There is no doubt that receiving a massage is good for your mind body and soul. If it’s such an important part of living a healthy lifestyle, why don’t we all do it more often?
Massage is one of the oldest natural therapies. It contributes to physical and emotional health and to practical exercises, can stimulate and relax muscles, improve circulation and promote the healing of a wide variety of suffering. Massage is easy to achieve.
Relaxation massage is all about relaxing. It focuses on giving the client time to recover from the stresses of daily life. When you experience relaxation massage, you can expect a treatment that involves:
Long smooth gliding strokes that are rhythmic and flowing
Pressure that is deeply relaxing, but not painful
A treatment that is designed to soothe and relax you, not to relieve chronic pain or other underlying ailments.
A therapist who also takes the massage environment into account – look for soothing music, warm luxurious towels, and occasionally the use of essential oils to enhance both the environment and the effects of the massage
As with any kind of massage, the benefits of a relaxation massage can last for several days after your treatment.
Relaxation massage – like other forms of massage – can offer the following benefits:
Lowering blood pressure – at least for a while
Improvements to peripheral circulation
Improvements to skin tone and appearance
Improvements to gastrointestinal motility (bowel movements will become more regular)
Some reduction in muscle tension including the relief of muscle tension headaches
Improvements to any stress-related symptoms. This can include providing a gentle boost to the immune system if you undergo regular treatments.
There are different types of body massage and you are wellcome to try them all, or the one that is the best for you:
Swedish Massage Therapy
Swedish massage is virtually synonymous with massage therapy. Swedish massage is based on the Western concepts of anatomy and physiology, compared to the energy-centric style more common in Asian forms of massage. Using lotion or oil, massage therapists typically begin with broad general strokes and then transition to specific strokes to address problem areas. As the best-known type of bodywork performed today, one of the primary goals of the Swedish massage technique is to relax the entire body. This is accomplished by rubbing the muscles with long gliding strokes in the direction of blood returning to the heart. But Swedish massage therapy goes beyond relaxation. Swedish massage is exceptionally beneficial for increasing the level of oxygen in the blood, decreasing muscle toxins, improving circulation and flexibility while easing tension. Additional Swedish massage techniques include circular pressure applied by the hands and palms, firm kneading, percussion-like tapping, bending and stretching. Before and during your Swedish massage session, communication is encouraged with your professional massage therapist so that your massage is customized to your specific needs.
An aromatherapy massage is a Swedish massage with scented plant oils (known as essential oils) added to the massage oil. Extracted from flowers and other plant parts, essential oils offer a pleasing scent and are believed to have healing properties. Lavender and rose, for instance, are known to promote relaxation. Although oils may be selected to address specific needs, the therapist typically uses pre-blended oils to relax, energize, or uplift. Your massage therapist will usually decide which essential oils to use, but you can let them know if you have a preference. Essential oils are diluted before being applied to the skin. During the massage, you’ll be given a full-body massage while inhaling essential oils through a diffuser and absorbing them through your skin. Sometimes an aromatherapy massage will only focus on your back, shoulders, and head. You won’t wear any clothing other than underwear, which is optional.
Hot Stone Massage
As the name implies, hot stone massage uses warm stones. The therapist places heated, smooth stones on specific points on the body and also holds the warm stones while giving the massage. The stones are usually basalt (a volcanic rock that retains heat well). The warmth of the stones can be relaxing and can loosen tight muscles so that the therapist can reach areas of muscle tension quickly. Stones used for the heat massage are river-smoothed stones that are heavy enough to healing pressure but light enough to avoid discomfort. Some believe that the stones are symbolic of the forces of nature as they are smoothed and molded by the gentle but influential power of the river. The smoother the stone, the more energy it is believed to hold. The stone massage is performed by placing heated or cooled stones along the client’s back, specifically upon the meridians seen in acupressure techniques. The stones then help the body retain their healing heat which in turn enter the muscles and melt away stress. In addition to river stones, some massage therapists use a tool called a body rock. The body rock is carved from stone or found and smoothed for comfort. It helps to enhance the therapist’s strength during the massage and helps focus the pressure being applied to the body. Many therapists use this tool directly on the skin but it can also be paired with massage oil or even used over the client’s clothes.
Thai Massage is new to modern spas, but it is actually an ancient form of massage thought to have been developed by Buddhist monks in Thailand 2,500 years ago. It uses passive stretching and gentle pressure along the body’s energy lines to increase flexibility, relieve muscle and joint tension and balance the body’s energy systems. A unique blend of assisted yoga, passive stretching, and pressing massage movements, Thai massage is more energizing than other forms of massage. It’s a little bit like yoga without doing the work, as the therapist moves and stretches you in a sequence of postures, usually on a mat on the floor.This is why it is sometimes called “lazy man’s yoga”. Thai massage can be both relaxing and energizing, so it is a good choice if you want to be active after your massage.
The therapist uses a variety of different sequences of techniques on clients, who are either laying face up, laying face down, seated, or on their side.
Massage therapy is a treatment approach which is growing in demand and popularity. It was once considered an alternative or fringe approach, but it is now becoming much more mainstream. More importantly, now that massage therapy is considered a mainstream treatment option, many insurance companies provide coverage for treatment sessions. This form of therapy involves hands-on techniques to increase circulation, relieve tension, reduce stress, relieve anxiety, improve sleep, and promote relaxation throughout the entire body, as well as many other benefits.
