Massage therapy (a centuries-old ritual) is one of the earliest pain-relieving treatments. It has been practiced in both the Eastern and Western parts of the world.
When talking about ways to relax your mind and body, massage is one of the foremost ideas that pop into the mind. But the message is not meant for muscle relaxation only as it has several other therapeutic benefits as well.
Let’s delve into what is massage, benefits of massage, and various massage therapies that help you in different ways!
WHAT IS MASSAGE AND WHAT DOES IT INVOLVE?
Massage in literal terms is defined as “systematic manipulation of the soft tissues of the body by a certified trained massage therapist using varying degrees of pressure and movement done with hands”.
Massage is all about applying pressure on the soft tissues of the body like muscles, skin, tendons, ligaments, and connective tissues using different techniques like gliding, stroking, kneading soft tissues, etc.
As a result, the circulation and blood flow are increased in these soft tissues resulting in instant relaxation. This is why massage therapy is now being recommended to patients suffering from heart ailments and cancer alongside standard treatments.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF MASSAGE?
Here are the top four benefits of massage that you would like to know:
1- Relieving Anxiety:
Massage works great for those who are suffering from anxiety. The human nervous system is divided into two parts; sympathetic and parasympathetic. The sympathetic nervous system is activated in times of stress and fear and puts the body into a state of flight or fight. While the parasympathetic nervous system does the exact opposite i.e. relaxing and calming your mind and body. In people with an anxiety disorder, the sympathetic nervous system is heightened. So, naturally, massage works as a counteractive for them and helps in decreasing their anxiety levels. Studies have shown that benefits of massage therapy includes long-term effects on anxiety, which last up to 18 months.
2- A Sound Sleep:
In today’s times where, sound sleep has become a luxurious treat for many of us owing to the busy schedules and daily grinds, massage therapy is the light at the end of the tunnel. For people who suffer from insomnia or face trouble falling asleep at night, massage helps you to enjoy a sound slumber.
Sleep has a lot to do with the nervous activity occurring inside the brain. Thinking about the next day’s chores or the pile of pending office work, your brain does not relax even when it should. That’s why you can’t go into a deep sleep and wake up with aching or tired muscles the next day. The cycle goes on and ultimately leads to burnout. Our bodies require a deep sleep at the end of the day to rejuvenate or in more common terms to restore from tiredness, pains, or any trauma.
To enjoy a stress-free sleep at the end of the day, you must try massage therapy as it helps your nervous system to slow down. Moreover, nothing works more for the aching muscles than the massage itself. Thus, calling a massage a double treat won’t be wrong.
3- Say Bye-Bye to Fatigue
As much as we don’t like to feel it, fatigue has become a part of our daily lives. There are so many reasons that cause persistent fatigue like overworking, inconsistent sleep, poor diet, or some disease. But the solution to all types of fatigue is undoubtedly the most relaxing therapy known as “massage”. Your aching and tired muscles being massaged is the only thing you would like at the end of the day.
The effect of massage on reducing fatigue has been backed up by studies as well. In 2018, a study was carried out on patients with breast cancer by Dr. Rapport. The study showed a remarkable reduction in the fatigue levels of patients. If you suffer from fatigue as well, try getting a massage every week and see the difference yourself.
4- Boost your Focus
Our minds are constantly occupied due to which we experience a lack of focus in the present moment. Either we are stuck in the past thoughts or we are thinking about the future while trying to be in the present moment. Oftentimes, we cannot focus because of the anxiety and associated symptoms like increased heart rate or nausea. In order to improve your focus, massage can be of great help as it slows down your heart rate and helps you stay relaxed for longer periods of time.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF MASSAGE:
Many of us may not be aware of it but there are almost 12 types of massage routines. Some massages are done for relaxing certain muscles while some are for repairing damaged tissue. Confused about what type of massage therapy you should be getting? Here is a brief introduction to different types of massages so you can choose the one that suits you the best:
Originated from ancient Chinese culture, massage therapy resembles acupuncture a lot except that it does not involve any needles. The massage therapist uses gentle deep finger pressure to particular points of the body to clear blockages in the energy pathways of our body. It helps in the restoration of yin and yang energy as well as balance.
Aromatherapy is all about using aromatic essential oils extracted from plants to massage the skin. The essential oils often known as the life force are equipped with numerous benefits. It helps in improving mind, body, and spiritual health and enhances both physical and mental health.
3- Ayurveda Massage
Ayurvedic massage is just like a facial massage but on energy points on the whole body, using essential oils in circulation stimulation method. It helps in lymphatic drainage, relieving muscle tension and nourishment of skin all over the body.
