After a hard work-out or a hard day sitting in the office desk chair, people often exclaim, “Oh, I need a massage!” Massage therapy can work wonders for our physical health and mental outlook. Most people are unaware of massage’s wealth of techniques and healing benefits. A good massage can help relieve stress, anxiety, depression, and may even help you sleep.
What IS Massage Therapy?
Massage therapy is a manipulative complementary therapy using an assortment of techniques to manipulate the soft tissues of the body through pressure and movement. Massage offers many benefits, from relieving sore and over-worked muscles to increasing oxygen flow throughout the body to facilitate healing. Touch is another important factor in the benefits of massage. Touch is considered an important part of overall health and well-being, and the caring touch of a massage therapist is thought to help the healing process by creating a sense of emotional security. While massage therapy is not considered a cure, it can be an element in the healing process when a person is recovering from an injury or illness. Massage therapy can help people release the emotional tension associated with anxiety and depression. It’s also a great way to just relax and relieve stress, which will improve the quality of life and perhaps prevent disease and discomfort from becoming an issue.
Types of Massage
Most people are unaware of just how many different types of massage there are.
This is the most basic type of massage. Relaxation massage improves circulation and provides for general relaxation through the use of smooth, flowing handwork. This can help improve mood and release tension in times of great stress.
This massage style is a combination of the therapeutic technique Aromatherapy with relaxation massage, further aiding the massage’s ability to induce relaxation, calm, and emotional well being.
Massage in the Workplace
As companies have realized that their employees’ emotional health affects the quality of their work, massage in the workplace has become a trend as companies seek to increase productivity. Stress, anxiety, and depression cost American corporations millions of dollars a year in lost man-hours. Many companies now have massage therapists on-site to provide relief and energy for their employees during the workday.
Reiki is an energy-based therapeutic system involving multiple techniques. The term Reiki means “universal life-force energy,” and Reiki-style massage involves resting the hands on the body in a certain pattern without applying pressure. It is believed that the energy of the healer helps create a sense of relaxation and well-being.
Rolfing seeks to align the segments of the body by manipulating the fascia and connective tissue. Fascia is a thin layer or band of fibrous connective tissue enveloping, separating, or binding together muscles and organs within the body.
Deep Tissue Massage
Deep tissue massage helps to relieve chronic muscle tension through the use of slow strokes that provide more direct pressure and are applied across the grain of the muscles. This style of massage is more intense than a basic relaxation massage.
A quick and easy way to find relief through massage is to perform a self-massage. Warm some body oil and rub it into your palms. Starting with the top of your head, massage the oil into the scalp. Move down across the face, arms, legs, and abdomen using the palms. Make sure to pay attention to the soles of the feet. After you’ve finished, take a hot shower or bath to rinse the oil and enhance the relaxation of the massage. If you can’t fit in a trip to the massage therapist, this is a great way to get some of the benefits of massage.
What Can Massage Help With?
Massage provides a wealth of benefits, both physically and emotionally, and research supports the use of massage for relief from stress and anxiety. Few know that massage can be useful for alleviating symptoms related to depression as well. Touch is an integral part of the healing process, especially when dealing with emotional disturbances, and massage is one way to provide touch.
Massage for Stress
Studies show that massage can help manage the physical symptoms of stress by lowering blood pressure, alleviating muscle tension, reducing pain, and promoting deep breathing. Emotionally, massage also promotes relaxation and a calm sense of peace, creates a general feeling of well-being, and increases sensitivity to the state of the body. This makes it easier to determine when to engage in de-stressing activities in the future.
Massage for Anxiety
Massage provides a great way to take the mind off worries and problem situations. Getting a massage has been shown to reduce anxiety as well as strengthen the immune system, which can be a concern for those suffering with long-term, chronic anxiety.
Massage for Depression
Studies are beginning to demonstrate the healing effects of massage on cases of depression. It is believed that massage may promote detoxification as well as stimulate the production of hormones and neurochemicals that can help regulate mood. The other benefit of massage for depression is the aspect of touch. Caring touch is vital for emotional balance, and massage is a way that those dealing with depression can find a healing touch and increase the quality of life to feel better.