The body’s soft tissue areas include the muscles, tendons, connective tissue, etc. If someone is tense and in need of a release, or they have been injured and have extensive muscle and/or nerve tissue damage that plagues their body, massage therapy might be worth exploring. Here are some benefits of massage therapy.
Benefifts of massage:
1. It Is Relaxing – When the body is tense and under stress, it produces unhealthy levels of the well-known stress hormone, cortisol, which can contribute to weight gain, sleeplessness, digestive problems, and headaches. Massage therapy has been shown to decrease cortisol levels in the body. This enables the body to enter a recovery mode. Moreover, this form of therapy also triggers lasting feelings of relaxation, improved mood, and reduced stress levels.
2. It Reduces Stress – Not only can massage therapy help with stress relief, but regular massage sessions over a prolonged period of time can boost energy levels, reduce pain, and stimulate individuals on physical as well as emotional levels.
3. It Can Help Lower Blood Pressure – Regular massage therapy sessions have been found to reduce blood pressure levels. In fact, some long-term studies have shown that a consistent massage program can reduce both systolic (upper number) and diastolic (lower number) blood pressure. Moreover, it can also reduce cortisol levels within the body. Furthermore, consistent massage sessions can also reduce trigger sources for anxiety, hostility, tension, and depression. In turn, lower blood pressure levels can also reduce
the risk of heart attack, stroke, and/or kidney failure, as well as many other health issues.
4. It Promotes Muscle Relaxation – The purpose of massage therapy is to target the source of the body’s pain via eliminating tense muscles, increasing flexibility, and providing relaxation to the affected muscles as well as the body as a whole. Massage also promotes circulation to the affected or injured muscles, which increases nutrients and oxygen to the damaged tissues. In turn, this increased activity to the affected sites
reduces stiffness and edema (swelling) in the muscles and joints, as well as increases flexibility to help reduce pain. Moreover, this form of therapy also releases endorphins (pain-killing hormones), which boost the dopamine and serotonin levels in the body. These hormones assist the body in many ways–physically as well as emotionally. Case in point, they promote healing, pain management, and feelings of euphoria, as well as help to calm the nerves.
5. It Can Help Improve Circulation – The long-term benefits of massage therapy are not to be underestimated. Improved circulation is part of a snowball effect that occurs in the body as a result of receiving regular therapy on a consistent basis. This is because proper circulation brings damaged, stiff, and tense muscles the rich blood supply they need to promote healing. Moreover, massage also promotes improved circulation via the use of hands-on pressure, which moves the blood through the damaged and congested areas of the body. In turn, the release of this same pressure causes new blood to flow into tissues. Furthermore, the squeezing, twisting, and pulling action of the massage technique also removes lactic acid from the muscle tissues. As a result, this action improves the lymph fluid circulation, which carries metabolic waste products away from internal organs and muscles. In turn, this results in lower blood pressure levels and improved overall body function.
6. It Can Help Improve Posture – Many Americans experience back, neck, and muscle pain from a variety of sources. However, the primary cause of this pain results from poor posture. In fact, chronic back pain, massage is the number one reason for missed work days and second most common cause of disability, is often the result of incorrect or poor posture while standing and/or sitting. Moreover, being overweight, poor posture, and repetitive or overuse movements can also contribute to the strain on the back and other
potential problem areas. As a result, the added strain often causes spasms, pain, and tense muscles in the hips, glutes, back, neck, and legs. Massage therapy can help get the body back into proper alignment. In fact, improving one’s posture can be one of the most beneficial and relaxing aspects of massage therapy. Massage allows the body to relax and loosen the muscles made tense and sore via bad posture. In turn, this allows the body to position itself in its organic and pain-free posture. As part of a consistent massage therapy program, the body’s muscles are loosened and relaxed. Moreover, the joints have greater freedom, flexibility, range of motion, and pressure points are relieved. As a result,
the body is able to position itself in an organic and healthy posture. In short, massage therapy helps to correct the positions and movements developed over time as a reaction to pain.
7. It Can Help Strengthen the Body’s Immune System – Regular massage sessions provide many benefits to the human body. It is a well-known fact that individuals who experience high levels of stress are more vulnerable to illness and injury. When stress is combined with sleep disturbances and poor nutrition, the impact is directed at the body’s immune system. Its ability to naturally protect itself against infections, pathogens, and bacteria is greatly reduced. Some might wonder how massage therapy benefits the immune system. Studies have indicated that regular massage sessions not only help reduce stress, but can also boost the immune system’s cytotoxic capacity (activity level of the body’s natural “killer cells”) and enhances the body’s ability to deliver nourishment. Moreover, massage therapy can be a great addition to any exercise program. Much like regular exercise can keep the body fine-tuned, regular massage therapy can help keep the immune system strong and resilient.
Once considered an alternative or fringe approach, massage therapy is now much more mainstream and growing in popularity. More importantly, now that massage therapy is considered a mainstream treatment option, many insurance companies provide coverage for treatment sessions. This form of therapy involves hands-on techniques to increase
circulation, relieve tension, reduce stress, relieve anxiety, improve sleep, and promote relaxation throughout the entire body, as well as many other benefits.