The health benefits of remedial massage, reflexology, Chinese cupping and other holistic therapies

The History of Massage

Massage has been used as a healing therapy for thousands of years. The first references to the practice is in China, around 2,700 B.C, with other evidence of massage being found in Ancient Egyptian tombs. It’s also been said that Julius Caesar himself would have daily massages to help alleviate his nerve pain.

What is remedial massage?

The purpose of remedial massage is to improve performance and function as well as treat ailments at their cause. This type of massage is often mistaken for a deep tissue massage, which uses hard pressure to work the muscles. While a deep tissue technique may be incorporated into an appointment, remedial massage focuses on a series of functional muscle and motion tests to assess where attention is needed.

Every treatment is different; however, you may expect gentle manual manipulations, kneading and other massage techniques to provide relief to muscles, tendons, ligaments and the body’s connective tissues.

What can remedial massage help with?

Improved Blood Circulation for Muscle & Organ Health

Better blood flow and circulation helps to flush toxins and waste from the body, helping to maintain the strength and energy of your muscles and vital organs. As a result, this can help lessen your chances of stroke or artery damage.

Poor circulation can sometimes be identified by excessively cold or numb hands and feet, a blue tinge to the skin on your legs, brittle nails and loss of body hair.

Remedial massage encourages improved blood flow by stimulating the lymphatic system, which works with the circulatory system to reduce pain and swelling.

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS)

Any athlete or regular gym goer will understand the pain and stiffness, known as DOMS, in the 24-hour to 72-hour window following a workout. When a person stresses their muscle through exertion of activity, tiny microscopic tears can occur in the muscle, resulting in inflammation. This is the symptom you feel after a particularly good workout or trying something new.

A remedial massage helps to remove this built-up inflammation within the muscle, lessening the symptoms. For an athletic person, this means less time away from the gym or physical activity.


When the muscles in your neck, shoulders and upper back are out of balance, they can become tight, leading to headaches and migraines. The symptoms of a migraine include an intense throbbing, typically on 1 side of the head, accompanied by nausea and sensitivity to light, sound and movement. 

By re-balancing the tight muscles in the neck, shoulders and upper back, a remedial massage can help to prevent re-occurring migraines.

Neck & Back Pain

Neck and back pain is generally caused by a tight, injured or weak muscle creating a tension knot in a band of muscles. This pain can appear as a dull ache or severe pain, even causing headaches and migraines.

During a remedial massage, a therapist will assess where the root of the problem is coming from, then working to relieve the tension.

Sciatic Pain Relief

The sciatic nerve supplies nerves to the skin covering the entire leg, including the back, thigh and foot. When this nerve becomes compressed or irritated—due to a health condition or action such as sneezing—it can cause numbness, pins and needles or pain along the lower back, buttocks and leg.

Remedial massage can be used to help relieve the symptoms of a sciatic pain condition by relaxing the lower back. While the condition itself may take some time to recover, remedial therapy can be used to maintain some level of normalcy.

The History of Reflexology

One of the earliest accounts of reflexology is on a wall painting in Egypt dating back to 2330B.C. Other cultures, such as the Native Americans, Chinese and African tribes, have used this method of using the body’s zones to provide healing treatment.

What is reflexology?

In our body, we have 10 invisible zones, which run from the sole and toe through the legs, organs, chest and neck, up to different points in the head. It is these zones which connect everything in our body. Reflexologists use the corresponding zones in the feet and hands to help create balance within the joining area, such as using a trigger point in the big toe to help relieve a certain pain in neck.

What can reflexology help with?


The tip of the little toe is linked to the head, brain and sinus reflexes. A reflexologist can tell if this point is tense or congested, working the area to help relieve migraines.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

In between the ball of your foot and the heel is a soft section, which corresponds with the  zone for your bowels. When this area is tender, it can indicate a flair up for people who experience IBS. A reflexology massage in this section of the foot can help relieve IBS symptoms, as well as being incredibly satisfying.

