A massage is the apex of luxury. What could be more extravagant than soaking in the warm oils of a Swedish treatment and sinking into the bliss of an herbal mud bath after a good hour of deep tissue kneading? Moreover, the spa experience is about wellness and the synergistic mystery of relaxation and their effects on the beleaguered body. The proven medical benefits of massage include the easing of cancer symptoms, shoulder pain, agitation in people with Alzheimer's disease, aggression in adolescents, and spinal cord injury- to name a few.
Aside from imbuing one with a relaxed state of mental awareness and an increased ability to monitor stress signals, perhaps the primary reason massage is looked upon as the ultimate in pampering is the absence of therapeutic touch in many forms of healing. Stress-related illnesses make up 80 to 90 percent of the ailments in our society, and a caring touch has been clinically proven to allay symptoms. Quite possibly, the need to soak in a Swedish treatment or simple foot rub is triggered by this unconscious recognition of luxury as necessity, of something commonly considered an improvidence of the wealthy but which is now a time-honored way of achieving total well-being.