So often we believe that massages are only supposed to be a treat. Maybe someone got you a gift card once, but you wished you could get more. This popular self-care practice shouldn’t only be reserved for special occasions. Here are the reasons you should consider getting a regular massage to benefit your mind and body.
The practice of massage therapy
Dating back thousands of years, the same massage therapy used in ancient Chinese and Egyptian cultures is still used today for its powerful benefits. An LMT, or licensed massage therapist, is trained in the art of healing by massage. The mind and body are undoubtedly connected, and it is the therapist’s job to harmonize them through different modalities. Modalities in massage therapy are often either therapeutic or relaxation.
Why you should get a massage regularly
Going in for routine massages should be integrated into every adults’ schedule. Setting aside personal time to focus on healing your mind and body is important. If you choose to visit the same therapist every time, they get to know your body’s problem areas and can offer advice as you progress through appointments.
Benefits of regular massages are improved posture, decrease of cortisol (releasing stress and anxiety), improved circulation, a strengthened immune system, and lower blood pressure.
Best types of massage for you
Here is a starting point of the different modalities offered through massage therapy:
Great for anxiety and pain, ashiatsu massages utilize foot pressure to relax muscles. It is typically performed on a low table with the client laying either face down or up depending on areas that need attention. Popular focus areas for ashiatsu are the back and neck. With feet, you can get far more pressure and accuracy than you could with traditional hand modalities.
Healing doesn’t have to be physical; it can also be spiritual. Give your soul healing through reiki, an ancient Japanese practice that utilizes life force energy to improve the client’s overall health and quality of life. By treating the whole body, mind, and spirit, feelings of peace arise. The reiki practitioner will hover or gently touch over areas of the body and transfer positive healing energy.
For limited mobility and injuries, deep tissue massages target specific issues. Techniques of stripping and friction are applied along muscles to realign tissue fibers and release adhesions. After this type of massage, it’s typical to feel sore, but many say that they feel improvements in their mobility and injuries.
Laying out fully clothed on a futon mat on the floor typically, the massage therapist will use various stretches and positions like yoga to accomplish the client’s goals. Rather than rubbing on muscles, the body is compressed, pulled, stretched, and rocked. It’s known as “lazy man’s yoga”.
The ancient Chinese practice of cupping takes traditional glass cups, sets them on fire, and places them on the skin to create suction, improving circulation and blood flow. Taoists believe that cupping balances yin and yang within the body. Restoring balance between these two extremes is thought to help with the body’s resistance to pathogens as well as its ability to increase blood flow and reduce pain.
Placing smooth, hot stones at strategic points on the body helps direct heat to relax muscle tension. It assists in joint mobility. People have the misconception that the stones will be too hot and might hurt, burning them. This is not the case, as the stones are heated to a safe temperature in hot water.
No matter what massage modality you decide on, remember that it’s about creating space for your own healing.