Massage can be defined as the systematic and manual manipulation of the body’s soft tissue for therapeutic purposes promoting health and well-being.
It is generally believed that the word massage derives from the Arabic ‘mass’ or ‘Mas’h’ meaning to press softly. As an art it must be about as old as man himself because to hold or rub an injured part is an instinctive reaction to pain or discomfort.
Today, massage is a multidimensional skill encompassing a wide variety of ever evolving techniques, many of which have their roots in the Swedish system. The general public is now very aware of the value of massage in combating the stresses and tensions of modern living. Athletes, sports people and dancers include massage in their training schedules to aid recovery and to prevent or treat soft tissue injuries.
In general, the manipulation of the body’s soft tissue (i.e. the skin, muscles, tendons, ligaments and facia) using the hands is a gentle, flowing massage technique that uses varying degrees of pressure and stretching movements. It is most commonly used for relaxation and improving well-being.
A typical full-body massage session lasts for about one hour, many therapists will offer shorter sessions for treating specific areas such as backs, shoulders and necks or any areas giving discomfort, aches or pains. On the first visit clients are asked a number of questions concerning general well-being, injuries and medical conditions that the therapist should know about, in order to determine if there are any contra-indications (physical conditions that would prohibit or limit a massage treatment)