Physiological,Psychological,Wholistic and Mechanical
By Stephen Wayne-Smith ____________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________
The benefits of massage therapy for a client are extensive. Not only does the client benefit from a purely physical perspective, but the psychological and spiritual advantages are numerous. The concept of true health resulting from a correct equilibrium or balancing of this physical and spiritual energy has long been recognised by many cultures over a period of thousands of years, and is well documented in Egyptian and Roman civilization. With the advent of the Western mechanical medical model, the most important element in the healing process, touch, has played an insignificant role in the world of synthesised chemical technology. Yet it is through this touch that many of today's health problems can be treated, allowing for the body's own natural forces of healing to occur.
Massage works on two levels, the physical manipulation of soft body tissue and the positive healing energy that is exuded during this manipulation. The combination and correct application of these processes is what makes the treatment effective as a whole. Sara Thomas in her book, "Massage for common ailments", describes the importance of this procedure.
"The intent that goes with touch makes all the difference to its effect. When we lay our hands on another with compassion and good will,many subtle changes take place. Gentle holding and stroking, touching with tenderness and care, cause transformations both physically and psychologically." (Thomas, 1989, p10)
This energy, which is so invisible to the eye, yet very real to the senses, has had to undergo many scientific experiments to prove its validity to the sceptical, practical community. Today, it is an accepted fact that the human body does possess an energy field and this energy can be manipulated to change the physiology of the body. Robert Tisserand in his book, "The Art of Aromatherapy" also acknowledges these factors as integral to the successful healing of the body.
"When the hands have made their own diagnosis, they can begin to transmit while still continuing to receive if necessary. Our hands heal on two levels - the physical and what might be called the psychic. Hand healing has been called many things - faith healing, magnetic healing, spiritual healing, psychic healing, and so on. There is one thing we can be sure of however, that some form of energy is transmitted from healer to patient through the hands. This has been known for thousands of years. Recently, the first scientific evidence to support this idea has come from Russia in the form of Kirlian photography." (Tisserand, 1977,p117)
With further research it can be found just how important this energy is to the process of massage. This energy known as "Chi"or "Ki" in Asian cultures, is what flows through the body.
Blood and circulation are key physiological factors in the successful healing of the human body, and this "chi" energy runs through the body unhindered if one is well. Blood and lymph follow "Chi" through the body, therefore blockages in the energy are blockages in the healthy circulatory functioning of the body. Massage therapy can unblock these barriers therefore freeing the healing energy.
Dolores Kriegger, Ph.D.,R.N is a professor of nursing at New York University, and is noted for her study and development of massage and therapeutic touch. She has conducted extensive research into the scientific results of hands on massage healing. In one of her reports on these effects she writes;
" .. in the weeks to come I was astounded by the number of medical reports or first person reports that told either of an amelioration of symptoms or an actual...