Massage as Medicine


The word medicine, derived from the Latin, “ars medicina” means, “the art of healing.”

Healing literally means, “to make whole or restore to health” – – health being the measurable level of functional or metabolic efficiency in a person.  Health is the general condition of a person’s mind, body and spirit, usually meaning to be free from illness, injury or pain. Illness and injury, whether physical or emotional in nature, will cause unbalanced, diseased or damaged tissue. Healing may involve psychological intervention, meaning our willingness to release self-destructive attitudes and adopt self-affirming ones. Healing may involve physiological manipulation of the bodies systems.  Traditional spiritual approaches to healing are increasingly becoming a more popular choice. I personally believe that all three of these dimensions are necessary for our health.

With respect to the physical damage suffered by living tissue, healing involves providing this tissue with the necessary stimuli and environment to repair and rejuvenate itself, thus resuming normal functioning. It’s the process by which the cells of the body regenerate and repair themselves to reduce the damaged and affected areas which massage can help with.

Massage increases circulation locally and in general, transporting much needed oxygen and nutrition to the damaged tissue. Massage also increases lymph flow; the lymph is our bodies’ sewage system, removing toxins and cellular debris. Massage also induces the release of endorphins, our body’s natural painkillers, and promotes homeostasis or general well being – – creating balance between all the bodies systems.

When our bodies have been injured and the repair and rejuvenation process has begun, scar tissue usually results from tissue not knitting back together smoothly. Specific massage techniques have been proven to reduce scar tissue; if the treatment is begun before serious time has passed the results can be amazing. I have worked with car crash survivors and hip and knee replacement clients, teaching them how to massage along their dermatomes to reduce scar tissue. Just as wood has a grain, skin has dermatomes; surgeons try to make their incisions along the direction of these dermatomes.  When their incisions are in the same direction as the dermatome, post operation scar tissue is reduced. If you imagine scar tissue like matted tangled hair, massage has a ‘combing’ or ‘aligning’ affect on the new tissue forming.

There are many conditions for which massage is prescribed and many more that would benefit from regular massage. It is for this reason that we teach clients the massage techniques that will speed up their recovery time. In cases like tendonitis or replacement surgeries, recovery times can be more than halved.

Teaching clients with medical issues, parents, professionals with an interest in health, or budding massage enthusiasts, is an extremely rewarding endeavor. At The Balance, we feel that the simple self and partner massage techniques we teach will keep you in good condition between your monthly visits to your massage therapist.

For those who want to increase performance, such as athletes, business owners, home managers, and anyone with mentally, emotionally or physically demanding lives, we would definitely recommend regular massage routines. We are so confident, we are challenging clients at our studio to accept our once-a-week for five weeks massage package special and see if they don’t notice a huge difference in overall mood, general health, well being, energy, vitality, sleep quality and digestion. This improved attitude and vitality seeps into every aspect of your life and saves you money. We see lots of smiling faces with smiles that just keep growing!

Classes on self or partner care through massage techniques will put regular massages within everyone’s reach. It is very important to remember that this is not a substitute for professional massage training. Our classes are designed to bolster the care provided by your massage therapist, not to substitute the professional care, observation, supervision and support offered by your massage therapists. Massage classes promote fun, health and respect for each other – – they do not make you an expert so always seek a professional opinion before starting any new life style choice.

The energy of saying “yes” to improving our physical, mental and emotional health has a magical quality that non-spiritually minded people call ‘coincidence’. These coincidences and synchronicities appear ‘evident’ in all areas of our life whether we have the eyes to see them or not. For me, a yoga practice was about saying “thank you” for my body, and the best way to show appreciation for something is to use it. Saying “I appreciate myself” through massage has the same gratitude energy. The language of gratitude, I feel, is the energy of manifesting.


Aoghain Lakes



Massage Lifestyle Coach/ Therapist, Reiki Master Teacher ~ Energy Medicine Practitioner. Aoghain blogs on self care massage techniques on and writes about a variety of self care massage techniques as well as a monthly article here.  At The Balance Clinical and Holistic Massage Therapy our upcoming classes include; European lymph skin massage and a wide range of self care and partner classes. Contact him at: (248) 542-3073 or visit:


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