by Dr. Lawrence Wilson
© December 2017, L.D. Wilson Consultants, Inc.
All information in this article is for educational purposes only. It is not for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure of any disease or health condition.
Massage is one of the most ancient forms of body work and physical therapy. Many types of massage exist, and they can be quite helpful for healing and relaxation.
In this article, I divide massage into that offered by professionals, and that which is done within the home by married couples or intimate partners, or even parents with their own children. The reason is for safety and cleanliness, which are severe problems with massage today.
This article also discusses several of the most powerful and helpful types including reflexology and Rolfing. Some people would not consider these as forms of massage, but I include them because they involve touching the skin of another person. Another excellent method is Reiki, which is done with the clothing on.
Another excellent type of massage is the Energy Center Massage. It can greatly speed up development.
PROBLEMS WITH SOME PROFESSIONAL MASSAGE THERAPY
Professional massage is when a person visits a professional who is trained and usually a licensed massage therapist. Massage is often offered at private offices, as well as at health clubs, spas, hotels, and resorts around the world. It is now also offered through some churches and other Christian groups.
Many massage therapist are excellent professionals. However, problems with professional massage therapy are:
1. Infection. Professional massage therapists touch several or more naked bodies each day. Some of these clients have infections on their skin that can be transmitted to a massage therapist, who in turn can pass it to another client.
A massage therapist may not realize that he or she has a skin infection. It would help if all massage clients showered just before their massage, but this is rare. This is a problem with all body work today.
It does not seem to matter much if the masseuse uses massage oils that are supposedly antiseptic. Washing the hands and arms between clients with a strong solution of hydrogen peroxide, followed by soap and water, would help a lot, however.
Otherwise, it is very hard for concerned massage therapists to protect themselves and their clients from infection. Unlike other medical specialties, gloves cannot be worn easily with massage, although it would not be a bad idea and it might be possible. Also unlike other medical professions, usually the person is unclothed, making it easier to spread skin infections.
I hope massage therapists will wash carefully between clients. For cleanliness reason, at this time I would avoid or be extremely careful with all professional massage, since this is a problem, even if few are aware of it.
2. Energetic problems. Massage therapists often pick up stray energies and entities from clients easily, again because direct touch is involved. Then a massage therapist can easily pass these on to the next client.
This occurs without the conscious knowledge of either the client or the therapist, in most cases. I experienced this myself, and it may be one reason I am writing a less than flattering article about massage. I realize many massage therapists mean very well, and do excellent healing work. However, these problems exist.
3. Sexy. There is nothing wrong with sex or sexy. However, one must be careful because sexy can easily become an emphasis that is not helpful for healing. Professional massage can be very sexy. It is also easy to go from just massage to massage plus sex of some kind, so please be careful with this.
4. Predators, solicitors, molestation or even rape. Having a massage license from the state is no guarantee of competence or integrity (The same is true of any medical professional). This is part of the false promise of licensing. It probably helps weed out a few “bad apples”, but that is all. For more on licensing, read The Case Against Medical Licensing on this site.
While some massage therapists are wonderful, any time a person takes off all or most clothing, there is more at risk for sexual predation, solicitation for sex, molestation or even rape.
Young women – 15 to 30 years of age – are probably at the highest risk. However, it occurs with anyone, today. In fact, a person can be “recruited” into cults using sophisticated brainwashing techniques that can be done during a massage, believe it or not.
It can also occur if one receives a massage from a woman. In one case I know of, a female massage therapist had a male ‘friend’ who hid in a closet and, once a client undressed, the two raped the client and then forced her to keep silent about what happened.
I do not mean to be negative, but I hear about these cases, and they are real. I am not trying to bad mouth massage, but only to protect people. While some massage therapists are completely honest and straight, for reasons of safety alone, I cannot recommend professional massage, especially for young women. Couples massage is much safer, with many fewer problems, and is discussed in the next section of this article.
If you wish to have a professional massage, bring a friend along. The person can read a book or text their friends during the session. Do not tell the massage therapist you will do this ahead of time.
This can be an excellent method of healing and bonding between a couple, or between a parent and a child if it is done in a non-sexy way. It is the only massage I currently recommend, and one must still beware of cleanliness and other issues.
Giving a family or couples massage. I recommend the following precautions:
1. The one giving the massage must wash the hands thoroughly for at least a minute with soap and warm water, almost like you will do surgery. Also, be sure the fingernails are trimmed closely and are perfectly clean. Use a nail brush, perhaps, to make sure they are clean.
2. Ideally, use soap as a lubricant, rather than massage oil. Soap is very antiseptic, unlike massage oils that actually can spread bacteria and fungi. If the soap gets too thick, just put a little warm water with it and it thins out easily.
3. If possible, mix your soap solution with some 35% hydrogen peroxide to make it even more antiseptic. The massage also now becomes an oxygen therapy, which is also excellent.
For the one receiving a massage:
1. If possible, shower before getting a massage. This will remove a lot of bacteria from the skin. Couples can shower together, and it becomes part of the massage experience.
2. Partners and parents should use a little black salve to remove any fungal, bacterial or other skin infections that are present before getting a massage from another. Try to get rid of as many skin infections as possible. Most people today have up to a dozen little skin infections.
