Massage Therapy And Why You Will Love It
Massage therapy is an ancient tradition that stretches over almost every culture.
It has so many healing properties, both for the body and the mind.
Here are some of the top reasons why your body will love a massage.
Top Ways Massage Therapy Helps Your Body
- Relieve or diminish pain (including chronic pain). By releasing muscles that might be in spasm, massage therapy can help reduce referred pain to other parts of the body. For example, the piriformis muscle in your glute region maybe tight, which restricts the sciatic nerve, which can then have referred pain to your lower back and down your legs.
- Rehabilitate sporting or other injuries. Sometimes, when training, we can sprain an ankle or over stretch or tear a muscle. A sports massage can help with muscle warm up before an event, or can help remove lactic acid from muscles post event. It can also help with injuries such as shin splint and tennis elbow.
Massage Therapy And Muscles
- Massage can also help loosen tight muscles and knots. By using techniques such as trigger point release, friction and tapotement, massage is able to release those muscles that are tight and stiff.
- It can increase flexibility and and also the range of movement of the body. A qualified massage therapist will often do range of movement tests at the beginning of any therapeutic massage therapy to see just how flexible the clients body is, and any restrictions that muscular spasms can cause.
- Lower blood pressure and heart rate. One university study showed that blood pressure was reduced in pre hytpertension women who received Swedish massage compared to those in a control group. The study suggested that regular massage maybe a cost effective treatment for hypertension and high
- Stimulate the release of chemicals in the body, including hormones that regulate mood. Most of the pioneering research done in the area of how massage can help with depression and anxiety has been done by Tiffany Field at the University Of Miami School Of Medicine. She has undertaken numerous studies that suggest massage can help reduce hormones linked to stress and increase those that help the brain feel more positive.
- Release nerve compression, including pinched nerves. Nerve entrapment, or the more common term a “pinched nerve” can be alleviated by massage therapy. Massage therapy has also been shown to help nerve entrapment such as carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Massage can also help mend scar tissue, as long as its done early enough and after the scab has healed.
- A study also suggests that massage may help the body’s immune and endocrine systems.
Massage Therapy And Mental Health
In addition, there are countless benefits that massage therapy can have on your mental health, which include:
- Reduced stress
- Increased relaxation and calmness
- Massage has been shown to potentially reduce anxiety (a single session can reduce “state anxiety” whereas multiple sessions can reduce “trait anxiety”)
- Improved sleep patterns
- Aiding in general wellness and enhanced mood
There also appears to be very few risks associated with using massage therapy for healing.
The techniques used benefit the musculoskeletal, circulatory-lymphatic and nervous systems, as well as other bodily functions and of course mental health as well.
How Is Massage Therapy Done?
If you’re new to massage, its fundamental medium is touch. How that touch is applied varies of course from country to country and from therapist to therapist.
In Australia we are rather conventional – we say this because there are corners of the globe where meat cleavers, live pythons, slugs and cloth that is set on fire on your body all form part of the practice of massage therapy.
In Australia we dispense with the meat cleavers, the wildlife and the pyromania. Phew!
In Australia, massage therapists typically use their hands, fingers and forearms, but there are also other ways that the muscles and other body tissues can be manipulated.
Massages are – typically – full-body massages.
During the hour or two of your massage treatment your Ripple therapist will massage your whole body but can, of course, focus on any area in particular that you feel needs attention. The neck and shoulders being the most requested areas of focus given how many ‘hold their stress’ there.
During a massage, you will lay on a massage table either in loose clothing or undressed.
However, towels will always cover the areas not being massaged.
To reduce friction on the skin, oils or lotions are used so the therapists hands can easily glide over your body and deliver a relaxing and effective treatment.
Which Style Of Massage?
Massage therapy is one of the oldest health care practices in the history of our planet. Over the millennia massage has taken many forms and more than eighty different styles of massage have developed in the last thirty years alone.
Swedish massage was not invented by a Swedish fencing master called Per Henrick Ling.
Not wanting his fencing performance to be affected, he began to study anatomical and physiological principles in order to develop a systematic method of massage that could help relieve his rheumatism. The rest as they so often say – is history.
Swedish massage is based on five key strokes and is great for soothing muscles and boosting circulation. It also stretches ligaments and stimulates the skin. As its name implies, the purpose of this massage is to relax the body, both physically and mentally.
Deep tissue massage on the other hand originates from Russia where it has been in use for over a century.
This style uses very slow strokes and firm pressure to make contact with deeper layers of muscle and fascia (the connective tissue around your muscles).
The philosophy behind deep tissue massage is that the body can learn to relax, heal and repair itself when massaged. This method is ideal when used to address issues such as chronic aches and pain and is very effective to relieve problems with stiff necks and upper backs, lower back pain, muscle tightness in the legs and painful shoulders.
There are more tips here on how to choose the perfect massage therapy style for you.