If you inquire of a regular massage goer as to whether massage therapy is a luxury, they will most like respond with “No way!”.
However, there are an unfortunate amount of people that believe that receiving a massage begins and ends with “feeling good”.
The health benefits of massage therapy far exceed what many people think.
This type of therapy has a direct affect on the psychological and physiological aspects of a person’s being.
I want to tell you a little about why I believe that receiving regular massages is liable to lead to far more good than the immediate gratification of relief of muscle soreness and fatigue.
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The Not-So-Obvious Physical Aspect
So, we are already well aware that after a long day at the office, or a vigorous physical exercise routine, a massage FEELS great…pretty much immediately.
I’d like to suggest that there are several other things happening physically during a session that you might not even notice- at first, that is.
First, there is the improvement of the functioning of the lymphatic system. Very important to the body’s overall health and immune support.
Lymphatic fluid moves throughout the body to eliminate invading microorganisms and damaged cells, and molecules that are too toxic to return to the blood stream (yuckie stuff, basically).
With regular massage, the lymphatic fluid is assisted in moving freely throughout the body.
Next, and similar the positive effect of massage on the lymph system- massage is a great asset to the cardiovascular system.
The regular massage goer experiences-even if unknowingly- a much improved delivery of oxygen and nutrients to cells because of increased blood flow.
Massage also has the potential to increase metabolism. Who in the world wouldn’t want to shed a few pounds without hopping on the treadmill?
A good massage therapist will integrate different effective techniques throughout the massage to warm up the tissue beneath the skin, and when everything warms up and starts moving fluidly and freely, we achieve what is called passive movement. (This means that you just lie there while the therapist moves your muscles, and in turn your metabolism speeds up. I know, right?!)
And of course…pain management. Relief from muscle cramps and spasms, tension headaches, sciatica (deep hip pain), arthritis, fatigue, plantar fasciatis (bottom of the foot pain), and much more.
I’ve saved what might be the best for last. A natural high. Yep. Massage has been found to increase serotonin, dopamine, and endorphin levels.
These neurochemicals NATURALLY elevate your body’s pain control and mood.
I used to find it very interesting that my clients seemed to share their most intimate secrets with me.
I thought maybe I was just that cool…but upon researching the subject a little more, I came to the conclusion that, when a person has reached a certain level of relaxation, both anxiety and inhibitions seem to, in a sense, melt away.
I loved having such great, close relationships with my clients.
It also occurred to me that there were several clients who, as the tension in their bodies released, they would also release the psychological tension that they were holding onto.
Emotions and feelings that are being held hostage- along with shoulders that are hunched up by the ears-are suddenly free to escape.
There is really something to a psychological release during massage.
I’m certainly not implying that everyone has to let their therapist in on their personal goings-on, but don’t be surprised if you leave the session feeling like the weight of the world has been lifted from your shoulders.
It’s a very uplifting experience.
Aside from the lightening of a heavy mental load (which for me is enough in itself), massage has been found to improve the self-image of the client in some cases.
We therapists are pretty un-judgy, and we have most assuredly seen it all- in terms of body type.
I always found a sense of joy in encouraging clients to simply relax and enjoy the massage, and trying to shift the focus to something entirely different than body image.
The massage room, in my opinion, should be a completely safe place, where one can go to achieve maximum relaxation and escape from the woes of everyday life.
When a client is comfortable to relax and completely be themselves, there follows a healthy dose of positive self-image.
This might be the very first place that a client has begun to feel fully comfortable with their body, and that is the beginning of something wonderful.
What’s There To Lose?
Receiving regular massages is, at times, the first step that is taken in chasing after a healthy lifestyle, and with the heightened sense of self-awareness that follows, great things are to come.
Of course, relaxation is usually the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of massage, but I hope to have highlighted just a few of the many other crucial benefits that come with it.
I am not a medical professional, but in my career as a massage therapist I have witnessed the physiological and psychological shifts that have occurred within some of my clients, and I am a whole-hearted believer in the positive outcome.
When you find a great therapist, you will likely leave feeling relaxed, soothed, heard, relieved of muscle pain, and pretty darn good about yourself, so there is really nothing to lose!
Thanks for stopping by, ya’ll!!
As always, have a blessed and beautiful day, and please feel free to leave any questions or comments below, or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org