934. However, later breakthroughs in medical technology and pharmacology eclipsed massage as physiotherapists began increasingly to favor electrical instruments over manual methods of stimulating the tissues.

Massage is now used in intensive care units, for children, elderly people, babies in incubators etc. Most American hospices have some kind of bodywork therapy available, and it is frequently offered in health centers, drug treatment clinics, and pain clinics. A variety of massage techniques have also been incorporated into several other complementary therapies, such as aromatherapy, reflexology, Rolfing, Hellerwork, and osteopathy.

Nowadays massage therapies can be found in any respectable SPA around the world (Day Spas, Medical Spas and of course Hotel Resort Spas).
M assage is defined as the application of various techniques to the muscular structure and soft tissues of the human body. It is the application of soft-tissue manipulation techniques to the body, generally intended to reduce stress and fatigue, while improving circulation.

Massage therapy techniques include applying fixed or movable pressure, holding, vibration, rocking, friction, kneading and compression using primarily the hands, forearms, elbows or feet. All of the techniques are used for the benefit of the musculoskeletal, circulatory-lymphatic, nervous, and other systems of the body. In fact, massage therapy positively influences the overall health and well-being of the receiver.

The many variations of massage, account for several different techniques. Massage excludes diagnosis, prescription, manipulation or adjustments of the human skeletal structure, or any other service, procedure or therapy which requires a license to practice orthopedics, physical therapy, podiatry, chiropractic, osteopathy, psychotherapy, acupuncture, or any other profession or branch of medicine.
I n many types of diseases and chronic illnesses, massage therapy not only cannot help but in fact can even spread the disease, therefore it is absolutely prohibited. For each and every type of massage therapy there are specific rules, precautions, relative and absolute contraindications which we must always have in mind.

Therefore, be always frank with your therapist about your medical history and consult with your physician before visiting your massage therapist. Just consider the fact that even a simple fever (caused by a common cold) can escalate, if massage is performed.

Some fundamental precautions and contraindications we should always consider are:

  • High fever
  • Acute inflammations
  • Serious injuries (recent bone fractures)
  • Recent operations
    • Hepatitis, AIDS
    • Sevier muscle and skeletal injuries
    • Contagious (or not) skin diseases (herpes, warts, impetigo, boils, fungi, scabies, lice etc.)
    • Pregnancy at early or late stages (with special care)
    • Alcohol consumption
    • Menstruation
    • High or low blood pressure
    • Heart diseases and disorders (pacemaker, open heart surgery, strokes)
    • Open skin wounds and recent injuries
    • Phlebitis and varicose veins (avoid these areas), thrombosis
    • All forms of cancer (allowed only by licensed medical professionals)
T oday we know that the benefits of massage are varied and far-reaching and yet we have much more to learn, since not so much research (believe it or not) has been done in this field. As an accepted part of many physical rehabilitation programs, massage therapy has also proven beneficial for many chronic conditions, including low back pain, arthritis, bursitis, fatigue, high blood pressure, diabetes, immunity suppression, infertility, smoking cessation, depression, and more. And last but not least, massage helps relieve the stress and tension of everyday living that can lead to disease and illness.

Physical and Mental Benefits of massage:

  • relaxes the whole body
  • loosens tight muscles and fascia
  • relieves tired and aching muscles
  • increases flexibility and range of motion
  • diminishes chronic pain
  • calms the nervous system
  • lowers blood pressure
  • lowers heart rate
  • enhances skin tone
  • assists in recovery from injuries and illness
  • strengthens the immune system
  • reduces tension & headaches
  • reduces mental stress
  • improves concentration
  • promotes restful sleep
  • helps in mental relaxation
B efore each massage session you should expect to spend a few minutes (10'-15') with your therapist in order to fill out a questionnaire which is also known as the "Intake Form".

This questionnaire should include some personal details (name and address) and information concerning the receiver's physical condition and medical history.

Every possible effort should be made from the therapist's side, in order to avoid possible dangerous implications to his client’s health. People who are ill (even without knowing it) could endanger and put their health into unnecessary risk. For example, a common cold can get worse if a massage treatment is applied.

You need to be extremely careful and honest when filling out the Intake Form. For some very serious health conditions (some of which we mention above), it is absolutely necessary to consult a medical doctor before booking an appointment for any kind of massage session.
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