WHAT IS THE RIGHT MASSAGE THERAPY FOR YOU?
Author: Wekina McMillian (Massage Therapist at HLC Wellness)
Massage is perhaps one of the oldest greatest homeopathic remedies known to mankind. Dating back to the BC era, massage has been used to alleviate stress, tension, and pain throughout the body. By definition, massage means the manipulation of superficial and deeper layers of muscles and connective tissue by using various levels of pressure.
The most common types of massage are:
• Swedish (very light relaxing strokes)
• Deep tissue (intense and focused pressure)
• Sports (manipulation of muscles by mobilization through stretches ideal for athletes)
• Hot stone (deep penetrating heat to help assist in loosening the muscles, also used in contrast with hands-on modalities)
The benefits of massage therapy include:
1) promoting improved circulation throughout the body;
2) help in alleviating chronic and back pain, improved flexibility
3) relief of headaches and insomnia;
4) and reducing scar tissue and fatigue.
In a professional setting, massage is performed on a massage table, massage chair, or mat. Over the years massage has been used primarily in spa settings, gradually progressing and becoming more widespread into chiropractic offices and used in teaching settings for couples massage, prenatal, and infant massage.
Touch, while very intimate, is also soothing. It is said that introducing touch to an infant at a young age helps instill fearlessness, enhances movement and coordination, and helps in increasing weight. For pregnant women, touch alleviates some of the negative side effects of being pregnant. It enhances blood flow that prevents blood clots, helps to reduce headaches and swelling/edema, eases backaches, improves sleep, and in some instances helps to induce labor.
Very often clients ask how often they should receive massage; I answer by saying if you can afford it and your body is not in any pain after receiving massage, then you should do it every day! However, the average person generally sees a therapist one or two times out of the month or annually. Your massage session should be scheduled accordingly to whatever your life situation may be at home, in the workplace, physically and personally. Whether it’s a couple times a week or once every week, the important thing is to always be aware of your body and what’s going on with it. If you’re sore from a massage session, I suggest icing the muscles; if you want further relief and release of your muscles, use a heating pad, soak in a tub with Epsom salt, and for pain a topical analgesic like Biofreeze or Tiger Balm.
A lot of tension and stress that our bodies absorb is from our work or home environment and the activities we partake in. Most people typically carry their stress in their upper body region, i.e., neck and shoulders. So it is not uncommon to learn that this stress comes from the way you hold your posture, the length of time you sit at a computer desk, the amount of weight you carry (e.g., women with heavy purses, men lifting weights in the gym, lifting or toting a child, moving furniture). Stress may even be a result of past surgeries or injuries where scar tissue is left over and has built up over time. Whatever the case, it’s always important to give any and all information, past or present, about your health history to your therapist in order to maximize the success of your bodywork session.
It’s important to drink lots of water for 24 hours after a session in order to assist in releasing toxins out of your system. Stretching is also very important as it not only aids in preventing injuries like arthritic joints, carpal tunnel and tennis elbow, but it also helps with any preexisting health issues by building the strength and range of motion for muscles and joints throughout the body. If you want to maintain a stress-free body it’s important to be on a regular regimen of receiving massage and following whatever plan of progress your therapist suggests for you.