Once thought to be the domain of rich housewives and NFL athletes, massage has become a standard treatment in the alleviation of many medical issues and physical manifestations of stress.
Massage therapy is, at its core, a method of manipulating muscles, tendons, ligaments and skin. Massage therapists typically use their fingers and palms in the treatment, but often use other areas like elbows and forearms (or even implements like rollers or hot stones) as appropriate for the desired effect.
There are several different “modalities,” or types, of massage. The most common is Swedish massage, which focuses on five different types of movement — long strokes, kneading, deep circular movement, vibration and tapping — to relax and invigorate you. Swedish massage is the perfect option for first-time massage recipients.
The other most popular form is deep tissue massage, which targets specific layers and areas of muscle and tissue to work out knots and other types of muscle damage. It utilizes deeper, less rapid strokes; contrary to popular belief, deep tissue massage should not leave you feeling extremely sore the next day.
The benefits of all forms of massage, proven by numerous studies and clinical trials, include…
- relief from stress, headaches and body pain;
- decreased stiffness and increased muscle and joint flexibility and range of motion;
- increased circulation and tissue regeneration;
- improved posture;
- blood pressure control;
- decreased time required to recover from physical exertion or injuries;
- lowered dependence on medication;
- and higher immunity due to increased cytotoxic capacity (the ability of your body’s cells to handle and eliminate toxic agents).
Stress relief can be quantified by decreased levels of cortisol and insulin following massage, as well as a significantly lower heart rate. In addition, recent studies have determined that a massage appointment will increase serotonin, oxytocin and white blood cells, which are critical for everyone’s well-being.
More intangible results include…
- enhanced digestion and sleep quality;
- reduced fatigue;
- feelings of comfort and connectedness;
- and decreased levels of depression and anxiety in many individuals.
Many find that their body goes into a “recovery” mode after a massage session, resulting in long-term wellbeing, and they find they are able to breathe more deeply.
While a single massage can produce immediate rewards, a regular treatment schedule can result in a “snowball” effect in which these benefits are amplified and more quickly achieved.
Would you like to experience these benefits yourself? Book an appointment today!