Have you ever been touched on the arm by a loved one or dear friend unexpectedly, and then felt a pleasant warmth at the point of touch or even throughout your entire body?
Most people have experienced this type of positive touch. We humans are physical and emotional beings, and have both a physical and emotional need to be touched. We are mammals, and many scientific studies seem to find that mammals need to be touched by other mammals. Have you ever seen films of dolphins and whales being stroked by humans they trust? And, human babies do not thrive, and may not even survive without being touched.
Being touched, as long as it is by someone you trust, and in a safe environment, can be relaxing and revitalizing to both your mind and body. This is the reason therapeutic massage is garnering greater recognition and wider practice by the medical profession as well as advocates of the holistic approach to health. Holism is an approach to health, now generally accepted, that espouses the theory that there is a constant, functional mind and body connection — a relationship between emotional and mental wellness and physical wellness.
Massage, the gentle but firm manipulation of deep muscle tissue, not only soothes physical damage and strain, but also provides an emotional release and a sense of well being. According to certified massage therapists, therapeutic massage can ease the symptoms of respiratory ailments and sinus problems as well as sports injuries and other body traumas. It is sometimes used effectively in conjunction with chiropractic treatment and may help alleviate chronic pain while stimulating circulation.
Therapeutic massage is now being employed in the labor and delivery room. Some pregnant women include it in their prenatal program, reporting that it increases circulation and helps with the temporary discomforts of pregnancy. During labor and delivery, it can relieve tension and help the mother to remain relaxed and focused.