Menstrual Cramps

During a woman’s ovulation or menstrual cycle, the sides of heel may feel hot and stiff to a reflexologist. The area on the side of the heel unites with the ovaries and uterus, which when massaged correctly, can help alleviate menstrual cramps.

Back Pain

Back, neck and shoulder pain or discomfort is 1 of the most common problems people seek reflexology for. By using reflexology, a remedial therapist can increase the blood flow to the conflicted area, providing a sense of relief.


The pressure points in your hands and feet can help to relieve tension around the brain, temporal areas and spleen. For example, the big toe is a direct reflexology point to the brain. Stress can also affect how you digest food, so a reflexologist may focus on the spot on your foot connected to the spleen to help deter the impact of stress.

The History of Chinese Cupping

Chinese cupping is an ancient method that has been used as a holistic treatment in many cultures, including Europe, Asia and Africa. Originally, it was used to treat boils, snakebites and lesions as it was said to draw toxins from the body. In Chinese surgery, they would use cupping to divert blood from the surgical site. It has also been utilised for helping with congestion, colds and chest infections.

What is Chinese cupping?

There are 3 types of Chinese cupping; dry, wet and massage. At Rainbow Concepts Remedial Centre, we use massage cupping, which involves applying flexible cups and gliding them across the treatment area. The pressure of the cup pulls the skin, tissue and muscles are pulled upwards, which helps enhance circulation.

What can Chinese cupping help with?

Blood Circulation

Chinese cupping is well known for its positive effects on the circulatory system. The pressure helps to strengthen veins, which increases blood flow throughout the body. It can also detoxify congested blood, which helps to strengthen the arterial muscles.

Liver Health

When blood flows more efficiently, it enters the liver more efficiently, which helps improve liver function. The liver is what assists in the breakdown of damaged blood cells, as well as metabolising fat so it can be used as energy. Cupping aids the liver in efficiently breaking down these fat cells and old blood cells, helping keep it disease-free.

The Nervous System

The brain can also be cleared of congestion during Chinese cupping. As a result, the brain can transmit signals, so the body responds optimally. This treatment may also help with depression, epilepsy and headaches. 

The History of Lymphatic Drainage

Emil and Estrid Vodder, a massage therapist and naturopath in France, began creating what we now know as manual lymphatic drainage in 1932. Through research of the lymph vessel system—which transports lymph, a fluid which carries white blood cells throughout the body—they were able to learn how to stimulate the flow of the fluid. To do so, they developed a series of light, rhythmic manipulations to be used across the body.

What is Lymphatic Drainage

A lymphatic massage is performed using gentle, rhythmic strokes across the treatment area. These motions help to increase the capacity of which your circulatory system can remove any fluid and toxic waste build-up within the body.

What can lymphatic drainage help with?

Fluid & Water Retention

Fluid retention is a common occurrence after surgery or injury. As for water retention, the excess fluid in the body is stored in the tissue or in the body cavities, which can cause swollen feet and ankles, stiff joints and body aches. A healthy lymphatic system collects this excess fluid, transporting it to the lymph nodes, relieving it through to the kidneys and out of the body as urine. A sluggish lymphatic system won’t be able to do this efficiently, creating a build-up.

Lymphatic drainage can be used to improve the function of the system and improve circulation of lymph fluid to carry away any excess fluid.

Digestive Conditions

The lymphatic system is also responsible for carrying long-haired fatty acids and proteins. Therefore, if the lymphatic system is not performing optimally, it can disrupt the digestion process, which includes constipation and bloating.

Lymphatic drainage helps to mobilise the build-up of the long-haired fat and protein molecules, which also prevent the efficient flow of fluid.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is 1 of the many conditions causing pain and swelling of the joints. This autoimmune disease is caused by the immune system attacking the lining of the joints, which causes damage and inflammation. It more so affects smaller joints, such as those in the hands and feet, although other joints can be affected.

Improving circulation has been noted as a way of managing the pain and inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis. While lymphatic drainage will need to be an on-going treatment option, it can provide an alternate option to traditional medicine.


The information on this website is intended for general purposes only and does not consider your personal circumstances. Please contact our friendly staff or seek other professional advice or assistance with any concerns.