“The Power of Massage” Through the Ages By: Bev Filer


Massage-Has-Its-Benefitsots of 'emBrunswick Plantation has lots of activities to enjoy …Golf, tennis, biking, to name a few.  There are also interest groups and clubs of various kinds. If you are interested in it, chances are that you will find others with the same interest. The weather is also conducive to year ‘round fun in the sun! So, staying healthy and active is a real priority!

We all know the importance of health and wellness for a good quality of life. We are familiar with the significance of good nutrition and exercise. A healthy body, mind, and spirit complete the picture of a healthy individual. Massage, from the earliest times of ancient cultures, has also been proven to round out that “Picture of Good Health”!

According to an article from the History of Massage @ Massage Therapy/Holisticonline.com:

Massage may be the oldest and simplest form of medical care. Egyptian tomb paintings show people being massaged. A Chinese book from 2,700 B.C., The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine, recommends “breathing exercises, massage of skin and flesh, and exercises of hands and feet” as the appropriate treatment for –complete paralysis, chills, and fever.” Massage was also the principle method of relieving pain for Greek and Roman physicians. Julius Caesar was said to have been daily massaged to treat neuralgia.

Hippocrates, the Father of Western medicine (5th century B.C.), is quoted as saying: “The physician must be experienced in many things.” “but assuredly in the rubbing…for the rubbing can bind a joint that is too loose, and loosen a joint that is too rigid.”

Ayurveda, is traditional in the Indian system of medicine. It places great emphasis on the therapeutic benefits of massage with aromatic oils and spices and is used widely in India.

Oriental Massage therapies are based on the systems of finger pressure massage, such as Acupressure and Shiatsu, that treat points along the acupressure Meridians, aiming to release discomfort and rebalance energy.

I will take some time here to expand a little on shiatsu, as I have had some personal experience with this type of massage when I was teaching for the Dept. of Defense Schools in Okinawa, Japan from 1976 – 1987. That is when I learned the true value receiving massages on a regular basis. It helped that at that time the dollar was valued so well against the yen that it only cost me $9 for a one hour massage. The sushi bar was in the next block, so I knew that area well! What a relaxing, and healthy, lifestyle! No wonder I stayed in Okinawa so long!

(My experience is coupled with the information from www.holisticonline.com website.)

Shiatsu was the form of massage that I am most familiar with from that experience. Shiatsu is a contemporary therapy with its roots in Oriental tradition. It is sometimes described as Japanese physiotherapy. The treatment is similar to acupuncture in its uses of the meridians (Energy Channels) and isubo (Pressure Points), as well as diagnostic methods, but without the use of needles.  The Eastern belief is of a primary flow of energy throughout the body, which runs along certain channels known as meridians.

Shiatsu is made up of two written Japanese characters meaning finger (Shi) and pressure (atsu). However, in shiatsu the pressure is sometimes applied over a wider area, not just the acupoints. The practitioners use fingers and thumbs for applying pressure to localized points. They use palms, elbows, knees, and feet for applying pressure to larger areas. In addition to pressure itself, shiatsu involves gentle stretch and manipulation techniques. The receiver often remains clothed in shiatsu. I have also experienced the variation called “barefoot shiatsu” that involves walking in the person’s back, legs, and feet. That was when I was long ago in Okinawa and, I must say, those little ladies seemed to know what they were doing. It did not hurt and seemed to help. I’m not so sure I’d try that on my tender limbs now, though it did seem to work well then. 

Traditional oriental Medicine suggests that we all have a “life force” or “life energy” which created our physical structure and regulates physical, mental, and spiritual stability. Touch is the essence of shiatsu. The caring touch used in shiatsu will help to trigger the self-healing process within.

I have not had a shiatsu massage in a long time, though I did find in my research that Vania’s Massage Therapy Center and Spa in Myrtle Beach offers that option and may give it a try…For old Time’s sake! There may be other spas in the area that offer shiatsu, also. Whatever type of massage you choose, always ask for credentials and training.  Be sure they have a current license, though that should be posted.  There is also special training for those for such specific types of massage such as          pre-natal and cancer patients. They can tell you their qualifications if you ask and probably will without being asked.

Some other types of massage beside shiatsu are:

Relaxation Massage: Promotes general relaxation, improves circulation and range of movement…relieves muscular tension.

