People tend to view massage as a relaxation technique. Not everybody realizes that it offers so many more benefits to the health, with relaxation being very much a part of the list.
In what other ways does massage contribute to your well-being?
General Health Benefits of Massage
Many people choose to get a massage with the following goals in mind:
- To physically relax.
- To relieve knots (tight muscles) and other sources of pain and discomfort.
- To improve circulation for the purpose of nourishing cells and improving waste elimination.
- To loosen nerve compression, as in cases of carpal tunnel and sciatica.
- To increase flexibility as well as range of motion.
- To boost energy and vitality.
- To help heal scar tissue and tears in muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
Conditions Massage Therapy Helps
Considering all the benefits listed above, massage has been acknowledged to help in the treatment of certain conditions. Two of the results of muscle relaxation are pain relief and increased function. Quite a number of ailments can already be helped just by this range of benefits. What are some of these?
- Tension headaches
- Pregnancy pains and discomfort
Massage is also known to improve circulation, which translates to improved oxygen and nutrients delivery as well as easier waste elimination. This also has a role in the treatment of inflammatory conditions. This particular benefit helps manage symptoms and complications of the following health issues:
Relaxation in general lowers blood pressure, respiratory rate, and heart rate. It also strengthens the immune system and lowers the negative effects of stress. For this reason, massage is also recommended to those who suffer from the following:
- Anger and aggression
- Sleep disorder
Common Types of Massage
Natural massage techniques come in a wide variety. Some of the most popular kinds of massage are the following:
This massage focuses on relieving issues caused by imbalances in the body’s natural energy flow. This involves pressure from the thumb, fingers, and palm to increase the flow of energy. It’s usually helpful to people with back, shoulder, and neck pain.
This massage involves long, sweeping strokes that increase the flow of oxygen to the muscles, release toxins, boost circulation, and improve flexibility. It is helpful to those suffering from fibromyalgia, PMS, menopausal symptoms, stress, and tension headaches.
Many massage styles use oil on the skin, requiring the divestment of clothing, but Thai massage may be administered while the recipient is clothed. This massage is great at decreasing muscle tension, as well as relieving pain and anxiety, making this particularly helpful to those with back pain, stress, anxiety, or depression.
4. Myofascial Release
This technique requires use of the Fascial Abrasion Technique Tool. This is a contoured instrument used to pinpoint and massage areas with fascial restriction. Varying strokes and degrees of pressure are applied to target layers of muscle and tissue with the purpose of pain and stiffness reduction as well as increase in movement and flexibility. This is great for conditions like osteoarthritis.
The focus here is on specific muscle groups that are repetitively used in playing sports or working out. There is typically stronger pressure in this massage, often integrating myofascial release to stretch connective tissue. This particularly helps get rid of stiffness brought on by delayed onset muscle soreness.
Although there is no evidence that it may be harmful to the baby, pregnancy massage is usually not offered in the first trimester. Massage in pregnancy may also be referred to as prenatal or maternity massage. Understandably, pressure here is much gentler. It helps with blood circulation to reduce swelling, pains, and the uncomfortable tingling or numbing sensation that many pregnant women experience in their hands.
Boosting Health Through Massage
Massage is safe for most people, so unless you have a very specific condition that rules it out for you, you can choose to enjoy its relaxing and health-boosting properties.
Marc Innes is the Owner and Principal of the School of Natural Therapies, a training school for Massage & Holistic Therapies located in London. Marc began his career in the NHS, working in a number of managerial and training roles within the Ambulance Service in London. He spent much of that time educating and coaching medical staff. Over time, he developed an interest in all things complementary to Allopathic Medicine, in particular, Reiki Healing and EFT, which culminated in running a successful teaching and ‘energy healing’ practice. Marc is passionate about the massage and complementary therapy industry.