What Regular Massage Can Do For You
If you have decided to be healthier in the New Year you may have made resolutions such as improving your diet, starting an exercise program, or quitting a bad habit. While achieving any one of these goals is excellent, it is equally important to focus on the big picture by creating a wellness regimen that will keep you committed to a healthy lifestyle indefinitely. When you implement a variety of self-care practices including massage therapy into your life you will not only look and feel better now, but you can also prevent illness, injuries, and pain in the future. The expression “body, mind, and spirit” has become somewhat of a cliché these days in holistic healthcare, but it really is important to find balance in all aspects of your well-being. This is what makes massage therapy such a powerful ally in your healthcare regimen. Everyone knows that it’s a great way to work out all your knots and reduce stress, but there are numerous other physical, mental, and spiritual benefits that you may not know about.
You probably know where you hold tension in your body, but while receiving a massage you may discover you are much tighter than you realized. When we get touched it stimulates the sensory processing of your nervous system and brings awareness to all areas of your body. While getting regularly scheduled massage helps to keep these areas of tension more relaxed, the heightened awareness of your body that you get from a massage session also carries into your daily life. This allows you to be more mindful of your posture and positions while engaging in activities, which can help you prevent strain and injury. Regular massage also increases your range of motion, and helps you maintain your flexibility by lengthening your muscles and reducing restrictions in connective tissue. Massage can also help you stay healthier during cold and flu season, as it stimulates lymph flow which enhances your immunity.
Our heads are constantly filled with thousands of thoughts throughout the day, and often these thoughts are negative or self-defeating. This mindless chatter can make it hard to keep our attention focused on one thing and can compound our stress levels. Regular massage is a great way to help you quiet your mind, contributing to improved concentration and decreased anxiety. Chemically it boosts the production of serotonin and endorphins (neurotransmitters), and lowers the stress hormone cortisol, leading to improved sleep quality and alleviated depression. In general massage simply feels good which boosts your mood, and helps you have a more positive attitude and outlook.
Regardless of our religious beliefs, most of us have experienced inner peace when connecting to something bigger than ourselves. Whether meditating, praying, practicing yoga, witnessing a beautiful sunrise, or spending time in the garden; these moments help you to be present and align spirit with your body and mind. The more you connect to spirit, the more in harmony you become with your higher self, and you are better able to handle stresses in daily life. The problem for many of us is that instead of making time for quiet introspection we “tune out” with distractions such as television, social media, and video games. Getting a massage gives you the opportunity to be present and connected to spirit without distractions, and truly recharge your energy.
Many people only seek out a massage every once in a while when they are in acute pain. While you may experience some relief after one session, you can’t get everything “undone” that has taken months or years to build up in your body. To make the most of each treatment it is recommended to schedule sessions on consistent intervals. How regularly you should come depends on your situation. If you have an acute injury or chronic pain you should initially come in more frequently to get the best results. Receiving massage on a weekly or bi-weekly schedule allows you to make progress on your trouble areas, and prevent further pain and tension to return in between appointments. Once you have reduced your pain you can decrease frequency to bi-weekly or monthly visits for maintenance. If you are seeking massage to manage general stress a monthly massage may be enough to sustain you. When budgeting time and money for regular massage remember it is way more than a luxury, it is truly an investment in your long term health.
Osborn, K. What Massage Can Do For You Osborn, K. Massage Multiplied [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.massagetherapy.com/articles/index.php/article_id/1660/Massage-Multiplied Hey, B. Making the Most of Your Massage [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.massagetherapy.com/articles/index.php/article_id/658/Making-the-Most-of-Your-Massage Rodgers, H. Aligning the Trinity- Body, Mind, and Spirit [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.zengardner.com/aligning-trinity-body-mind-spirit/
Osborn, K. Massage Multiplied [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.massagetherapy.com/articles/index.php/article_id/1660/Massage-Multiplied
Hey, B. Making the Most of Your Massage [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.massagetherapy.com/articles/index.php/article_id/658/Making-the-Most-of-Your-Massage
Rodgers, H. Aligning the Trinity- Body, Mind, and Spirit [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.zengardner.com/aligning-trinity-body-mind-spirit/