What is massage?
Massage is a therapeutic practice in which the muscles and other soft tissues of the body are manipulated with the aim of improving health and well-being. There are a wide variety of massage techniques used in massage therapy from gentle stroking and kneading of muscles and soft tissues to light techniques to aid lymphatic drainage. Evidence of the practice of massage as a healing and restorative therapy has been found in nearly all cultures across the globe. It helps to relieve muscle tension, reduce stress, and boost feelings of relaxation and calm. Massage can have positive effects on all the systems of the body but it is of particular use to enhance the activity of the musculoskeletal, circulatory, lymphatic, and nervous systems.
The History of massage
The origins of massage come from a variety of Eastern cultures. The use of massage for healing purposes dates back 4,000 years in Chinese medical literature and continues to play an important part in Chinese medicine. There is evidence of massage practice in cave paintings and in Egyptian art. Massage become popular in Europe in the early 1800s as a result of Per Hedrick Ling who invented the system of Swedish massage which is used widely today. It was adapted by many physiotherapists of the day and therapy clinics began to appear in Europe. In recent years there has been an increase of interest in complementary therapies and massage connected with an increased holistic awareness of the body and mind.
How does massage work?
Massage and touch have been used for centuries to heal both the body and mind. Depending on the massage strokes used, massage can calm and relax muscles or stimulate them. When soft tissue is massaged, nervous signals are transmitted both to the local area and throughout the body. These signals in conjunction with the emotional healing qualities of touch, help heal damaged muscle, stimulate circulation, clear waste products via the lymphatic system, boost the activity of the immune system, reduce pain and tension and induce a calming effect. Massage can also help the release of feel-good hormones or endorphins (natural painkillers and mood elevators) and reduce levels of cortisol.
What are the benefits of massage?
- Promote healing.
- Boost energy.
- Reduce recovery time after an injury.
- Ease pain.
- Enhance relaxation,
“Born into a confusing world, with simple primitive needs, all babies crave and respond to human touch-scientists call this “skin hunger” Babies are designed to be physically appealing: a baby’s soft skin compels us to stroke, kiss and protect him. When a baby gives vent to an anguished wail he is often literally crying out to be held”
~Deborah Jackson, “Mother and Child”
The importance of touch for babies is now well known but in the early 19th century, babies in orphanages who were fed and kept warm but not held or touched died of what was described as ”failure to thrive syndrome” or “marasmus” which is a Greek term which means “wasting away”.
This condition is thought to have occurred because the babies in the orphanages were deprived of touch, skin stimulation and human interaction which led to their nervous system and other body systems not developing properly. Without human interaction, the babies became depressed and they eventually died. This is a sad example of how infant behaviour was not understood in the past. Babies were not recognised as having emotional needs and were seen as having different experiences to adults. Some babies were even operated upon with no aesthetic with the belief that babies could not experience pain. There have been many studies conducted in the last fifty years on the importance of touch for infants.
It is a good idea to have an understanding of baby development as a baby massage instructor as it will help you to get to know what the babies in your classes are comfortable with doing.
Blossom & Berry’s mission is to grow babies with love, touch, responsive care and positive interaction. We create nurturing experiences for parents and babies to deepen connection and confidence. We focus on touch as a way to support infant and maternal mental health as we believe this is the foundation for health and happiness. Blossom & Berry was born out of love!
If you would like to become a trainer with us and join our community of over 1000 teachers teaching love across the world click here.
About Blossom & Berry
Blossom & Berry offers expert training, support & resources on baby massage, yoga and parent and baby wellness for professionals & parents across the world.
Blossom & Berry training is designed to give you everything you need to succeed. It gives you a complete teaching practice and mentorship program in a box.
Our training is the most comprehensive teacher training and business package on the market with no restrictions on what you can do and no ongoing licence fees ever.
“I would love to invite you to join my network of over 1000 teachers across the world sharing the benefits of nurturing touch and connection with parents and babies.” Gayle Berry – Master trainer and international expert on baby massage and yoga, founder of Blossom & Berry.
Your success is our success and having a transformational and nurturing experience is key.