Back in the days before aspirin, heating pads and whirlpools, humans treated their sore bodies the old-fashioned way: With massage. When a caveman twisted one of his Neanderthal knees, he rubbed it.
In many ways, massage is the most natural of natural remedies. Touching your body where it hurts seems to be a basics instinct, like running from danger or eating when you’re hungry. And experts say that massage, no matter how humble or low-tech it may seem, can be a powerful healer.
Massage has come a long way over the centuries.
SWEDISH MASSAGE uses soothing, tapping and kneading strokes to work the entire body, relieving muscle tension and loosening sore joints. Swedish massage therapists use five basic strokes, which anyone can learn and use on themselves and others. They are effleurage (stroking); petrissage (muscles are lightly grabbed and lifted); friction (thumbs and fingertips work in deep circles into the thickest part of muscles); tapotement (chopping, beating, and tapping strokes); and vibration (fingers are pressed or flattened firmly on a muscle, then the area is shaken rapidly for a few seconds).