Massage-Working on all Systems

Thswedish massagee Human Body has 11 systems functioning independently and cooperatively to support life.  Keeping these systems in harmony is the key to a healthy and happy life.  Moving through all of your choices to manage all of your bodies systems can be daunting.  In society today every where you look there is another offer to help you manage your health and keep all of your systems functioning optimally.  One of your choices in your staying healthy tool kit is Massage.

In this series of articles I will unpack how Massage has the opportunity to touch all of the bodies systems.  I know it may seem odd that an hour on a massage table even once a month could bring such healthful benefits, but before you give up on all of your 11 systems working together to promote your healthy life,  consider getting to know your systems better through the eyes of a Massage Therapist, who’s job it is provide therapeutic touch to almost the entire body.

The first system and some would argue the most important is the Integumentary System aka your skin,hair,nails,sweat glands, and oil glands.  This system rules because of its  importance in protecting all of the other systems.  Keeping this system healthy can really promote your over all health.

The functions of the Integumentary System: protects the body, helps regulate body temperature, eliminates some wastes, helps make vitamin D, and detects sensations such as touch, pain, warmth, and cold.

This is a lot of work from the largest system.  Putting together every part of our lives our skin touches and it makes perfect sense why we should keep the skin happy and healthy.

Massage touches almost every inch of the skin!  In fact I am going to go so far to say that when Massage was first used over 3000 years ago its primary function may have been to help folks with skin dysfunction or disorder. (this theory will be flushed out in future writings)  But let’s just for now agree that Massage came about in medicine as a way to give people’s skin and the senses attached to the skin a remedy for what might be ailing them.

Even before people understood the vast importance of the skin, they knew it needed to be treated and the treatment was in the form of touch combined with an oil or lotion.  Touch offered something to the body’s systems that helped it heal. Modern Massage is a way to administer this touch therapy.

On my first day of Massage Therapy school, we were invited to hold the hand of the student(still stranger) sitting next to us.  This exercise was meant to invite us to put ourselves in the role of someone using touch to comfort someone else.  In medicine it might be called bedside manor, but for an LMT (Licensed Massage Therapist) it was going to be the center of our professional existence and the hand holding was almost a test.  How did I feel about holding a stranger’s hand?  Could I engage that person with just the touch of our two hands?  To add to the introduction to massage, we were then asked to place our other hand on top of our partner’s hand.  Holding a strangers hand in our hands is the concept for what can be argued defines Massage.

Touching the skin and applying a healthy lotion or oil-Massage.  Our bodies largest and most exterior system needs to be kept healthy in an effort to maintain our over all health.   One other and very important aspect of having someone work with this entire system involves the extra set of eyes on the skin.   Part of a Massage Therapist’s training is to learn how to refer a client out to another Medical professional when or if we ever see of feel something on or under the skin that requires further assessment.

Touch became our focus as Massage Therapists.  Learning the different types of therapeutic touch, how to apply them, and the meaning and benefit of each was one of our primary goals.  Putting order and reason behind the touch used in a Massage is what connects massage  to promoting the health of the Integrumentary system, and all of the systems it touches.

Deepening the touch factor of Massage is recognizing the role of LMT as administer of not only therapeutic touch, but also if it is practiced, mindful touch.  Mindful touch gives the Massage Therapist an unique opportunity to work not just with the skin, but also affords us the opportunity to  feel and assess the systems functioning directly under the skin.  Mindful touch encourages the LMT to quiet her mind and focus her energy on her client.  Working in this way can be a very large challenge, but when it is practiced the overall result can really be rewarding to the client and the LMT.

The skin and its functions are very much worth your attention.  Touch affords an unique look at the skin and all it protects.  Starting a Massage routine for your health could really give you some insight to the rest of your systems through the work it performs on the one body system that can be touched.

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