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Russian Massage

A particuarly firm form of massage, today called Russian massage, was used to treat wounded Soviet soldiers during World War II at a time when medicine was scarce.

By Zeel Editorial Staff, Last updated: October 3, 2013

Since making its way into the mainstream, the Russian massage has retained its reputation as a strenuous rehabilitative treatment. Though it is often compared to a sports massage, the Russian alternative is even more aggressive.

The origins of Russian Massage: Massage treatment is a common component of Russian banyas, or sauna baths. A particuarly firm form of massage, today called Russian massage, was used to treat wounded Soviet soldiers during World War II at a time when medicine was scarce.

Benefits Of Russian Massage

Russian massage is not the sort of massage to seek out for relaxation, as it is designed to "wake up" muscles. In Russia it is often prescribed for specific physical ailments.

Russian massage can be beneficial to those suffering from muscle atrophy, asthma, TMJ, strains and sprains and bursitis, among other issues. It's sometimes called "Russian chiro" for this reason.

What To Expect

Russian massages address physical injury by breaking up scar tissue. Massage therapists often use their shoulder and elbows in addition to their hands in order to press more deeply into affected muscles.

A Russian massage can also de-knot painful adhesions, address arthritis and carpel tunnel syndrome, and improve blood flow and lymphatic function. Many of the movements are similar to Swedish massage, but stronger. The therapist will also rock the limbs during the massage.

Particular attention is paid to creating friction in knotted tissue. Oil may or may not be used.

Specialized equipment: No particular equipment is needed for the massage.

Recommended sessions: No specific recommendation.

Preparation: Inform the massage therapist about your health history. Russian massage can potentially help some conditions you might not expect, like asthma and myopia, so be thorough.

Risks

Russian massage is low risk—it is a form of medical practice, after all. Still, it should not be performed on people with a history of aneurysm or blood clots, as it can free clots in rare cases.

Who wouldn't benefit: People who are uncomfortable with strong and direct pressure would not enjoy a Russian massage. Contraindictions include fever, skin infections, cancer, and a history of aneurysm or blood clots.

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