What is a massage? It is the practice of rubbing the body using hands applying gentle and strong pressure to ease the joints and muscles. The focus is on healing of different parts of the body.
There are different types of massage:
- If you want a gentle type of full-body massage that can make you feel fully relaxed and help release muscle knots, go for Swedish massage.
- Hot stone massage is a massage with heated stones that may relieve more muscle tension than a Swedish massage.
- Aromatherapy massage involves soft and gentle pressure using essential oils to boost your mood, reduce stress, anxiety and depression and relieve muscle tension and pain.
- Deep tissue massage is not popular with those who are overly sensitive to pressure. However, it is a good option for those who suffer a lot of muscle tension and chronic pain.
- One can have sports massage to increase flexibility and performance and reduce risk for injury. It is quite popular among those people who have an injury from repetitive muscle use.
- Trigger point massage is best suited for people who have injuries, chronic pain or a specific issue or condition.
- Reflexology massage focuses on pressure points in feet, hands and ears. It is the best option for those who are looking to relax and restore their natural energy levels.
- The Japanese type of massage is known as Shiatsu massage. This massage promotes emotional and physical calm and relaxation. It reduces muscle tension, stress, anxiety and depression. Shiatsu massage can relieve headache also.
- Thai massage helps improve flexibility, circulation and energy levels. It is a more active form of massage for those who want to reduce and relieve pain and stress. In this type of massage, besides giving firm pressure, the therapist will stretch and twist your body parts in to various positions.
- Prenatal massage uses mild pressure and it is meant for pregnant women. This massage can help reduce pregnancy body aches, reduce stress and ease muscle tension.
Massage offers a number of health benefits:
Reduces stress and anxiety: Massage helps reduce pain, tension and anxiety by improving cardiovascular responses.
Relieves muscle tension: Massage helps increase blood flow to the affected area. It helps reduce muscle spasms and increase flexibility.
Promotes sleep: A good massage helps you enjoy more restorative sleep. It is a good alternative to sleeping pills in adults with insomnia. Back massage helps especially to promote relaxation and sound sleep.
Improves blood circulation and lymphatic circulation: Regular massage helps flush lactic acid from the muscles and improve the circulation of the lymph fluid which carries metabolic waste away from muscles and internal organs. It results in lower blood pressure and improved body function.
Calms nervous system: Massage helps relax muscles and re-establish proper tonus through its effect on the neuromuscular reflex pathways. It stimulates the central nervous and autonomic nervous system helping regain balance between the two systems and thus calms nervous system.
Boosts immunity: Regular massage may give your immune system a boost. It helps in regulating blood pressure and water retention. The level of cortisol, a stress hormone and vasopressin, a hormone that plays a role in aggressive behaviour, can be reduced by getting a regular massage. This massage helps boost the immune system.
Helps in pain management condition like arthritis and sciatica: Massage techniques are definitely to promote pain relief, stress reduction and improved movement. Therapeutic massage improves joint pain, lower-back pain and joint inflammation and also stimulates release of endorphins.
Helps in reducing weight and toning the body: A regular good full-body massage helps you to lose weight by helping your heart pump blood faster. It will bring more blood to your tissues and help get rid of all the waste materials of metabolism. Weight-loss massage helps in toning your body muscles.
Today, massage is becoming a popular complementary therapy for many conditions. All massages generally fall under the alternative medicine umbrella. You can experiment with different types of massage therapies to find the type that is most ideal for you. One of the most important things to be kept in mind before starting a massage session is to select the therapist wisely. A massage therapist should be properly trained. His certificates and state licenses should be up-to-date. Have a brief conversation with you therapist before beginning your session so that you could know about his knowledge and skill. While getting a massage, you should feel completely relaxed. To achieve that you have to be very comfortable with your therapist. Ask relevant questions to know him/her and build a comfort level between both of you.
How often you should get a massage depends on several factors including, physical needs, emotional needs and stress levels. To get the most health benefits, you should get massage regularly. Once every week or two is ideal for keeping your muscle tissue pliable and in good shape. Once a month is recommended minimum for maintaining the health of your tissues.
Massage is an expensive affair. Listen to your body and do not wait too long in an effort to save money.