Did you ever wonder about the health benefits of massage, or did you think it was just a luxury item for self-indulgent rich folks with lots of time on their hands for pampering? There are several different types of massage and many ways that massage can help to increase your general well-being.
Some of the most commonly known types of massage are Swedish, Thai, Shiatsu (Japanese finger pressure) aromatherapy massage, and reflexology.
A quick definition of Massage types follows below:
- Swedish massage typically uses oil on bare skin and long sweeping, or circular, and rhythmical strokes that induce a sense of relaxation, peace, and calm.
- Thai massage may be done with the recipient either naked or clothed: the practitioner uses various stretching maneuvers along with deep finger pressure to reduce tension. It is usually performed on the floor and famously the practitioner walks along the back!
- Shiatsu is typically performed through clothing on a mat known as a futon on the floor. Deep pressure on acupuncture or acupressure points using thumbs, hands, elbows, and even feet may be used. Some stretching but generally less vigorous than Thai massage. Shiatsu works by balancing the distribution of energy throughout the body.
- Aromatherapy massage uses oils blended with essential plant oils whose properties are known to have medicinal qualities. The beneficial molecules get absorbed into the bloodstream via the skin and aid in healing.
- Reflexology is an ancient form of foot massage. Points on the feet relate to various parts of the body and are pressed and massaged to bring about healing in the related body part.
You probably know that massage is incredibly relaxing. If you are into natural highs, or just want to feel better overall, then massage is probably a good choice for you.
So, how does it work? You know that when you have a massage your body quickly softens into a deep state of relaxation. Massage works by relieving muscular tension, increasing blood flow to an area and promoting relaxation.
From a Traditional Chinese Medicine point of view, massage helps to alleviate stagnation in the flow of vital energy, or Qi, and improve the circulation of energy. When energy in the body is in flow, health ensues. When energy is stuck, disease is the result.
Various studies have found massage to be helpful in reducing symptoms in the following conditions:
- Back pain
- Sports injuries
The benefits of gentle caring touch should not be underestimated in and of themselves.
There are a few contra-indications for massage, which include deep vein thrombosis, cancer, blood disorders, open wounds, severe osteoporosis, and fractures. If in doubt, consult your physician before trying massage.
A good massage usually lasts about an hour but length of sessions can run from half an hour to up to two hours. A recommendation by word of mouth is usually the best way to find a great practitioner; however, you find them you should check out their credentials and make sure they are certified by a reputable school.
All in all then massage is much more than a superficial and luxurious way to pamper yourself. Massage can have far-reaching effects on your overall health and general well-being and can be a valuable tool in your self-care regime.
Regular sessions can increase your quality of life by enhancing your mood, reducing the tension you carry, and alleviating an array of physical symptoms.
If you can manage a session per week you will really notice an improvement in how you feel about yourself and your outlook on life will improve, as you feel more comfortable inside your own skin.