Massage is one of the oldest forms of healing in the world, and its popularity shows no signs of stopping. While it might seem simple enough to figure out what massage is and how it can help your body, there are many different types that may require specialized training or equipment to do safely and effectively.
Check out this blog to learn more about massage, the various types, and how to make sure you’re getting the benefits you’re looking for when you get a massage.
What is massage?
Although there are some slight differences between different types of massage, you can think of it as an art that involves manipulation and/or pressure applied to muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, and other soft tissues.
Usually, all or part of a person’s body is rubbed with oil or lotion to improve circulation and reduce tension in tight areas. Most massage therapists use their hands for manipulating and applying pressure.
Manual lymphatic drainage may also be used to help drain fluid from your limbs. Some massage therapists use their feet as well. Many people enjoy massage because it relaxes them and relieves muscle soreness. It is a great way to de-stress after a long day at work or school.
In addition, many people say they feel more energetic after getting a massage.
If you are interested in getting one, make sure to tell your therapist if anything feels uncomfortable during treatment so he or she can adjust accordingly. Also, ask what type of oils or lotions will be used so you know if they will irritate your skin.
Why Do People Get Massages?
Everyone knows that getting a massage feels good, but did you know that there are actually many benefits to getting regular massages.
There have been some interesting research studies conducted that show us why we should all be scheduling appointments at our local spas more often.
One study conducted in 2009 and published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that those who received massage therapy were more likely to fall asleep faster, sleep deeper, and wake up feeling more refreshed than those who didn’t receive any sort of massage therapy.
Not only does a good massage leave you feeling rejuvenated but it also leaves your body feeling relaxed. When your muscles are tense, they cause stress on other parts of your body, like your organs.
When you get a deep tissue massage or even just an hour-long Swedish massage, not only will you feel better immediately after but over time as well.
And if that isn’t enough to convince you then maybe these statistics will: A National Health Interview Survey from 2008 shows that nearly 70% of Americans use complementary therapies such as acupuncture or chiropractic care for pain management and almost half visit alternative medicine practitioners for other health issues such as back pain or depression (NIH).
In addition to helping with relaxation, massages can help relieve muscle tension, reduce stress levels and improve circulation which can help lower blood pressure levels (American Heart Association). So go ahead – treat yourself!
A 2012 study from Taiwan found that massage may have significant benefits on a person’s overall well-being, including reducing pain, lowering blood pressure, and providing general relaxation.
Some believe that massages might help with certain kinds of sleep disorders such as insomnia by increasing slow-wave activity—the type of deep sleep our bodies crave.
One way massage achieves all these effects is through the release of oxytocin (sometimes called the love hormone), which can lower levels of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline.
All in all, a relaxing session can reduce stress and leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated when it’s over. There are lots of different types of massage available, but one thing they all have in common is that they require touch.
For most people, receiving a therapeutic massage is an enjoyable experience that feels good and makes them feel better.
Massage can be given for many reasons: to relax; to relieve muscle tension; to improve circulation, or simply to make someone feel cared for.
In addition to these reasons, there are other conditions for which professional therapeutic massage has been shown to be effective: Back Pain Headaches Stress Fibromyalgia Tension Headaches Insomnia TMJ Pain General anxiety PMS Osteoarthritis Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, And more!
- Helps to increase blood flow, resulting in more oxygen and nutrients being carried to your muscles.
- Relieves stress by promoting relaxation through pressure applied to certain points in your body.
- Speeds up muscle recovery after intense physical activity or injury by reducing swelling and increasing circulation around affected areas.
- Provides pain relief by loosening tight knots and massaging sore spots that might not be addressed otherwise.
- Makes you feel great because it simply feels good!
When do you get a massage?
Most people usually only get a massage when they’re feeling pain in their muscles or joints.
So, if you aren’t suffering from any acute pains, then you might be wondering when else would it be beneficial to book an appointment with a massage therapist.
It turns out there are several other instances where getting a massage can make a big difference in your overall wellbeing. While most of us think massages are just for soothing sore muscles, they actually offer much more than that.
You may not know it, but massages have been proven to reduce stress and anxiety, improve blood circulation, and even boost immunity.
When we experience stressful situations, our bodies release cortisol which causes a variety of problems such as high blood pressure, weight gain, reduced immune function, and insomnia. A regular massage can help lower cortisol levels and keep them at healthy levels.
In fact, one study found that participants who received massages had significantly lower cortisol levels after 24 hours compared to those who didn’t receive one.
Moreover, another study found that women who received massages had decreased levels of depression after three months compared to those who didn’t receive one.
Finally, research has shown that regular massages help decrease symptoms associated with chronic diseases such as arthritis and fibromyalgia by reducing stress hormones like cortisol.