In this day and age of pervasive unseen environmental pollution, the human body has become a repository for all sorts of toxicities. The tainted food and water supplies have guaranteed that much chemical pollution will find its way into the tissues and organs such as the skin, musculature and connective tissue. Because of this worsening predicament, the practice of self massage becomes a valuable technique in our tool chest of healing modalities.
Truly, self massage can do for your body what few other healing therapies can accomplish. According to Ayurveda, it is one of those daily practices which can be effective in preventing much pain from both injuries and illness. It is the backbone of any maintenance-oriented and preventive approach toward sustained wellness.
What’s the real secret behind the efficacy of a self-administered body massage?
There are a few key points which, when properly understood, will surely turn you into a regular practitioner of this simple yet potent therapy:
• The skin, the musculature, and the adipose tissue (aka fat) throughout the body often becomes the site for toxins to find a home.
• The more these toxins, which come in the form of insecticide, fungicide, herbicide residues; heavy metals; plasticides; food additives; chemicals from washing detergents, hair and body wash products, etc., bio-accumulate in the tissues, the more they compromise the function of the corresponding organs and organ systems.
• Over time, when the total body toxic burden is unaddressed in any meaningful way, a whole host of maladies can emerge. This is where self massage can be extremely effective at moving LOTS of unwanted chemical burden out of the body.
• When the muscles hold onto toxic wastes, you feel the soreness. Left untreated the muscles can eventually enter a state of contraction pulling the corresponding bones with them. If these contractions persist over time, they can cause neck pain, back pain, shoulder pain, among many other types of pain and symptoms.
• Vigorously massaging the sore areas quickly mobilizes the accumulated waste products and toxicities. This allows for normal muscle function to return and the skeletal system to regain proper alignment.
A very good example of this dis-ease process is the vertebral subluxation.
“The vertebral subluxation is the term applied to a vertebra which has lost its normal position and/or motion in relation to neighboring vertebrae. Vertebrae which do not function properly within the spinal framework generate mechanical stress. This accelerates the wear and tear on the surrounding spinal muscles, ligaments, discs, joint and other spinal tissues. Pain, palpatory tenderness, inflammation, decreased spinal mobility, and muscle spasm and hypertonicity will eventually follow.”
Much of the neck and back pain that we suffer from is caused by vertebral subluxations. Therefore, it is critical to understand the origin of these spinal misalignments. There are three primary sources of stress which cause the vertebrae to lose their place.
(1) Chemical stress — chemical overload becomes concentrated in the muscle, nerve and fat tissues throughout the body, especially in the cervical and lumbar vertebral regions
(2) Physical Stress — Heavy lifting, too much athletic activity, repetitive movements on the job, incorrect posture, overly soft mattress, sedentary lifestyle, ergonomically flawed chairs and desks
(3) Emotional Stress — Financial worries, marital disharmony, job pressures, chronic illness, anxieties about the future, overwhelming time demands, commuting challenges
It is usually all three of these working together which cause the surrounding musculature to pull and push the vertebrae out of proper position. This is precisely why there is such a proliferation of neck and back injuries throughout our sedentary society.
Most of us cannot do much about these major forms of stress in our life. However, we evolve more appropriate responses to each of them, as well as efficient ways of managing them. Until we learn how to address the root causes, we can utilize the art self massage with great effect and successful results.
Full Body Self Massage
A foundational Ayurvedic practice is to start the day off with a full sesame oil body massage. Not only is this an excellent way of lubricating the body, but also working out all the different forms of stress listed above. Performing this daily sadhana (practice) keeps the body free of accumulated toxins, chemicals, pollutants, etc., as well as relaxes the muscles so that they can optimally perform their functions. Here is what happens when a massage is administered to any part of your body.
I. All the tissues – muscle, connective, adipose, skin – are flushed with oxygen and nutrition from the increased blood flow.
II. All the tissues – muscle, connective, adipose, skin – are relieved of any toxic burden, waste product (e.g. lactic acid) and carbon dioxide from the increased blood flow.
So, with repeated practice, the good stuff is continually suffusing the area, and the bad stuff is always leaving. Sounds like a recipe for good health to us!
There is another even more powerful massage program within the system of Ayurveda which combines both massage and marma therapy. Abhyangam is often administered by a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner, but can be performed on one’s own body after learning the essential elements and a little practice.
The marma therapy can function as a subtle form of acupressure that is quite effective at addressing some of the emotional and mental components associated with our own unique signature points. Some of these may actually turn out to be full blown trigger points which can always use a release. So we see that massage can be combined with a number of different bodywork techniques. When we perform them on our own body, we can more easily zero in on the areas and points of need. Self healing at its best!
Lactic acid buildup for those who really use their muscles in the course of their job can be very easily managed with daily self massage. Doing so will prevent that daily soreness from developing into more serious injuries and dysfunctions. Especially when repetitive stress syndrome starts to appear is it recommended that regular massage be considered. Along with removing the mechanical stressors whenever possible. Otherwise, loss of function or limited mobility may result.
Here is a short description of how to perform self massage:
HOW TO DO SELF-MASSAGE
The Health Coach has performed Ayurvedic massage with tremendous results over the years. The most dramatic result came in the form of releasing much emotional content which is notorious for locking up in the muscles. Certain types of emotional energies gets concentrated in different parts of the body.
For instance, reactions to financial stress often go right to the lower back, especially to the right side. Reactions to fear of what the future may bring also gets trapped in the lower back, especially the left side.
In the process of massaging out many physical stresses in the thighs, The Health Coach found numerous deep and sore points on the left and right sides. This is exactly where the older brother inflicted many a charley horse during childhood which sat unattended for many decades. Getting rid of them was quite refreshing to the movement and vitality of the entire leg.
Because of the awesome stress which modern life brings to the knees, self massage to this joint can be particularly effective and rejuvenating. With the increasing number of knee replacements being performed, this preventative measure is as good as it gets. Tendons, ligaments, muscles, cartilage and bone can all be strengthened with a weekly massage. The knee is known to be a very difficult joint to penetrate, so a more vigorous massage with deeply penetrating oils is recommended.
During these times of high stress, the self massage is a great way to bring relief from our daily aches and pains. When performed as needed, such a therapy can preclude the need to take pharmaceutical medications, which can significantly contribute to the chemical stress component.
While it can be preferable to have a massage administered to you by a massage therapist, this can be costly and impractical due to travel and time constraints. This is where the self message has obvious advantages. You can do it whenever you want, for all long as you want, and with your own sesame or essential oil formulation. It costs you nothing but the precious time you saved from not traveling, and you’ll get a great workout in the process. Your upper body, and especially arm strength, will gain quickly as you will see and feel.
May you enjoy great health,
The Health Coach
 The VERTEBRAL SUBLUXATION COMPLEX http://www.dcdoctor.com/pages/rightpages_allaboutchiro/subluxations.html
 Ayurveda Oil Massage with Marma Therapy
Abhyangam Ayurveda Treatment provided by Chakrapani Ayurveda Clinic & Research Center
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