Did you ever wonder about the health benefits of body massage, or did you think it was just a luxury item for self-indulgent rich folks with lots of time on their hands for pampering?
Massages used to only be available in upscale health clubs and luxury spas a few years ago, but now, you can get them almost anywhere. The reason for this is because people have already realized how valuable massage is for their health and overall wellness, which includes that of the mind, body, and spirit.
In fact, massage is the most widely used complementary and alternative medicine in hospitals today for the treatment of pain, mental health, stress reduction, and general wellbeing.
Massage therapy represents the oldest and simplest form of medicine, dating back to as far as 2,700 B.C. Massage is a term used to describe the pressing, rubbing, kneading, pulling, stretching, and otherwise manipulating muscles, skin, joints, and tendons.
There are several different types of massage and many ways that massage can help to increase your general well-being. Some of the most commonly known types of massage are Swedish, Thai, Shiatsu (Japanese finger pressure) aromatherapy massage, and reflexology.
HERE IS WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
- Swedish massage typically uses oil on a bare skin and long sweeping, or circular, and rhythmical strokes that induce a sense of relaxation, peace, and calmness. This is without a doubt the most common type of massage in the US. It involves long smooth strokes, circular movements, and kneading. The massage therapist uses oil or lotion when performing this kind of massage. It is considered to be very relaxing and gentle.
- Thai massage can be done with the recipient either naked or clothed: the practitioner uses various stretching maneuvers along with deep finger pressure to reduce tension. It is usually performed on the floor, and famously the practitioner walks along the back!
- Shiatsu is typically performed through clothing on a mat known as a futon on the floor. The correct way to perform the Shiatsu massage is by giving low pressure on acupuncture or acupressure points using thumbs, hands, elbows, and even feet. Some stretching but less vigorous than Thai massage. Shiatsu works by balancing the distribution of energy throughout the body.
- Aromatherapy massage uses oils blended with essential plant oils whose properties are known to have medicinal qualities. The beneficial molecules get absorbed into the bloodstream via the skin and aid in healing.
- Reflexology is an ancient form of foot massage. Points on the feet relate to various parts of the body and are pressed and massaged to bring about healing in the related body part.
- Deep tissue massage is quite different from Swedish massage therapy, as it targets the deeper layers of your muscles and connective tissue. It is often performed on an individual who has postural problems, chronically tight muscles, or who is recovering from an injury.
- Hot stone massage is exactly what it sounds like. It revolves around the placing of heated, smooth stones on certain points of your body to loosen tight muscles. Sometimes, the therapist may apply gentle pressure with the stones. Although this may sound like it isn’t pleasant, the warmth of the stones provides you with a very comforting feeling.
- Sports Massage No, you don’t have to be a professional athlete to get a sports massage. Nevertheless, this type of massage therapy was designed for people who live an active life and work out often. The primary focus of a sports massage isn’t relaxation, but rather the prevention of injury and enhancement of your athletic performance. Some different techniques are used as part of a sports massage.
- Trigger Point Massage focuses on specific areas of your body, instead of the whole body. The therapist pinpoints the muscle that is causing your problems and then applies low pressure to relax it.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Upon taking a good massage, your body quickly softens into a deep state of relaxation. Massage works by relieving muscular tension, increasing blood flow to an area and promoting relaxation.
The Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami has run many studies on massage’s effects on mental health and results showed massage therapy to reduce the symptoms associated with
- Other mental health conditions
There are a few contraindications for massage, which include deep vein thrombosis, cancer, blood disorders, open wounds, severe osteoporosis, and fractures.
If in doubt, consult your physician before taking the appointment at the massage center.
A good massage usually lasts about an hour, but a length of sessions can run from half an hour to up to two hours.
A recommendation by word of mouth is usually the best way to find an excellent practitioner; however, you must find out their credentials and level of certification before going for the service.
Many people treat themselves to a massage every once in a while, which is without a doubt significant both for their physical and mental health. However, regular massage therapy will provide you with much more benefits.
- You’ll start living a happier and healthier life if you get massages regularly.
- The majority of people today deal with a lot of stress. Worrying about paying the bills on time, family problems, an unpleasant work environment,and the general hustle and bustle of daily life can all lead to a huge amount of chronic stress, which ultimately leads to ill health, and an increased risk for severe disease, such as heart disease, stroke, and others. One of the best ways to relieve yourself of the excess stress and anxiety in your life is massage therapy.
- Massage therapy is not only able to relax certain muscles in your body; it can put your mind into a state of deep relaxation as well. Not only that, but it will also trigger the release of brain chemicals called endorphins, which battle stress and enhance your mood.
- On top of that, massage therapy will stimulate the release of other feel-good hormones, such as dopamine and serotonin. By elevating the presence of these hormones, you’ll decrease the production of the stress hormone known as cortisol.
- By relaxing both your body and mind, massage therapy will improve your sleep quality, which in turn promotes good mental health.
- Not getting enough sleep can lead to slowed down thought processes, memory loss, and unhealthy food choices. People who don’t sleep enough tend to have elevated stress and anxiety levels, but massage can help with too.
All in all, massage is much more than a superficial and luxurious way to pamper yourself.
Massage can have far-reaching effects on your overall health and general well-being and can be a valuable tool in your self-care regime.
Regular sessions can increase your quality of life by enhancing your mood, reducing the tension you carry and alleviating an array of physical symptoms.
If you can manage a session a week, you will notice an improvement in how you feel about yourself and your outlook on life will vastly improve, as you feel more comfortable in your skin and a total well being.