Appropriate method of massaging the body and benefits of massage

1. Need for massage

If the body is overworked beyond its capacity due to some activity in an emergency or due to some activity done inappropriately, the muscles weaken or contract generating a toxin. These are either not absorbed fully by the blood vessels or are absorbed very slowly because of which there is pain or heaviness in muscles hampering their activity further. For their expulsion sound sleep is essential at night but due to pain often sleep is disturbed.

Massage helps in directing these toxins into the blood. Most of the toxins in the muscle are expelled thus reducing the pain and making it light and relaxed. Till these toxins are regenerated the body gets sound sleep and the speed of toxin production decreases and is controlled.

 

2. When to get a body massage ?

A. When the body has swelling for several days

B. Cramps in muscles

C. Muscle strain.

 

3. Benefits of a massage

A. The muscles relax.

B. Massage expels toxins from the area and pure blood flow commences as usual.

C. Massage prevents the scab of large wounds from adhering to the deeper layers of skin. Consequently pain caused by a thick scab and obstacles to movements of joints are overcome.

D. Massage before going to bed induces sound sleep and toxins generated from physical stress are controlled. When washing clothes you scrub and hit them to remove the grime and after rinsing in water wring them to remove the water. The process occurring on muscles is similar to washing of clothes. As muscles are delicate massage should be done with the hand gently, instead of rubbing.

 

4. Correct techniques of massage

Type 1

Spread out the index finger and thumb about the part of the body to be massaged. Apply gentle pressure over that part using the webspace between the index finger and thumb. Move the hand from below upawards on the body and when doing so do not lift the hand. Through this process you are trying to push out the toxins accumulated in the body just as you swab floor tiles clean, of water. When doing so often the toxins are pushed sideways. To prevent this it is important to spread the index finger and thumb over the part to be massaged fully. The massaging should be done with equal pressure everywhere.

Type 2

Move the hands in circles over the body of the patient using the thumb or thenar eminence (prominence below the thumb), or hypothenar eminence (prominence below the little finger) with moderate to severe pressure in the clockwise or anti-clockwise direction without lifting the hand like a spring. When in circular motion give more pressure till a semi-circle, then give less pressure. Apply pressure throughout the circular motion and record what the patient feels. Then do whatever the patient feels better with.

With this technique toxins from the muscles are expelled. Repeat technique 1 after this. By doing so the toxins expelled from technique 2 are sent back into the main blood stream.

 

5. Massage to be given to prevent
the scab of the healing wound from adhering to skin layers below it

After a major surgery suturing is done. When the wound heals it could adhere to the lower layers of the skin. Similarly when a large wound heals its scab too could adhere to the layers of skin below it obstructing movements of concerned joints. To prevent this as the wound starts healing with medical advice, massage it very gently.

Place your thumbs on either side of the scab of the healing wound. Place one thumb a little lower than the other instead of keeping them exactly opposite each other and applying moderate pressure with one thumb at a time move the scab to one side. When doing so ensure that the scab is not being dislodged. If that is not happening then decreasing the downward pressure give a little pressure horizontally. If fomentation is taken before the massage then it is excellent as the scab will not cling onto the skin below and with passage of time will not obstruct movement.

 

6. Points to be considered for massage

A. Massage should always be done in the upper and middle part of the body upwards from the fingers to the joints or from the lateral to the medial part of the body.

B. If massaging is done little by little then it is more effective. Instead of massaging the entire leg first massage the toes, then the soles, heels, knees and thighs.When massaging the hands move from fingers to palms, wrists, elbows, shoulders or armpits till the chest.

C. When massaging you may use oil or a powder. As far as possible avoid massage with a cream. The purpose of using oil or powder is to reduce the friction between the hand and skin. As friction decreases the hand moves over the skin easily and the patient is not distressed by it. If massaging is done with a medicated oil then its medicinal effects are also perceived.

D. If the hands and legs swell then those parts should be at the level of the heart, hence it should not be raised with 2 or 3 pillows.

E. In case of sprain of the neck or any part of the body do not massage in the first week. Later if oil is used in the massage then it should be done gently.

F.The nails of the masseur should be cut.

G. The massueur or patient should not be suffering from a contagious especially a skin disease.

H.If massaging is done gently, in one rhythm then the nervous system gets stimulated relaxing all nerves. As a result the patient feels sleepy. Feeling sleepy during or after a massage is a good sign.

– Mr. Nimish Mhatre, Sanatan ashram, Ramnathi, Goa

Reference : Dainik Sanatan Prabhat
Categories Ayurved