The purpose of this article is to review some of the basics of massage therapy. Massage therapy has so many health benefits that I’ll only be able to touch on a few of the high points here. Massage benefits will be covered in more detail in future articles and newsletters.
My goal as an LMT is to help you improve your back pain, neck pain, headaches, stress or anxiety through massage treatments. Many of my clients report significant improvements with being frequent clinical massage therapy clients. People say that the physical benefits include pain reduction, a range of motion improvement, tension and soreness release. Mental and emotional benefits almost always include deep relaxation, sense of renewal and feeling of more centered and balanced.
You too can enjoy lifelong health benefits delivered through regular use of this wonderful manual therapy modality. So prepare to relax, enjoy and experience the life-changing results delivered by massage therapy.
Keep this in mind: Share your goals with the massage therapist at the beginning of each visit. Let us know if there is anything special going on, any extra soreness, pain, discomfort or tender spots, so we can take better care of you. This strategy will help you get the most out of each massage session.
Also, if you have any questions regarding massage therapy, a particular physical condition, anything at all—just ask. I’m here to help you. I look forward to seeing you at the office and help you experience all the benefits that massage therapy has to offer.
MASSAGE THERAPY: THE TIMELESS WONDER
Typically motivation to get a massage is triggered by some type of stressful event, pain or celebration. We intuitively know that the wonderful benefits of massage therapy go deeper and offer us far more than we might have ever suspected. Receiving regular massage therapy sessions can greatly benefit your overall health and well-being for the rest of your life. Read on to learn some of the wonderful health properties available to you through massage therapy.
The more you learn about massage therapy, the more you’ll be able to trust the modality, more often you’ll get a massage, better you will feel and the more benefits you’ll get from each of your sessions.
This overview touches on some of the basic massage therapy benefits available to you.
- alleviates stress
- relieves tight or sore muscles
- improves circulation
- aids digestion
- aids detoxification
- improves range of motion
and much more …
The most obvious benefit shared by virtually everyone who gets massages is that a full body massage makes you feel great! After a great session you feel lighter, looser, energized, you’re mood improves, and generally you sleep like a baby that night.
The stress relieving and body/mind soothing results are enough for many of us to include massage therapy as a part of our regular routine.
But what about the less obvious, yet long-lasting benefits?
And, why does it feel so good to be touched and getting massages?
The sense of touch is the first sense we develop. As children, we discover the world through touch. We learn and remember things through the sensations we experience while we touch those things. Do you remember the handles of your first bascule? How about how the steering wheel of your first car felt? Or, When was the last time you burnt your hand by touching something really hot?
Initially, when we meet someone new we get to know him or her through touch also. Handshakes, hugs, and kisses are all form of touching. The way babies touch their mama’s face, the touch-n-learn method.
Or the way your work chair touches you for eight hours and gives you hell eventually. Contrary to that would be, your back touching your comfortable bed all night. I bet you don’t want to get off the bed in the morning, the wonderful touch of your comfy, warm bed probably feels so great.
The Timeless Wonders of Touch…
It’s not that surprising actually when you consider the fact that the average square inch of your skin holds over 1000 nerve endings and 200 pain receptors. This is why you fee so good during a massage therapy session. When the nerve endings in your skin get massaged, they get stimulated and activated. That creates more blood flow in the area that relaxes the soft tissues, the pain receptors. The combination of these processes create the sensations of an amazing feeling of wellbeing. Compliments of massage therapy.
Massage therapy helps to relax the nerve endings and the nervous system. Then the relaxed nervous system, the brain relaxes the whole body. That increases stimulation and all of the bodily systems and their nourishment. This is why massage therapy is so effective with stress regulation and pain management.
With so many touch receptors in your skin transmitting messages on to your brain, your body’s initial response to massage therapy is to relax and de-stimulate. Even a simple touch has been shown to lower blood pressure and reduce the heart rate. Nurturing, trained, professional touch can also signal the brain to produce endorphins, your body’s natural pain suppressors.
Going deeper, massage can help to improve and restore agility, and strength in your muscles. It can help to improve overall mobility and musculoskeletal function. It’s the ideal treatment for releasing tension or muscles spasms and helps to release the build up lactic acid, produced by muscle tissue during exercise.
Proper circulation is vital cardiovascular health, for your health and general detox. Your blood and lymph carry nourishment to the trillions of cells throughout your body and then carry away the waste to be eliminated from your cells. Massage enhances the exchange of nutrients at the cellular level and improves the detoxification process.
Keep in mind; your future health depends on how well your cells populations regenerate themselves. Proper rate of circulation plays a major role in this. So cardio exercises followed by a massage therapy session is indeed a critical part of generating healthy.
The nervous system is your communication network, sending messages constantly that determine proper functioning throughout your body. Stress can affect the ability of the nervous system to do its job. The many nerve endings found in the skin and muscles are soothed by a massage, and this contributes to keeping your internal lines of communication open and operational.
Massage also aids in maintaining flexibility in your joints, in your knees, hips, spine, shoulders, and neck. These joints are structural junctions for nerves, veins, and arteries, so their freedom of movement allows energy and blood to flow unimpeded.
So, you can see massage does quite a bit more than just relax you and work out the kinks in a sore back. Since massage has been practiced for thousands of years and is one of the earliest known health treatments known to man, why don’t you hear more about it in today’s society?
In fact, massage today is rapidly growing in popularity and reputation. Besides being misunderstood, massage has had to overcome the reluctance many people have regarding physical contact. Of course, once they experience a therapeutic massage for themselves, most people are hooked.
A Life magazine article explored some of the research regarding the benefits of massage. Undertaken by the Touch Research Institute in Miami, ongoing studies are showing amazing results, as the following quotes indicate: “… More than 50 TRI studies have shown massage to have positive effects on conditions from colic to hyperactivity to diabetes to migraines—in fact, on every malady TRI has studied thus far. Massage, it seems, helps asthmatics breathe easier, boosts immune function in HIV-positive patients, improves autistic children’s ability to concentrate, lowers anxiety in depressed adolescents …
“… Massage can increase the lymph flow rate. It enhances immune function and lowers levels of (two) stress hormones … Field (the director of TRI) worries that Americans aren’t getting enough touch … At the TRI preschool, teachers encourage ‘positive touch.’ They dole out unlimited hugs, backrubs, and shoulder pats … Most of the 40 children, from six months to five years in age, get a daily 15-minute rubdown, which leaves them according to TRI research, more alert, more responsive, able to sleep more deeply …”
As you can see, massage offers more benefits than you may have imagined. Isn’t it good to know that something that feels so great can contribute to your long-term health as well? Let’s work together to help you get the most from your massages—see you at your next appointment!
P.S. Did you know?
The word massage comes from the French word that means “kneading,” derived from the Latin word massa, meaning “kneaded dough”
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