4- Bowen Therapy
A gentle technique using subtle tissue and muscle therapies to trigger the body’s natural healing system. It stimulates the body’s nervous system to particularly provide relief from injuries and health issues.
5- Chinese Massage
A deep relaxation massage therapy links the body and energies, the main focus of Chinese massage is the acupoints in the body. It is considered very effective for pain-relieving.
6- Connective Tissue Massage
A manipulative therapy technique targeting fascia (the soft connective tissues spread all across the body), the connective tissue massage helps in improving posture and vitality along with relieving chronic tension.
7- Corporate Massage
True to its name, corporate massage is offered by the bosses or company heads to their employees. Qualified therapists come to the workspace to provide a physical and mental rejuvenation to them, preventing sickness.
8- Deep Tissue Massage
A massage for the deep tissues, the type helps in relieving toxin buildup and has immense benefits from pain-relieving to enhancing oxygen circulation around the body.
9- Hawaiian Massage
A powerful physical and spiritual rejuvenation massage, Hawaiian massage is unique in many ways and is often known as a healing massage. Done with elbows, hands, and forearms, the massage is about the stimulation of energy flow.
10- Holistic Massage
A massage aimed to treat all aspects of an individual using calm music, essential oils as well as deep relaxation techniques. It also involves psychotherapy, nutritional therapy, and the environmental healing process.
11- Indian Head Massage
Based on Ayurveda, the Indian head massage works on shoulders, upper back, eyes, neck, scalp, face, and ears. It helps in relieving strain and reduction of anxiety levels along with several other benefits.
12- Infant Massage
A soothing massage for the babies using gentle movements, infant massage is super beneficial. It offers many health benefits to the growing bodies and helps the babies to thrive.
13- Lava Shell Massage
Using tiger clam shells for massaging, the lava shell massage is a heat treatment that eases muscle tension and strain and is known as a deeply relaxing massage.
14- Lomi Lomi Massage
A Hawaiian massage technique, this one uses unique massage techniques using nut oils. The Lomi Lomi massage helps to achieve brain relaxation to another level.
A unique massage with a blend of physiotherapy, lypossage is a non-invasive massage and body contouring technique. Helps in losing inches without affecting weight, this one is not for everyone.
16- Lymphatic Drainage
A gentle massage technique that helps in the circulation of lymph fluid around the body helps in the removal of waste and toxins.
17- Mobile Service Massage
The massage service provided to the client in their own home is known as mobile service massage. However, this is not offered by all massage modalities.
18- Pregnancy Massage
With so many physical changes occurring in the body during pregnancy, several pains and tensions arise in the body. A pregnancy massage aims to relieve tension in muscles, reduce swelling, and ease muscle cramps through a combination of Remedial and Swedish massages.
19- Remedial Massage
A gentle massage to trigger the self-healing process of the body, remedial massage focuses on injury or muscle damage mainly,
20- Sports Massage
A vigorous and non-relaxing massage, sports massage is designed to treat sports injuries and helps in increasing endurance and performance. This minimizes the chances of future injuries.
21- Stone Therapy Massage
Experience a feeling of total well-being and relaxation with the Stone Therapy Massage that uses hot and cold stones coupled with traditional massage techniques.
22- Swedish Relaxation Massage
A massage for focusing on the blood flow to the heart, Swedish massage is known for its technical strokes and motions. Helps in promoting oxygen flow as well as the release of toxins from muscles.
23- Thai Massage
A rewarding massage for mind, body, and spirit, Thai massage incorporates stretch movements and gentle massage techniques to release strain from muscles along with toxins buildup and maintain the flow of energy throughout the body.
24- Myofascial Release Therapy
A massage designed to relieve pressure from the fascia, the Myofascial Release Therapy uses stretching techniques and hands-on massage. It also triggers the self-healing process of the body.
It is a unique massage that focuses on the reflex points on the feet that correspond to different points in the body. It helps to relieve tensions and remove blockages in the body.
26- Shiatsu Therapy
A therapeutic massage that targets special target points around the body and focuses on restoring energy in the body using a combination of stretching techniques, joint rotations, pressure, and stretches.
27- Trigger Point Therapy
The trigger points in our bodies that become stress points over time and manifest into the knots in the muscles cause spasm or pains in those areas. Massaging these points helps in relieving tensions of these target areas.
With so many options on hand, massage therapy really offers something for everyone. Moreover, the benefits of massage are perfect alternative to multiple health issues. So, it’s time to make your pick and relax!
Check out our related articles: