Why everyone Should have a regular massage?
|Tired, sore and stressed out?
Most people would agree a massage makes them feel good. But many probably don’t realise exactly how good a regular massage is for their overall health. How about if they knew massage could improve performance, aid recovery, prevent and eliminate injuries, reduce stress and even enhance metabolism and circulation!
With so many alternative health treatments available it’s little wonder people get confused about where to go when they’re not feeling the best. But, while new health therapies continue to emerge, think about this the Chinese began using massage to heal the human body as long ago as 5,000BC and it’s still being used today. Now there has to be something to be said for that.
Massage Therapy for Health and Fitness
It may simply look like a lot of pressing and kneading on skin, but massage is actually a scientific process. The reason you feel different after a massage is because it is healing and invigorating tired, aching or injured muscles. Massage increases blood land lymph circulation. Lymph is a fluid that rids body tissues of waste, is dependent on the squeezing effect of muscles. An active person has better lymph flow than an inactive person. However, stimulation from vigorous activity can lead to increased waste, which can negate the benefit. This is where massage has a huge advantage. Massage can dramatically aid lymph movement, which together with blood, supplies nutrients and oxygen and rids wastes and toxins. It is easy to understand why good circulation is so important to our health and why massage can be so beneficial just for this purpose.
But Massage has so many other benefits:
Massage and Sport
Massage plays a part in every form of sport or exercise. Unfortunately, many people believe aches and pains are an inevitable consequence to activity. But massage can actually reduce or eliminate what may appear to be exercise-induced pain.
It can increase endurance, control fatigue and help people feel better when used as part of a regular health program. Massage can also speed muscle recovery rates as it eliminates irritation from waste. By helping reduce fatigue and aid recovery, massage enables more productive training, with longer, more effective workouts. The ultimate spin-offs are better performance with fewer injuries. Exercise changes the way our muscles work. Blood vessels become more intricate as the body demands more oxygen and nutrients and increases waste elimination. This takes time. While the muscles are getting into shape, they can struggle to get enough oxygen and nutrients, so waste collects.
Massage and Injuries
Massage also helps recovery from soft tissue injuries such as sprains and strains. Tissue growth and repair is accelerated by efficient circulation and appropriate stimulation. Everybody experiences some form of stress through work, family, the environment and society. Mental tensions, frustrations, and insecurity cause the most damage. Hormones released by stress actually shrink the vessels, inhibiting circulation. A stressed mind and body means the heart works harder. Breathing becomes rapid and shallow and digestion slows. Nearly every body process is degraded. Studies show stress can cause migraines, hypertension (high blood pressure), depression, some peptic ulcers, etc. In fact, researchers have estimated 80% of disease is stress related. Soothing and relaxing massage therapy can counteract the effects of stress.
What Injuries can Massage Treat?
Increase the Benefits with Regular Visits
Getting a massage can do you a world of good. And getting a massage frequently can do even more. This is the beauty of bodywork. Taking part in this form of regularly scheduled self-care can play a huge part in how healthy you’ll be and how youthful you’ll remain with each passing year. Budgeting time and money for bodywork at consistent intervals is truly an investment in your health. And remember: just because massage feels like a pampering treat doesn’t mean it is any less therapeutic. Consider massage appointments a necessary piece of your health and wellness plan, and work with your therapist to establish a treatment schedule that best meets your needs.
Massage Benefits the Elderly
Massage knows no age limits. It works wonders on young, old, and in between. It can be especially helpful to the elderly who are experiencing the physical effects of aging which can include: thinner and drier skin, reduced tissue elasticity, loss of mobility, slower nervous system response, decreased bone mass, sleeplessness, constipation, and a less efficient immune system.
Massage helps keep the body and mind functioning optimally by promoting well nourished and healthy skin, improving circulation of blood and lymph, improving immune system functioning, improving energy flow, enhancing general relaxation, reducing muscular tension and associated discomfort, reducing anxiety, improving sleep, increasing feelings of well-being, enhancing flexibility and strength, increasing range of motion in joints, reducing discomfort from arthritis.
