Monday, December 11, 2023

Massages – Myth or Must?

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Scented candles…. Mellow music…. Aromatherapy oil.

A massage is more than just 90 minutes of relaxing. As massage therapist rubs, presses and kneads your skin and soft issues of your body, the pressure, movement, intensity and frequency sends a whole lot of messages to your body and brain.

With ageing comes slowing down, stiffness, aches, pains and ailments. Staying physically active is one way to keep your body supple but getting massages often is another way to help your ageing body.  As an added bonus, massages have numerous health benefits too.

Massages are three-purpose fold —

– For medical purposes

-To treat injuries

-To relax and pamper yourself.

There are no standard guidelines for the number of massages per week or the time frame for a massage,  it really varies from person to person and massage to massage. Based on your needs the massage therapist can recommend what is best for you.

Types of massages —

There are different types of massages available world over. Each type of massage is tailored to suit different people’s different needs. To name a few-

  • Swedish massage employs long, flowing strokes for relaxation and tension relief.
  • Deep tissue massages target deeper muscle layers to alleviate chronic pain.
  • Sports massages focus on athletes, enhancing their performance and preventing injuries.
  • Lymphatic drainage massages promote lymph flow and reduce swelling, particularly post-surgery.
  • Ayurveda Kerali Massage a two therapists massage, where the body is divided into left side and right side and the therapists synchronise their strokes in perfect harmony.

Each type of massage offers unique benefits catering to specific wellness goals.

Benefits of massages —

Massages alleviate headaches –

Regular massages have been medically proven to alleviate tension-type headaches and migraines by reducing their frequency and severity. Research indicates that even a single massage session can give you instant relief from chronic tension headaches, emphasising the potential benefits for headache sufferers. Next time you feel a headache coming on, try getting  a last-minute massage.

Massages soothe, re-energise and relax the body –

Swedish or hot stone massages provide effective pressure and heat to ease muscle tension and can aid in relaxation after a stressful week. These massages can also boost your energy levels and alertness. By relaxing your nervous system, massages alleviate pain, balance your hormones and positively impact your bodily functions, contributing to your overall well-being.

Massages reduce pain –

Regular massages effectively make joint pain disappear by promoting the release of endorphins which are often considered to be natural painkillers. Massages are particularly beneficial for chronic conditions like fibromyalgia and arthritis which can reduce your need to pop pain killers. Massages also have effective short-term relief and potential long-term benefits in relieving you of pain.

Massages help reduce stress, anxiety and better your mood –

Massage therapy is a powerful remedy for anxiety. It reduces the production of stress hormones. Massages benefit so many people who are affected by anxiety and chronic stress. Massages are known to promote relaxation and activate the body’s stress-relief response. Human touch, in this context of massages can be incredibly therapeutic and relaxing.  The good news is that massages can cut your body’s level of stress hormones in half, which will alleviate the symptoms of anxiety and stress.

Massages relieve muscle tension and promote flexibility –

Massages alleviate muscle tension, enhance circulation and improve your flexibility by softening stiff muscles and tissues. Especially beneficial for active individuals, massages prevent muscle strain, aid in recovery and even counter the effects of age-related muscle tightness, enabling a broader range of motion and easing discomfort.

Massage can help with insomnia and improve sleep quality –

Amid high rates of insomnia, regular massages have shown a strong correlation with improved sleep quality. Massages induce relaxation, easing your body and mind, effectively countering sleep issues by reducing stress and promoting restful sleep. Massages can even benefit patients with dementia.

Massages help with digestion and relieve digestive issues –

Abdominal massages aid in digestion by promoting proper system functioning, relieving occasional digestive issues and even give some relief to chronic conditions. These massages optimise digestion by stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system and enhancing nutrient absorption, contributing to overall wellness.

Massages boost your immune system and increase your quality of life –

Regular massages, especially weekly or biweekly, enhance your  immune system by stimulating white blood cell production. Massages help your body release toxins and boost your overall immune function. This immune boost leads to improved health, making massages particularly beneficial if you are  prone to frequent illnesses or if you just want to improve your quality of life.

Massages improves your posture and balance –

Massage therapy benefits seniors by enhancing their balance, gait and posture through improved blood flow, proprioception and muscle tension relief. This reduces the risk of falls and helps address pain due to prolonged sitting. Massages are a valuable solution for countering postural stress and promoting overall well-being.

Massages are great for your face, skin and hair health –

A simple face and scalp massage is not only relaxing but it also boosts the health of your scalp, hair and facial skin. Face massages can even stop your skin from sagging and wards off wrinkles!

 Massages lower your blood pressure and improve circulation –

If you have issues with high blood pressure, then scheduling regular massages is definitely a good idea. Individuals with a hectic lifestyle and high blood pressure can benefit from as little as a 10 minute massage once a week. Massages help your blood circulation and this offers a long list of benefits. For example, if you have any health conditions that slow down your blood circulation, massage will provide healthier skin, better organ functionality and improved cell growth. Massages can improve blood flow and circulation, which can help to deliver oxygen and nutrients to the cells and remove waste products.  Improved circulation can help to improve overall health by supporting the body’s natural healing processes.

To conclude-

  • The main reasons for having a massage are medical issues, stress relief and relaxation.
  • Choosing the massage type that will benefit you the most is very important. Discuss your needs with a licensed massage therapist/doctor.
  • Sometimes you might feel these symptoms post- massage- relaxation, fatigue, soreness, headache, nausea.
  • An effective massage doesn’t need to be painful.
  • Its important to communicate your preferences to the masseuse.
  • Be cautious if you have certain health conditions like fractures, bleeding disorders, cancer.
  • Consult a healthcare provider before booking a massage.
Vinita Alvares Fernandes
Vinita Alvares Fernandes is an Economics graduate, a writer and a Trinity College certified public speaker and communicator

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