The Gentle Touch

With a range of wonderful sensations to experience Cornwall Life encourages you to make the time for a massage for the ultimate in relaxation this August

The Gentle Touch

With a range of wonderful sensations to experience, Linda

Mitchelmore encourages us to make the time for a massage

It 's believed that the simplest form of massage may go back to primitive man: to touch and hold or rub a sore place is a strongly human instinct. As long ago as the 5th century, Hippocrates wrote: 'the way to health is to have a scented bath and an oiled massage each day'. Old Hippocrates must have been without the school run, the-nine-to-five job and the weekly shop... but, well, we can all dream, can't we?

Massage is used on the ligaments of the body - the soft tissues. But it has far wider-reaching benefits as it also affects the nervous and circulatory systems. The technique is designed to relax or to stimulate and strengthen. Tense and knotted tissue is massaged, there is an increase in blood circulation, the lymphatic system is stimulated, and with the added bonus of an aid to the elimination of waste material. It all sounds very desirable, indeed almost necessary - as Hippocrates once decreed.

Although a masseur has the same number of hands as the rest of us, it feels as though he or she has at least six pairs; there is never a second when a hand isn't gliding or rubbing or kneading or rolling.

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That old adage 'a hug a day keeps the doctor at bay' begins to ring true as the power of touch brings comfort to the care-worn body. Nervous tension (past and present worries) seems to lodge in the back, neck and shoulder muscles, and the massage techniques used on the back area encourage 'letting go'.

In today's health and beauty salon or spa, aromatherapy oils may be used. These are absorbed into the skin and different oils have different healing properties: massage can, and often does, heal. But it is for relaxation - an hour or so out of our busy lives - that makes most of us book a massage.

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