Remedial Massage: Paramedical treatment that helps to restore function to injured tissue.

Sports Massage: Combines different massage techniques to enhance sports performance.

Aromatherapy Massage: Combining therapeutic properties of essential oils with specific massage techniques.

Reflexology: Using thumb and finger pressure on the reflex points of the feet to assist in achieving balance within the body.

Swedish: relaxing massage using rhythmic, long, slow, massage strokes…(Developed by a Swedish doctor, poet, and educator named Per Henrik Ling in the 19th century.)

Deep Tissue: Deeper, more aggressive massage to alleviate problems in the deeper muscles.

Hot Stone Therapy: Massage and heated balsamic stones for an even deeper relaxing massage. It is great for muscles.

(From article about the Benefits of Massage @ wwwholisticonline.com):

Research in massage therapy has been ongoing for more than 120 years.

According to the AMTA, massages help both physically and mentally.


*Helps relieve stress and aids relaxation

 *Helps relieve muscle tension and stiffness

*Alleviates discomfort during pregnancy

*Fosters faster healing of strained muscles and sprained ligaments; reduces pain and swelling; reduces formation of strained scar tissue

*Reduces muscles spasms

*Provides greater joint flexibility and range of motion

*Enhances athletic performance; treats injuries caused during sport or work

*Promotes deeper and easier breathing

*Improves circulation of blood and movement of lymph fluids

*Reduces blood pressure

*Helps relieve tension headaches and effects of eye strain

*Enhances the health and nourishment of skin

*Improves posture

*Strengthens the immune system

*Treats musculoskeletal problems

*Rehabilitation post- operative

*Rehabilitation after injury

(Source: AMTA)


*Fosters peace of mind

*Promotes relaxed mental alertness

*Helps relieve mental stress

*Improves ability to monitor stress signals and respond appropriately

*Enhances capacity for calm thinking and creativity

*Emotional benefits

*Satisfies needs for caring nurturing touch

*Fosters feeling of well-being

*Reduces levels of anxiety

*Creates body awareness

*Increases awareness of mind-body connection

(Source: AMTA)

It is very clear to me that incorporating regular massage into one’s life improves the quality of life both physically and mentally …And in my experience, spiritually!

My friends called me the Pamper Princess for good reason.  More on Yoga next week…Another good lifestyle choice! It is the best way to live!


While reviewing the research for this blog yesterday, I felt a flutter in the corner of my eye and decided I needed a massage myself. In asking at the desk at Brunswick Plantation, I got the name of a therapeutic massage and spa in Ocean Isle Beach. I called and was able to get an appointment that afternoon. Jamie Hendricks LMT was my massage therapist for that session and I left feeling renewed! She told me to let anyone interested that she is also certified in pre-natal massage. She definitely had “The Right Touch” for me!

I looked online for spas and wellness centers that offer massage and found an extensive list for Calabash and up to 17 miles away. You might like to see the list at www.yellowpages.com/calabashnc/massage-services Happy Hunting for your personal Massage Magic!

More current info on Massage

Massage is now used:

  1. 1.     In Intensive Care Units 2. For babies in incubators   3.With patients with cancer   4. For AIDS patients 5. For patients who have had heart attacks and strokes 

*Note* Most American hospices have some kind of bodywork   therapy available. It is also frequently offered at: *health clinics *drug treatment clinics *pain clinics


Obviously, the medical community still recognizes the value of massage for health and healing! I take my 87 year old mother in PA. for a massage, stretching, and adjustment at her chiropractor when I am visiting.  She tells me, “Thanks for bringing me here, Bev! I feel so much better!” Massage is good for all ages!  Nurturing is good and loving!


According to Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Monk, poet, and peace activist,  and author of “The Art of Mindful Living”…”Keeping your body health is an expression of gratitude to the whole cosmos, the trees, the clouds, everything.”

Speaking of Monks, A quote by Buddha states: “To keep the body in good health is a duty…Otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.”

Henry Ward Beecher: “The body is like a piano, and happiness is like music. It is needful to have the instrument in good order.”

May your next massage be “Music to your ears”, and bring “Harmony” to your whole Body and Soul!! 

Please “like” and comment on your next massage!


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