3. Both partners, and parents and children, should ideally follow a complete nutritional balancing program. In addition to the nutritional balancing diets, lifestyles, and supplement program, the daily use of a near infrared sauna will slowly help minimize skin infections of all kinds.
This program will slowly, but dramatically reduce the number of infections in and on the bodies. It will also help protect anyone receiving a massage so that infections do not take hold as easily. Over a few years time, massage becomes progressively safer as one’s health improves.
NUTRITIONAL BALANCING AND MASSAGE
Massage is not emphasized in nutritional balancing science at this time, although it can certainly be helpful. Although I personally enjoy bodywork, the reasons I do not recommend it heartily include those given in the section above. Exceptions exist, however, and are discussed below.
EXCELLENT TYPES OF MASSAGE
REFLEXOLOGY OR ZONE THERAPY
Foot and hand reflexology is so powerful, simple and safe that it is recommended for everyone as part of every nutritional balancing program. In fact, it is one of the most amazing therapies available. Read the article entitled Reflexology for much more about this wonderful method of healing.
Safety. If one is just doing relflexology on your own hands or feet, or those of one’s spouse or children, then I do not believe there is too much danger of passing infections around. However, I suggest washing the feet or hands first (see Disinfecting The Feet below).
Even better, have the person receiving the session put on some thin socks so that the person giving the session is not touching the feet directly.
Also, BEFORE AND AFTER giving a reflexology session, wash your hands thoroughly with plenty of soap and water. Also, be sure your fingernails are well trimmed and very clean.
Professional reflexology is not quite as safe from infections. In this case, a stranger is touching the body and may have picked up infections from other clients, or elsewhere. However, professional reflexology is less hazardous than full body massage. Most professional reflexologists wash the feet first in a small foot bath or with a wet towel, hopefully with plenty of soap and water. Be sure this is done!
A competent foot therapist should begin a session by washing the client’s feet in a small foot bath, preferably with hydrogen peroxide that is sufficiently strong to disinfect the feet significantly. One needs about half a cup of 35% food grade hydrogen peroxide, mixed with the water in a small bassinette or foot bath. The clients’ feet should stay in this foot bath for at least 10 minutes for proper disinfection.
One must still make sure, if possible, that the therapist’s hands are very clean and that infections on the hands of the therapist are not passed back and forth. One way to do this that I strongly suggest is for anyone offering professional hand and/or foot reflexology to wear thin, surgical gloves. I know it sounds rather sterile and cold, but it is worthwhile for reflexology therapists to do this today to avoid bacterial, viral and some fungal infections that can be passed on to others.
For young women, another benefit of reflexology is that the client need not remove any clothing, except shoes and socks. Also for this reason, foot and hand reflexology are excellent ways to help the health of one’s family and friends in a non-threatening and non-sexual manner that feels very good and involves therapeutic touch.
REIKI, LAYING ON OF HANDS OR THERAPEUTIC TOUCH
This is not massage. The person receiving the session should remain fully clothed. However, it involves touching the body of another person, and that is why I mention it in this article. Reiki is an ancient Oriental method of passing energy from one person to another. Laying on of hands is a Christian healing method that does something similar. Therapeutic touch is a more modern version that is somewhat similar.
I apologize if I am mixing up these methods. I am grouping them together because they are all methods of therapy involving touching another.
Moving healing energy or chi from one person to another can and does also occur during any type of massage session. However, with the techniques discussed here, moving energy is the main modality of healing.
I think these methods are excellent. The only cautions are:
1. Make sure the person giving the session is healthy, if possible. Otherwise, the healer can take energy from the client.
2. The healer should be sure the hands are clean anytime touching is involved, even with clothing on.
3. There is still some danger of predation, solicitation and molestation. So always be cautious and I would bring a friend to a first session and do not tell the therapist ahead of time.
ROLFING AND/OR STRUCTURAL INTEGRATION
This is a form of very deep bodywork that has some aspects of massage in it. However, the goal is to impact and actually separate the fascia layers, which can become adhered to each other. The fascia are layers of tissue that cover the organs and muscles, and are just under the skin.
For those with chronically poor posture, and those for whom chiropractic is not enough to correct certain problems, Rolfing or structural integration can be wonderful. It is organized into 10 beginning sessions, which can be followed by more advanced sessions that just go deeper.
Types of bodywork that are related to this include deep muscle massage and myofascial release. All of these can be helpful to release some adhesions in the body that can cause pain, restriction of motion and many other problems.
Safety. The best idea is to only undress as much of the body as needed, and definitely avoid totally undressing, which is not needed, anyway.
Rolfing and structural integration are done wearing only underwear, so this is a problem for young women, especially. Also, Rolfers and other body workers touch random bodies all day long, so there is a good possibility they can pass infections from person to person. For these reasons, I cannot recommend this excellent therapy too well. If you want Rolfing, please research carefully whom you go to, and I would consider bringing along a friend, especially if you are a young woman. Mothers or fathers must accompany children for safety reasons, as well.
MASSAGE FOR HEALING RAPE
Some people object to my mentioning rape and massage in the same article. However, I do so here for therapeutic reasons. Some rapes traumatize the skin, the fascia, the muscles and the bony structure of the body. The proper type of massage can be most useful to help heal some of the traumas of rape. However, all the same warnings and cautions apply. For more on this topic, please read Healing Rape on this website.