Benefits of Regular sessions
- Correcting problems in your body
With remedial massage, therapists are trained to assess your body, observe changes over time, and design individual treatment plans for each client. More than just feel-good massage, they can use specific techniques to address an individuals’ injury, postural or joint issues, as well as improving circulation, reducing pain and bringing a sense of general well-being.
- Stress reduction
The importance of relaxation and well-being can’t be underestimated and one of the most noted effects of massage is a greater feeling of calm and relaxation. It reduces both emotional and physical stress, which is why it is often recommended in stress and anxiety treatment programs. The soothing, pampering benefits of massage encourage the release of endorphins – the wonderful chemicals that give us the feel-good factor. Conversely, those nasty stress inducing hormones such as norepinephrine, adrenaline and cortisol are reduced.
- Immunity boosting
Due to the decrease in stress hormones, your immune system has a chance to work more efficiently, without impairment. In addition, massage increases circulation and improves lymphatic drainage, which again provide a boost to the immune system’s effectiveness.
- Heightens mental alertness
When you are given a chance to relax and De-stress through massage treatments, your levels of mental clarity and alertness increase.Stress Management Regular massages are an effective stress- management technique. Stress is often caused by being over-committed and overwhelmed with home, work and family obligations. A weekly or bi-weekly massage forces you to take time out for yourself for a pleasurable, relaxing activity.
- Management of Emotional Disorders: Massage therapy can help you to manage emotional disorders such as depression or anxiety as part of an overall treatment plan. Massage is soothing, nurturing and relaxing. It can improve your state of mind if you concentrate on releasing negative thoughts during the treatment. You can incorporate visualization exercises in which you picture yourself in pleasant surroundings during the massage.
- Releasing muscle tension and pain
Good massage techniques are a wonderful way of releasing trigger points, stretching and elongating muscles and breaking down adhesions. The therapist can focus on areas that are stiff, injured or just plain sore. By increasing the blood flow to the tissues and releasing the tension, massage not only helps alleviate the pain, but can also help eliminate toxins and oxygenate the cells.
- Pain Management: Overly contracted muscles often cause chronic pain, from migraine to sciatica, and more. In general, weekly sessions are recommended, but much depends on how you feel. If your pain starts to return within a few days, it’s time for another massage. If you are still pain free a week later, maybe you can spread your sessions out.Most people find that they need more frequent sessions to start, slowly decreasing frequency as their muscles elongate and relax. Some therapists will also suggest stretches you can do at home to maintain muscle balance longer between sessions.
- Increased joint mobility
By releasing muscle tension around joints, the range of movement in the joint can be increased. When a joint is no longer hampered by stiffness, muscle function can return to support and improve joint movement.
- Fibromyalgia Relief: Studies at the Touch Research Institutes in Miami showed that massage relieves fibromyalgia-related pain. The Journal of Clinical Rheumatology reports massage therapy lowered stress hormones, anxiety and depression in fibromyalgia sufferers and worked more quickly than transcutaneous electrical stimulation.
- Improved posture
Massage helps relieve a lot of tensions, particularly in the neck and shoulder areas, common in those who sit a lot or use a computer at work. Lower backs are also prone to tightening from prolonged sitting. Remedial massage can help remedy these problems by lengthening the muscles and balancing out the body for improved postural alignment.
- Improved skin tone
Massage can help give you healthy and toned skin – it will reduce tension in the skin and adjoining tissues as well as increasing circulation. Increased circulation in and under the skin can aid the nutrition cycle and encourage cell regeneration. Happily, massage also stimulates sebum production, helping to improve suppleness, moisturising and softening dry skin.
