In these stressful times, there is something we can do for ourselves that can be surprisingly helpful. We may not think of it as a regular necessity, but massage has a long and historical list of benefits for every person at every age.
Massage is not only relaxing, but also healing and nurturing, stimulating and rejuvenating, and can be a very welcome alternative treatment for many causes of pain. Here are some interesting facts and useful information about massage:
- Infants born prematurely who receive infant massage gain more weight and leave the hospital 50% sooner.
- For older individuals, massage offers help keeping joints mobile by stimulating synovial fluid, helps enliven the skin and improve circulation, improves range of motion and reduces pain.
- For all of us, massage reduces recovery time from injuries and surgery, reduces swelling and scar tissue, releases endorphins, reduces anxiety, fatigue and stress, boosts the immune system, stimulates lymph flow and detoxification, reduces stiffness, improves sleep, and can effectively address a long list of conditions, including TMJ, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, carpel tunnel, fibromyalgia, repetitive strain injuries, neck pain, back pain, sciatica, tendonitis, headaches, shoulder pain, and much, much more.
- Of course, massage is great even when acute problems don’t exist. Helpful touch just feels good and is good for us.
- Massage therapy stimulates growth hormone and brain chemicals that help us feel happy.
- Massage elicits the relaxation response, a bodily state opposite the “fight or flight” state of readiness. This parasympathetic state, or relaxation response, is proven to be required for good cardiovascular health and overall well being.
- Massage connects us to our bodies and gives us time to reflect and be in the present moment.
- When you are ready to get a massage, be sure to thoroughly communicate your needs to the therapist. Let them know if you have specific problems or just want to relax. Inform them if the pressure is too light or too deep. Let them know if you don’t like the music. Massage time is your time, so make the very most of it.
- There are many different modalities in which therapists can be trained. They range from the general to the specific, and can address the needs of anyone, including sports enthusiasts, the elderly, the overworked, and those recovering from accidents or trauma. Modalities can be incorporated alone or in combination to address every individual’s needs. The names of massage modalities and related therapeutic bodywork techniques include, but are not limited to the following:
- Swedish (classical) Massage, Deep Tissue Massage, Sports Massage, Medical Massage, Myofacscial Release, Trigger Point Therapy, Prenatal Massage, Shiatsu, Reflexology, Hot Stones Massage, Cranial Sacral Therapy, Lymphatic Drainage, Ortho-Bionomy, Rolfing®, Penetrating Massage, ThaiMmassage, Neuromuscular Massage, Structural Integration, chair massage, and others. An excellent resource for descriptions of various modalities and how they can be helpful can be found at www.massagetherapy.com.
Massage therapy is not just a special treat. It is an important self-care component improving our overall health and well being in these times, or any time.
by Jewel Alexander, MA. Jewel Alexander is a writer and Certified Life Transitions Coach. You can reach her at (505) 474-4960 or firstname.lastname@example.org.