When was the last time you had a great massage? You might be (pleasantly) surprised to discover that you’ve been going too long in between them! Indulging in a regular massage is not only for your pleasure, but it’s actually beneficial to your health as well.
What a Massage Is and Isn’t
When you ask your significant other to massage your back and you get a two minute rub, that does not qualify as a proper massage (just so you know). A proper massage is only achieved by therapeutically rubbing, manipulating and/or pressing the muscles, tendons, ligaments and/or skin. The pressure can range from a light touch to intense kneading. Some of most common types of massages are:
- Deep Tissue Massage – This method is done with slow, firm strokes that target the deep, underlying layers of connective tissue and muscle. Deep tissue massages are excellent for speeding up the recovery of muscle injuries.
- Swedish Massage – A Swedish massage features gentle fluid movements such as long strokes, deep circle motions, kneading, tapping and vibration. It is both relaxing and energizing.
- Sports Massage – Often applied to help treat and prevent injuries, a sports massage is similar in nature to a Swedish massage but it is more focused on individuals who are involved in sports.
- Tigger Point Massage – A trigger point massage is aimed at loosening tight concentrated bunches of muscle fibers that develop in muscles due to overuse or injuries.
- Cranial Sacral Massage – This massage technique focuses on the spinal column, bones of the head and sacrum. It is intended to alleviate pain and stress and also to release compression within the areas of focus.
The Big Benefits of a Regular Massage
Did you know that massages are universally practiced in both alternative and complementary medicine? There are a myriad of medical situations and conditions that can be alleviated (and sometimes cured) by massage. Studies show that massage can help relieve:
- Muscle tension
- Digestive disorders
- Stress-related insomnia
- Fibromyalgia pain
- Soft tissue pain
- Sports injury discomfort and pain
- Joint pain
- Myofascial pain
If you have a medical condition such as deep vein thrombosis, fracture, a bleeding disorder or severe osteoporosis, be sure to let your massage therapist know. Chances are, there are adjustments that can be made and you can still have a wonderful and safe massage session.
The Psychological Benefits of Massage
Besides the many physical benefits of a regular massage, there are also psychological benefits. The therapeutic physical touch encourages feelings of comfort, connection and caring. Some of the psychological issues that can be treated with regular massage are:
- Post-traumatic stress
- Attention-deficit hyperactivity
- General stress and anxiety
- Isolative tendencies
Massages are credited for opening up the passage ways within the body so energy can flow. This includes the release of pent up feelings and increases blood circulation too.
Sometimes life just rubs you the wrong way. We live in a hectic society. It’s natural to get uptight, physically and mentally. Taking a little time out to rejuvenate your mind and body by way of a massage will certainly pay off with big benefits.
If it’s been awhile since you’ve had a good massage, maybe it’s time to get in touch with a massage specialist who can rub you the right way.