The Physical Benefits Of Massage Therapy -the Tantra Method

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					The Physical Benefits of Massage Therapy

There are many physical benefits to massage therapy. Massage therapy's rhythmic movements
and applied pressure help increase one's blood circulation. It also helps blood vessels to expand,
allowing more blood to pass through them. In addition to increased blood circulation, massage
therapy works to increase lymph (a white substance that carries the body's toxins away) flow.
Since lymph, unlike blood, does not move on its own, it must be stimulated through muscle
movement, or exercise and massage. The increased flow of blood and lymph has a positive effect
on the body's cells, which contribute to a person's overall health. More blood means more oxygen
and more lymph means less waste and toxins.

Massage can be particularly important when a person is involved in an exercise regimen or
participates in a sport on a regular basis. When muscles are being used more often, there is an
increase in certain acids that build up in the tissue if the muscles do not get the oxygen they
need. If these acids remain in the muscle tissue, cramping, soreness, and fatigue generally
follow. Massage can help to drain the muscle tissues of these acids and thus help muscles
recover more quickly.

Another important aspect of overall health is good nutrition. Giving the body the proper vitamins
and nutrients will help it function properly. Massage therapy can increase the benefits of good
nutrition by helping the nutrients reach their destination: the cells. As mentioned, massage
expands the blood vessels, which increases circulation. By having a clear and open path,
nutrients have an easier time finding the cells that work to keep the body healthy.

The Psychological Benefits of Massage Therapy

In addition to physical benefits, there are many psychological, or mental, benefits to massage
therapy. The most obvious benefit is stress relief. Stress affects everyone, young and old alike.
Frustrations can build in many aspects of a person's life, whether it be job, family, friends, or
school. Stress prompts the release of certain hormones that cause blood vessels to shrink. The
shrinking of blood vessels results in poor circulation, which can greatly harm a person's overall
health. Research has indicated that stress is a main cause of certain illnesses, such as migraine
headaches, depression, high blood pressure, constipation, and other digestive disorders.
Massage therapy can help to reduce the risk of these illnesses. Massage therapy also helps
people release repressed, or built-up, emotions, which can result in an overall sense of relaxation
and peace.


Reflexology is a type of body therapy that involves applying pressure to certain points, referred
to as reflex points, on the foot. Many people seek reflexology for relaxation and to improve their
health and well-being. It is thought that by pressing points on the feet, impulses are sent through
pathways to certain areas of the body, increasing energy and health in those areas. During
treatments, patients may even feel tingling sensations in the parts of the body to which the
impulses are being sent. Reflexology is thought to help anxiety, asthma and allergies, chronic
pain, diarrhea and constipation, high blood pressure, migraine headaches, premenstrual
syndrome (PMS), skin problems, and stress.

The Roots of Reflexology

Reflexology is approximately as old as acupuncture, which has been around for the past five
thousand years. Like acupuncture, reflexology has its roots in China, but evidence has been
found indicating that reflexology was also used in Egypt as far back as 2330 B.C. Reflexology
was first developed in the United States by William Fitzgerald, M.D., in 1913. Fitzgerald had
begun to realize that his patients would feel less pain when pressure was applied to certain areas
of the body, such as the hands or feet, before surgery. Deciding to research this further,
Fitzgerald conducted some experiments and concluded that pressing points on certain areas of
the body produced beneficial effects in other areas of the body. Fitzgerald called this "zone

Physiotherapist Eunice Ingham further developed Fitzgerald's zone therapy into the practice that
is known today as reflexology. During the 1930s, Ingham used zone therapy and concluded that
applying pressure to the feet yields the best results to the body. She also asserted that it is better
to vary the amount of pressure applied and that greater benefits than just pain relief occurred
from applying pressure to the feet. Ingham then mapped out the reflex points on the feet to be
pressed and the specific areas of the body that relate to the points on the feet. Thus reflexology
was officially born in the United States.


                                  Reflexology pressure points

                          Reflexology charts show the areas of the foot that should be
                          pressed in order to affect certain organs. (Electronic
                          Illustrators Group. Reproduced by permission of Gale

How Does Reflexology Work?

Students of reflexology are trained to know the correct points to press on the foot. They may
refer to foot reflexology charts that show which areas of the foot should be pressed and which
organs will be affected if a certain area of the foot is pressed. The reflex points on the feet are
located on the bottom as well as the top and sides of the feet. Reflexologists are taught that
pressing points on the right foot affects organs on the right side of the body and pressing points
on the left foot affects organs on the left side of the body. They also learn that different points on
a foot relate to different organs in the body. For example, if a reflexologist presses an area just
below the three middle toes, the eyes and ears may be affected, and if the tips of the big toes are
pressed, the head and brain are affected. Sending impulses to these areas is thought to allow the
organs to perform better and thus contribute to healing or maintaining the health of the body.

According to reflexologists, other benefits of reflexology include the reduction of lactic acid in the
feet. Lactic acid is a waste product produced from using muscles and too much of it can cause
problems, such as stiffness. Reflexologists also believe there are tiny calcium crystals that build
up at the nerve endings of the feet and cause problems in energy flow. They claim reflexology
helps to break up these crystals and restore healthy energy flow.


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