1. MASSAGE (THEORY)
Massage may be defined as the manipulation of the tissues of the body for
therapeutic purposes. The word itself is taken from a root meaning "to
knead" or to handle.
Massage is an ancient remedy used both by man and animals. It is known to
have been employed in the past in China and India. It was described by Homer
in 1200 BC and by Hippocrates in 460 BC. It was used in the Greek and Roman
There are three essential manipulations: Stroking, Compression and
Stroking consists of a gliding movement with a superficial pressure to
secure a reflex sedative effect, or deep pressure to reflexively increase
venous and lymphatic return: EFFLEURAGE is the principle stroke and is firm
but gentle. It has a definite relaxing effect upon muscles and should be
used in muscle spasm, as in fractures or spastic conditions, pain and
myositis. Effleurage has also the effect of sedation.
Compression consists of kneading and friction. Compression strokes are
designed to improve circulation, hasten the removal of waste products, or
break up adhesions or fibrous nodules. It dilates blood vessels; brings
relaxation by a direct effect on the muscles; acts as a derivative; and
establishes axon reflexes through the spinal cord.
Percussion consists of cupping, hacking, slapping and tapping, to which some
add vibration and shaking. The effects of percussion are on deeper organs
such as deeply situated muscles and arteries, the lungs, the adrenals, the
kidneys or pancreas. The effects are also quite pronounced on the skin,
subcutaneous and muscular tissues, having about the same effect as
3. PHYSIOLOGIC EFFECTS:
The greatest value of massage is in its action on the circulatory system.
The physiologic effects of massage include changes in blood chemistry,
including increased urinary excretion of nitrogen and phosphorus.
Success in dealing with sick persons is determined by a number of small
matters. Careful attention to many small details will insure success in the
application of the simple remedies. Massage is a simple remedy but
carefulness and thoroughness will be more likely to achieve success than
will years of training and experience without these attributes.
Massage does not require some special technique or touch that some people
innately have and others lack. Massage increases the number of circulating
white and red blood cells and stimulates the immune mechanism independent of
its stimulus to the circulation.
4. CONTRAINDICATIONS TO MASSAGE:
The contraindications for administering massage are as follows: a swelling
that might be a malignancy, a deep inflammatory process, certain skin
diseases, acute febrile diseases, recent phlebitis and thrombosis and the
5. HOW TO MASSAGE: (PRACTICAL)
MANUAL OF HYDROTHERAPY AND MASSAGE, Pacific Press Publishing Assoc., 1964, p.129