5 Benefits of Massage Therapy
Massage therapy offers a wide range of benefits. Before you book your first appointment, it is a good idea to explore different types of massage. Deep tissue and trigger point help relax tight muscles, while Swedish massage and aromatherapy encourage relaxation. Keep in mind that while massage can be highly therapeutic, it shouldn’t be used as a replacement for more traditional medical care, but rather in addition to it.
If you’re unsure of what to expect during your first therapy session, do some research to find a therapist who is the right fit for you. In your first session, don’t be afraid to ask questions and communicate your ailments and needs with the massage therapist. Wear comfortable clothing, express your comfort levels, expect to have them use lotion or oil during the massage, and ask for the massage therapist to focus on specific parts of your body in need of more attention. Remember to hydrate after your session and keep in mind that you may be a bit sore the next day, which is all part of the healing process.
1. Helps heal injuries.
If you’ve recently experienced an injury, massage therapy may help on your path to recovery. A sports massage uses soft-tissue release techniques that will aid in healing your injury. Stimulation of the body will also increase blood flow, which speeds up the healing process. If this is your first time getting a massage, do a bit of research to find a therapist who will be a good match. In the initial session, your massage therapist will evaluate your injury to assess the best massage techniques and form of massage that is a good fit for your specific requirements and future sessions.
2. Relieves pain and headaches.
Do you struggle with chronic pain or headaches? If so, you may benefit from a more intensive type of massage. Therapeutic massage, such as deep tissue, reduces muscle tension and alleviates aches and pain located in your shoulders, neck, and back. By focusing on tension located deep in your muscles and joints, deep tissue massage releases knots, which subsequently loosens up the body and relaxes some of the underlying discomfort that may be causing your headaches.
3. Increases flexibility and aligns body.
Tension can exist deep in your muscles, which causes tightness throughout your body. Certain massage techniques loosen up your muscles and release some of this stress. With a consistent treatment plan with the same therapist, you may start to notice increased flexibility as tension is released from your joints and muscles. Overall, this will leave you feeling lighter, more open, and less susceptible to injury when exercising. These same techniques can also help align the body and increase your range of motion, which will improve your posture and overall wellness.
4. Alleviates anxiety and relaxes.
Massage isn’t just beneficial for your physical wellness. One of the best benefits of massage is the ability to improve your mental health as well. By relieving tension and opening up movement in your body, massage therapy also alleviates anxiety by reducing fatigue and physical limitations. A 60-minute massage increases cortisol, a hormone related to stress. Consequently, when cortisol levels decline, serotonin levels increase, which boosts your body’s ability to fight off pain, anxiety and feelings of sadness. If you’re looking for a massage to reduce stress, try either a Swedish massage, which uses long, slow strokes, or an aromatherapy massage, which combines the healing powers of essential oils with massage. The overall experience of a massage, from the relaxing environment to the nurturing human touch, can be restorative and healing, encouraging you to let go of anxiety.
5. Improves sleep and reduces insomnia.
Another effect of massage is improving sleep patterns and reducing insomnia. Long strokes and circular motions, commonly used in Swedish massage, help the body to relax. Reflexology for the feet, which have 15,000 nerve endings, as well as the facial and head massages, are great places to focus to encourage relaxation and better sleep. If you’ve been dealing with insomnia, have your massage therapist focus on specific pressure points that can help you get a better night’s sleep. Go in to your massage session with an open mind and leave feeling rejuvenated.