It is undeniable the healing power of human touch. Touch has shown to improve relationships, decrease stress at the office, improve your immune system and increase performance. Yes, if just a high five or a pat on the back can achieve this. Can you imagine what a 60 min massage will do to improve your life!
As a physical therapist, I often spend part of a session massaging areas around the injury to realign tight structures and decrease tension. Sometime people need a full hour of just massage to address more then one area. When I recommend, ” its time for a massage,” I get different responses…
“Oh yes, I used to get them regularly. It’s time I start again.”
Or on occasion I hear,” I’ve never had a massage.”
I’m always shocked. The benefits of massage are endless and they feel so great! That glowing bliss that surrounds you when you get off the table, an experience every human should have.
According to the mayo clinic, Studies demonstrate that massage is an effective treatment for reducing stress, pain and muscle tension.
Studies have found massage may also be helpful for:
Anxiety (cardiovascular issues)
Digestive disorders (IBS)
Insomnia related to stress (sleep!)
Myofascial pain syndrome
Paresthesias and nerve pain
Soft tissue strains or injuries
Temporomandibular joint pain
With the increasing popularity of Starbucks, we see in our metropolitan city many over-worked people who could use a regular massage to decrease stress, anxiety and help them ease into a wonderful night sleep.
One excuse is, “I don’t have enough time.” The problem with this excuse is a massage on the weekend or in the evening will decrease back tension and other aches that distracts you from work making you more productive and save you time in the end. In addition you will sleep better and be more efficient and effective at work. Lastly, you will arrive home relaxed ready to be a better parent, partner and person in general. It is much nicer to spend 2 hours with a happy person then 3 hours with a grump. Take time for a massage!
Sometimes first timers have some fear over the protocol. Do I undress? How about under garments? For most therapeutic massage you undress to your underwear and climb under the sheet while the therapist waits outside. Experienced massage therapists keep you covered and uncover just the area being massaged, we call this “draping”. Of course there are a variety of massage styles and some such as Myofasical stretching, cranio sacral and tai massage where you can stay clothed if preferred. Don’t let modesty stop you from enjoying the benefits of massage. Never feel uncomfortable stating, “This is my first massage. What is the protocol?” The amazing benefits of touch are researched and proven, find a licensed massage therapist and give it a try.
For even the regular massage goer, it is important to give feed back to your therapist such as “too much pressure,” or ” you can go deeper”. Different therapists have different teachings and pressures. For example here at Elements Center in Washington DC, we offer light touch techniques such as cranio sacral, lymph drainage and deep techniques such as deep tissue massage and structural integration. Don’t let the multitude of techniques overwhelm you. Try several techniques, experience which styles work best for you.
When booking a massage I recommend you ask…
Are your massage therapists licensed? How much experience do they have? Try not to limit yourself to a male or a female practitioner. The best practitioners come in all shapes, sizes and genders.
Enjoy your massage!