Dalak (Massage) is a therapeutic technique or systematic manipulation of body tissues with the hands. It involves working and acting on the body with gentle pressure by using expertise hands sometimes with fingers, elbows, knees, forearm, feet, or with a massage device. Massage can promote relaxation and well-being of the patient.
Several types of Dalak (Massage) have been mentioned in Unani system of Medicine e.g. Dalak-e- sulb (hard massage), Dalak-e- layyin (soft massage) etc. Similarly prolonged and moderate massages are also recommended by Unani physicians based on the requirement of the disease conditions and body.
Classification of Massage (Dalak)
According to Unani system of medicine massage (Dalak) is classified on the basis of kaifiyat (quality) and kammiyat (quantity).
On the basis of quality, massage is classified into three types:
- Dalak-e- sulb (hard massage): It is a type of massage in which pressure is applied deliberately, which makes the body firm.
- Dalak-e- layyin (soft massage): This type of massage is done lightly to relax the body.
- Dalak-e- mo’tadil (moderate massage): In this type of massage moderate degree of pressure is applied. This is intermediate between dalak-e- sulb and dalak-e- layyin which makes the body muscular.
On the basis of quantity, massage is classified into three types:
- Dalak-e- kaseer (prolonged massage): In this type, massage is done for a long period of time, which makes the body thin.
- Dalak-e- qaleel (short duration massage): In this type massage is done for short period of time.
- Dalak-e- mo’tadil (moderate duration massage): In this type the duration of massage is intermediate between the above two types.
Other types of massage:
- Dalak-e- khashin (rough massage): In this type, massage is done with the help of or by using a piece of rough cloth. It draws blood briskly towards the skin. It is used for the treatment of chronic skin diseases. The treatment helps in removing the morbid matters which are one of the causes of skin diseases.
- Dalak-e- amlas (smooth massage): This type of massage is done with soft hands or soft piece of cloth. It increases the flow of blood in the affected part.
- Dalak-e- istardad or dalak-e- musakkin (recuperative massage): This massage is done usually at the end of exercise. It is nothing but the terminal part of exercise. It is usually done using some oil vigorously in the beginning and gently towards the end. The main purpose is to liquify and eliminate the waste products which have been accumulated in the tissues thus it prevents fatigue.
- Dalak-e- istedad (preparatory massage): It is a special type of massage usually done before the exercise. It starts gently and vigorously as the time of exercise approaches.
Applications of Different types of massages
- Dalak-e- sulb (Hard massage): It is a kind of deobstruent (mufatteh-e- sudad) in nature. It helps in opening up the obstruction present anywhere in the body, further makes the body firm.
- Dalak-e- layyin (soft massage): it is a kind of massage which has sedative effect. It relaxes the body.
- Dalak mo’tadil (moderate massage): In this type the duration of massage is intermediate between Dalak-e- sulb (hard massage) and Dalak-e- layyin (soft massage). It makes the body muscular.
Dry and hard massage is deobstruent in nature. It increases the blood supply while the massage with oil relaxes the muscles and softens the skin. Prolonged massage (Dalak-e- kaseer) reduces the fat of the body and makes the body thin. Moderate massage (Dalak-e- mo’tadil) develops the body. It also improves and maintains blood circulation of a particular organ.
Rough friction or massage with a rough cloth (Dalak-e- khashin) enhances vasodilation of a particular organ.
Roller massage is done by rollers made out of jade stones. It is used for creating a sense of wellbeing. It is also been indicated as sedative in Unani classical literature.
In case of patients with cervical spondylitis, massage over the muscles of the neck and shoulder joints “with Roghan-e- zaitoon” is applied gently 2-3 times a day.
The main objectives of performing Dalak (massage) are:
- By applying massage therapy one can get relief from the symptoms of anxiety, depression, stress, tension and insomnia. It is also found to be very effective for treating backache, headache, arthritis, muscular pain, post stroke management and some other forms of chronic pain.
- In case of premature infants, it is found to be very effective for the enhancement of weight/ weight gain.
- In case of females during labour the massage therapy is found to be beneficial for faster and safer delivery. Even it helps in reducing postpartum psychosis (or puerperal psychosis) i.e. psychological fear after delivery. In this condition woman becomes irritable, she is likely to have extreme mood swings and hallucinations.