Posted before Dec-31-2007
Although it may appear incredible, the fact is that massage healing is undoubtedly among the oldest remedies man has known. Several studies have brought to light the fact that massage therapy was in use in the Far and Middle East as long back as 5000 years ago. In addition, numerous findings have also hinted that massage therapy was also practiced in places like China, Egypt, Rome and Greece since several centuries. In fact, people in different parts of the world have been familiar with the benefits of this type of therapy to the human body and the spirit.
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On the whole, massage therapy is a remedial method involving management of the soft body tissues. Simply speaking, massage therapy is a comforting, remedial practice of patting, rubbing and pressing the different areas of the body to alleviate pain, mitigates anxiety and strains. In addition, massage therapy is also aimed at relaxing, invigorating as well as toning up the body. Several studies and discoveries have demonstrated that massage therapy actually is more useful than just producing a pleasurable feeling on the skin.
The major benefit of massage therapy is that it has a positive effect on the soft body tissues, including muscles, ligaments and tendons. At the same, it helps to improve the toning up of the muscles. Apparently, massage therapy may seem to benefit the muscles under the skin, but actually its advantages reach further inside the body and are useful for the deeper stratum of the muscles as well as the internal organs. In addition, massage therapy is considered to be a holistic approach that works to relieve high blood pressure or hypertension, heart rate as well as augment the flow of lymph and blood circulation throughout the body. According to one report, massage therapy functions voluntarily to facilitate the lymphatic system, which actually works corresponding to the circulatory system.
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In fact, these benefits of massage therapy make it an excellent means for facilitating the avoidable or waste materials from all over the body. In addition to these benefits, massage therapy improves an assortment of physical movements and eventually augments the endorphins - natural pain killers produced by the body.
As discussed earlier, massage therapy has several benefits and some of them are mentioned below.
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These days, the market is full of several varieties of fine base oils and blend massage oils. Nevertheless, it is important to note that neither of them may be suitable for individual skin natures and conditions that need particular combination of oils. Contrary to being plain oils, made to order massage oils are something like special remedies or prescriptions. It may be mentioned here that most massage oils are obtained either from mineral oils, such as Vaseline or Paraffin, or vegetable oils that are available from normal sources, rather organic offshoots.
Several massage items available in the market enclose mineral oils. However, these mineral oils are synthetically produced and provide a long shelf life to the massage products. In addition, they also provide excellent lubrication, but can prove to be detrimental for our skin and body. Such massage products are likely to form a fine coating on the skin's surface and, thereby block the skin pores and prevent the skin from performing its natural functions. Since mineral oils do not enclose any vitamins, they may upset or even prevent the skin from soaking up vitamins that are soluble in fats. When such massage products are used for a prolonged period, they may prove to be injurious for the skin as well as our overall health. Although mineral oils apparently provide the much needed moisture to our skin, actually they hold back the natural and healthy performance of the skin. As a result, the skin subsequently becomes entirely 'reliant' on continuous application of mineral oils and this, in turn, robs the skin of its natural glow. In other words, regular use of mineral oils for massage is harmful for the skin's nature as well as the aptitude of the skin to maintain its health.
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On the other hand, fats and oils obtained from vegetables are easily taken in by the skin and they are utilized to feed or provide energy to the skin and the entire body. These nourishments are essential for generating new cells as well as for other vital procedures inside the body. Unlike the mineral oils, majority of the vegetable oils enclose vitamins, such as vitamin pro A, vitamin D and vitamin E, which are essential for the skin. These vitamins are able to invigorate the skin to perform better as well as enhance blood circulation throughout the body. These vitamins make the skin softer and supple which facilitates the skin to hold on to its moisture more successfully. As the vegetable oils also enclose particular varieties of fatty acids, they are liable to become stale after a short while.
As a general rule, people are advised not to use saturated fatty acids. Especially, it is harmful for people having oily skin or large skin pores that are easily blocked and widened when they use massage oils containing saturated fatty acids. It may be noted that Shea butter, coconut butter, lard and macadamia nut oil are very rich in saturated fatty acids content and, hence, should never be used by people with oily skin or large skin pores. However, saturated fatty acids are helpful for people having other types of skin as they provide 'mass' to the massage oil as well as augment the lubrication. In addition, saturated fatty acids help to enhance the shelf life of the massage oils by keeping them in good composition for longer periods.
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Massage products containing vegetable oils rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, such as olive oil, sweet almond oil and avocado, are also excellent lubricators. In addition to nourishing the skin, they also help in increasing the shelf life of the products by keeping them well. In fact, in any massage oil combination, jojoba forms a significant constituent because it enables you to massage with it for a prolonged period. A lot of times, this substance is referred to as liquid wax and is said to provide sufficient skin protection. Nevertheless, one should be cautious not to use jojoba alone on the skin as this substance does not nourish the skin. The best part of jojoba is that it remains fine for a period of up to five years before becoming stale.
Another variety of fatty acids called polyunsaturated fatty acids are also used as ingredients in massage products. Polyunsaturated fatty acids are also usually referred to as essential fatty acids because applications of any massage oil not containing them may result in skin disorders, such as eczema, rashes and even dry skin. In fact, these fatty acids, including linolenic acid, work as vitamins or nourishment for the skin. However, it is essential to blend the polyunsaturated fatty acids with E vitamin oils to stop them from becoming rotten or stale. Polyunsaturated fatty acids are basically dilute liquids that are promptly soaked up by our skin. As this variety of fatty acids are drier compared to the other varieties, they help in contracting the skin pores and reducing their size. Massage products containing polyunsaturated fatty acids are especially useful for people having oily skins and/ or comparatively larger skin pores, but they work equally well in other skin forms too.
It may be mentioned here that vegetable oils, such as borage oil (starflower), grape seed and thistle oil, evening primrose and sunflower oil, have rich contents of polyunsaturated fatty acids. All these vegetable oils are relatively inexpensive and are available in good quality. As a general guide, you should never purchase evening primrose oil or borage oil that does not enclose a minimum of 0.5 per cent of E-vitamin oil, or else it will become stale quickly, say within a period of just six months.
Several dissimilar varieties of massage oils are available in the market today. Apart from the line retailers, these days, several health care as well as beauty stores also sell massage oils. Usually, massage oils are blended with different types of essential oils for remedial massages. Nevertheless, there are a number of massage oils that possess individual therapeutic features and it is not necessary to blend them with any essential oil before use. Such massage oils include apricot kernel oil, sunflower oil, sweet almond oil and carrot oil.