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massage(məsäzh`), treatment of superficial parts of the body by systematic rubbing, stroking, kneading, or slapping. Massages can be administered manually or with mechanical devices. They are sought most often to relieve muscle stiffness, spasms, or cramps and to relieve anxiety and tension. Gentle massage has a soothing action on the sensory nerves. More vigorous massage quickens the circulation and aids the muscles in disposing of accumulated waste products. Some methods of massage cause the muscles to contract and thus exercise them when movement of the entire body is not possible or desirable, as in illness or paralysis. However, there is no evidence that massage can reduce or alter fat or adipose tissue. Men and women who are trained in the art of massage are known as masseurs and masseuses, respectively.
a therapeutic method; the totality of procedures (mechanical and reflex) for affecting the tissues and organs with the hands or special equipment.
In general massage the whole body is massaged, and in localized massage, the face, extremities, abdomen, and so forth. The principal techniques are stroking, rubbing, kneading, and vibration. Stroking—slow rhythmic massage with one or both hands in the direction of the blood flow—begins and ends the massage and is used after each of the other techniques. Rubbing, a more energetic procedure than stroking, is performed with the fingers, the whole palm, or the base or edge of the palm of one or both hands, moving longitudinally, transversely, circularly, or in zigzags or spirals. Kneading, in which one or both hands move longitudinally, transversely, semicircularly, or spirally, is used primarily on muscle tissue. Vibration includes intermittent pummeling or chopping and vibration proper (oscillatory movements made without removing the hands from the working area). It may also be done with equipment, such as the vibrating chair and the Velotrab (for general vibration) and a portable apparatus with a set of Vibratods or an apparatus for pulsating massage (for localized treatment).
In general, the essential rule in performing all massage techniques is maximum relaxation of the muscles in the area massaged.
Massage has a multifaceted effect on the body and evokes complex reactions involving all the tissues, organs, and systems. It improves the movement of lymph and blood in the vessels and tones the vascular system, facilitating the work of the heart. The hemoglobin content of the blood and the erythrocyte and leukocyte counts are raised. Massage increases gas exchange and the excretion of mineral salts, urea, and uric acid. Changing the character, force, and duration of the massage can affect the functional state of the cerebral cortex by lowering or raising general excitability, intensifying attenuated reflexes and reviving lost ones, improving the function of conduction tracts, and reinforcing the reflex links of the cerebral cortex with the muscles, vessels, and internal organs. Massage can accelerate the regeneration of a nerve after injury and relieve or stop pain.
Under the influence of massage, the skin becomes pink, resilient, and elastic. Its resistance to temperature and to mechanical influences increases, and its metabolism improves. The elasticity of the muscle fibers increases, and their contractive function, tonus, and strength improve. Atrophy phenomena decrease. Massage strengthens the bursal-ligamental apparatus of the joints and increases their mobility.
Massage is used for hygienic, prophylactic, and therapeutic purposes and in athletic training. Hygienic massage improves the health and is a way of taking care of the body. It prevents excessive deposit of fats and salts and helps maintain the figure. For hygienic purposes, general massage is most often administered. One of the forms of hygienic massage is cosmetic massage, which is done to prevent wrinkling of the skin and to smooth out blemishes on the face and neck. In athletic training, massage helps maintain athletic form, combat fatigue, and restore strength after strenuous muscular work. There are several types of athletic massage, including preparatory, training, and restorative massage. Self-massage is used for hygienic purposes, in combination with morning calisthenics and aquatic exercises. Sometimes it is prescribed for therapeutic purposes (for example, in the treatment of contusions and sprains).
Therapeutic massage is used in the treatment of diseases and injuries of the motor and support apparatus, metabolic disturbances (obesity, diabetes mellitus, and gout), and diseases of the cardiovascular, respiratory, and nervous systems. In reflex-segmental massage various organs and tissues are affected through the massage of certain areas of the skin, subcutaneous tissue, and muscles. Reflex-segmental massage is prescribed for therapeutic purposes, as is pneumomassage, or vacuum massage, in which waves of air are used to improve the peripheral blood circulation. Syncardial massage, which is also prescribed for therapeutic purposes, involves the rhythmic compression of the vessels of the extremities by means of a special apparatus called the Synkardon. Another form of therapeutic massage, underwater massage, is performed by a special apparatus that creates an underwater stream under as much as two to four atmospheres pressure.
Closed cardiac massage (intermittent pressure on the chest) is used to treat cardiac arrest. In some cases, the thorax is opened surgically, and the heart itself is massaged.
REFERENCESVerbov, A. F. Osnovy lechebnogo massazha, 4th ed. Moscow, 1958. (References.)
Gubert, K. D., and M. G. Ryss. Gimnastika i massazh v rannem vozraste, 2nd ed. Leningrad, 1963.
Sarkizov-Serazini, I. M. Sportivnyi massazh, 4th ed. Moscow, 1963.
G. S. FEDOROVA