It’s a new year and you’ve made your resolutions. Maybe you want to start a new program at the gym or you want to get to the gym on a regular basis. We all start working really hard to make changes at the beginning of the year, but do we make the changes that really make us feel good and help our body heal? How about a regular massage?!
Massage has so many benefits whether it’s in a chair for you back and neck or full body on a table. A monthly massage can help you manage sore muscles and is a great way to relieve stress. But the biggest benefit; it FEELS GREAT! Yes, the therapist may have to work through some of your kinks and knots, but the end result is the best!
There are many choices of the type of massage and of course the therapist that works for you. Ask your friendly Fitness Trainer for recommendations on therapists in your area. Or, more than likely someone you know has already made the discovery and has a regular person that they see. Ask around to get your friends opinions, but don’t wait! And, for a little more on WHY you should get a massage, check out these tips below.
The Benefits Of Massage (Massagetherapy.com)
What exactly are the benefits of receiving massage or bodywork treatments? Useful for all of the conditions listed below and more, massage can:
· Alleviate low-back pain and improve range of motion.
· Assist with shorter, easier labor for expectant mothers and shorten maternity hospital stays.
· Ease medication dependence.
· Enhance immunity by stimulating lymph flow—the body's natural defense system.
· Exercise and stretch weak, tight, or atrophied muscles.
· Help athletes of any level prepare for, and recover from, strenuous workouts.
· Improve the condition of the body's largest organ—the skin.
· Increase joint flexibility.
· Lessen depression and anxiety.
· Promote tissue regeneration, reducing scar tissue and stretch marks.
· Pump oxygen and nutrients into tissues and vital organs, improving circulation.
· Reduce postsurgery adhesions and swelling.
· Reduce spasms and cramping.
· Relax and soften injured, tired, and overused muscles.
· Release endorphins—amino acids that work as the body's natural painkiller.
· Relieve migraine pain.
Experts estimate that upwards of ninety percent of disease is stress related. And perhaps nothing ages us faster, internally and externally, than high stress. While eliminating anxiety and pressure altogether in this fast-paced world may be idealistic, massage can, without a doubt, help manage stress. This translates into:
· Decreased anxiety.
· Enhanced sleep quality.
· Greater energy.
· Improved concentration.
· Increased circulation.
· Reduced fatigue.
Which Massage Styles Are Best? (WebMD)
Before you can decide which massage style is best for you, you need to ask yourself a question. Do you simply want a massage for relaxation and stress control? Or do you need symptom relief or help with a certain health condition? Before booking a massage, let the therapist know what you're looking for and ask which style the therapist uses. Many use more than one style. Or the therapist may customize your massage, depending on your age, condition, or any special needs or goals you have.
Here are a few of the more common styles…
The most common type of massage is Swedish massage therapy. It involves soft, long, kneading strokes, as well as light, rhythmic, tapping strokes, on topmost layers of muscles. This is also combined with movement of the joints. By relieving muscle tension, Swedish therapy can be both relaxing and energizing. And it may even help after an injury.
Neuromuscular Therapy Massage
Neuromuscular therapy is a form of soft tissue manipulation that aims to treat underlying causes of chronic pain involving the muscular and nervous systems. This medically-oriented form of massage addresses trigger points (tender muscles points), circulation, nerve compression, postural issues, and biomechanical problems that can be caused by repetitive movement injuries.
Deep Tissue Massage
Deep tissue massage is best for giving attention to certain painful, stiff "trouble spots" in your body. The massage therapist uses slow, deliberate strokes that focus pressure on layers of muscles, tendons, or other tissues deep under your skin. Though less rhythmic than other types of massage, deep tissue massage can be quite therapeutic -- relieving chronic patterns of tension and helping with muscle injuries, such as back sprain.
Developed to help with muscle systems used for a particular sport, sports massage uses a variety of approaches to help athletes in training -- before, during, or after sports events. You might use it to promote flexibility and help prevent injuries. Or, it may help muscle strains, aiding healing after a sports injury.
Ever gone to a county fair, music festival, or conference and envied other people getting chair massages? Passed by the chair massage section in an airport? Or, maybe you're lucky enough to work at a company that offers 15- to 20-minute massages as a regular benefit. Onsite, chair massages are done while you're seated fully clothed in a portable, specially designed chair. They usually involve a massage of your neck, shoulders, back, arms, and hands.
What you can expect during a massage (from Mayoclinic.com)
You don't need any special preparation for massage. Before a massage therapy session starts, your massage therapist should ask you about any symptoms, your medical history and what you're hoping to get out of massage. Your massage therapist should explain the kind of massage and techniques he or she will use.
In a typical massage therapy session, you undress or wear loosefitting clothing. Undress only to the point that you're comfortable. You generally lie on a table and cover yourself with a sheet. You can also have a massage while sitting in a chair, fully clothed. Your massage therapist should perform an evaluation through touch to locate painful or tense areas and to determine how much pressure to apply.
Depending on preference, your massage therapist may use oil or lotion to reduce friction on your skin. Tell your massage therapist if you might be allergic to any ingredients.
A massage session may last from 15 to 90 minutes, depending on the type of massage and how much time you have. No matter what kind of massage you choose, you should feel calm and relaxed during and after your massage.
If a massage therapist is pushing too hard, ask for lighter pressure. Occasionally you may have a sensitive spot in a muscle that feels like a knot. It's likely to be uncomfortable while your massage therapist works it out. But if it becomes painful, speak up.
Massage can be a powerful tool to help you take charge of your health and well-being, whether you have a specific health condition or are just looking to relieve stress. Take the time to treat yourself and SPRING into this season, feeling GREAT!
Are you in the Windsor County Area? Check out these two massage therapists!
- Deb Shearer Massage Therapy LLC in Brownsville,VT (802-384-2129)
- Green Day Spa in Windsor, VT (802-674-9870)
Wendy Hildebrand, Corporate Wellness Director