Massage increases muscle flexibility, relaxation and decreases stress levels. It is also effective in reducing or managing pain caused from trauma, post-surgery, headaches and arthritis. A good massage can relax muscles, improve muscle length, decrease spasms and reduce adhesions. The loosening of mucus and the clearing of the sputum from the lungs can also be accomplished thus improving immune function and a sense of well being.
The art of massage has been practiced for thousands of years. In China a book was written reporting that massage is a useful treatment for paralysis and reduced circulation, while the ancient Greek and Romans observed it as a prime means of pain relief. Although in Europe throughout the Dark and Middle Ages, massage fell into relative obscurity until a French surgeon Ambroise Pare (1510-1590) published a book explaining the merits of massage on surgical patients. Then in the nineteenth century a fencer and physical education teacher named Per Henrik Ling combined his knowledge of gymnastics, physiology, Chinese, Egyptian, Greek and Roman techniques to form what we now call Swedish Massage.