If you wish to become a practitioner of massage therapy, you have to be able to grasp the various theories. A thorough knowledge of message therapy theory is essential if you are to pass any test on the subject, ace your exams in college of massage studies or to be successful in obtaining your license. Theory is a major part of the licensing examinations for New York and other state or local agencies or associations.
The theory of massage is a topic with two prongs. One simply looks at such things as the anatomical structure of the human being. This includes definitions and functions of such things as blood vessels, muscles, skin and skeletal structure. Another aspect of massage theory considers the rationale behind the effectiveness of therapeutic massage. It looks at the various approaches and/or types and states why they work. Understanding both aspects is essential for a complete understanding of therapeutic massage.
Massage therapy theory is part of the core courses at a college or other learning institution of therapeutic massage therapy. Physiological and physical theory is a basic part of learning how to massage a body. It looks at the subject from the theoretical angle. It addresses the principles and techniques through literature, diagrams and description. It explains what the five basic strokes of Swedish Massage are and provides you with their names. It tells you what techniques and applications are appropriate for what situation.
Theory provides you with the information to understand the workings of the body. It defines necessary components of essential massage. To be a successful practitioner of Rolfing or Myofascial Release Massage Therapy, you have to know the definition and placement of fascia. If you want to perform Manual Lymph Draining Massage, you need to know the placement and purpose of the lymph nodes. You would not accomplish anything, if you used contrary movements. Fascia massage is not suitable for node work or baby massage therapy. You need to find out through massage therapy theory the right type of movement and when and where to apply it.
Theory also explains why specific forms of theoretical massage work or are believed to work. Theory explains the rationale behind Classical Western or Asian or Oriental approaches to massage therapy. Theory discusses such things as energy forces and meridian lines. These help practitioners in the application of their craft and profession. Without understanding such theoretical notions, they could not explain the process to their clients.
Oriental Massage Therapy bases itself on a theory of channels or jing luo. According to this theory, all health problems originate through blockages of the jing lu. A practitioner learns the ways to activate and regulate the qi and blood while dredging the channels. The methods vary from massage type to massage type.
Modern Reflexology is an American modern take on an ancient Egyptian and Chinese tradition. In Reflexology, the reflex zones associated with the body are all located on the foot. A reflexologist learns the location of these zones and their association with a specific body part. The theory is when you restore balance in the feet you restore balance in the body. As is the case with many forms of alternative medicine, there is little scientific evidence from research to back up the theory.
Reflexology is a type of pressure point massage therapy. There are other types of therapeutic massage relying on finger, hand or elbow pressure implemented on specific points. Shiatsu depends upon finger pressure to help the flow of lymphatic fluid. As a form of acupressure, Shiatsu uses the fingers and other body parts to press down on specific pressure points. In Shiatsu, there are some 365 pressure points or Tsubos. Theory holds that the pressing down on the right pressure point will allow Qi to flow freely through the channels.
In Reiki, the theory of application rests upon the concept of a Universal Life Force. This is Ki (Also known as Qi or Chi). Rather than the directing the energy force through the body of the recipient, Reiki does the opposite. The practitioner is the channel through which the recipient draws the energy. In Reiki, the intent is an important factor in Reiki.
Every form of massage therapy has a theory behind its actions and reactions. There is a definite difference between Western and Oriental-based approaches.
Eastern philosophy tends to focus on energy and life forces while Western traditions consider the release of endorphins and muscle action and reaction. They do have two things in common. They accomplish similar results. These results are also part of theory. There is little scientific data or proof to explain or account for the results or the methods. Scientists, research and measuring methods may simply be deficit because they lack the ability to deal with energy-forces.
My website contains affiliate links, which means if you purchase any products mentioned in my articles, I may receive a commission. If you do, thank you!