- Eliminating ‘vicious cycle’ complaints
Sometimes things keep going wrong despite our best efforts! For example, someone might get tension headaches due to continually clenching their jaw. The jaw clenching may be a stress response to pain in the neck and shoulders or somewhere else in the body. By addressing the source of the pain, the jaw will stop reactively clenching, allowing the tension headaches to be reduced or eliminated.
- Injury/Surgery Recovery: Massage is often recommended after injury or surgery. It can help:
- Reduce pain, minimizing the need for pain medication
- Inhibit swelling by moving lymph
- Break up scar tissue
- Hasten the healing process by increasing the flow of blood and oxygen
Always check with your doctor before getting a massage. It may not be the best treatment option after an injury or surgery or may be limited to particular modalities. For example, deep tissue massage would be a bad idea for someone on blood thinners or with an acute injury, but lymphatic drainage massage could be helpful. Once you’re given clearance, two sessions a week or more may be needed to start, with frequency decreasing as healing and recovery progress.
- Wellness and Relaxation: Even for the healthiest person, massage offers major benefits like:
- Calming the central nervous system
- Increasing circulation
- Elongating tight muscles
- Loosening toxins from the tissues for elimination
- Boosting immunity
If you’re just looking to enhance your health or want occasional respite from everyday stress and strain, scheduling a massage once or twice a month will probably suffice.
For those who work in a high-stress environment or have daily activities that risk causing repetitive-motion injuries or postural issues, weekly sessions might be best. Keep in mind that the effects of regular massage are cumulative, and spacing them too far apart might leave you back at square one every time.
- Optimizing Athletic Performance: For athletes, massage can both enhance performance and reduce the risk of injury by balancing muscle groups and increasing joint mobility. The process of lengthening contracted muscles and releasing myofascial adhesion is rarely a one-shot deal, and serious athletes may need two or more sessions a week to stay in top shape. Many professional teams have therapists on staff for that very reason, but the more casual athlete may not have the resources to be massaged that often.For the average athletic person, it depends on your training schedule and whether or not you haven chronic muscle issues. One or two massages a month may be enough during lighter training periods, increasing frequency as workouts intensify.Never schedule deep tissue massage less than five days before a big event. It can cause soreness and changes in body mechanics that can throw you off your game. Stick with circulation-boosting massage such as Swedish or Abhyanga immediately before and after a big event—it helps flush out lactic acid build-up and speeds recovery.
BONUS BENEFIT: Remedial massage assists a wide variety of health disorders
Whether it is insomnia; headache; depression and anxiety; back pain; arthritis; high blood pressure; chronic pain or constipation- studies have shown that remedial massage provides positive benefits for many health disorders.
While massage has been around for thousands of years, it seems like more and more people are finally taking advantage of its many health benefits. From focusing on improving circulation to emphasizing lymphatic drainage, there is a type of massage for almost every need. With thousands of certified therapists, massage can be practiced safely and effectively and is widely available in most areas.
Massages can help:
- Relieve chronic pain
- Reduce the effects of stress
- Lower blood pressure
- Speed recovery from injuries
- Optimize an athlete’s game
Plus, it feels good! While a massage sounds like something you should have as often as possible, to maintain its benefits, you may not need one as often as you think. It all depends on your goals, lifestyle, and general state of health.
From here your therapist will determine the frequency of massage treatments based on a number of factors:
- How tight or injured are you are to start off with?
- How well you responded to the previous treatment?
- How often are you exercising?
- What do you do for a living?
- What are your stress levels?
- How much is it going to cost if you do get an injury and have to spend week in week out getting treatment or have time off from sport/ work?
- How often are you participating in additional preventative activities such as pilates, yoga, stretching or self triggering?
The key factors to consider when determining how often to get a massage:
- How tight/injured are you to start off with?
The more tight/ injured you are to start – the more frequently you should get treatment. Often getting a few massages in succession (3 or 4 massages, 4 – 7 days apart) allows you to obtain quick changes in muscle tightness and length, without losing too much of those gains between appointments. Once things start to loosen up and dependent on how you respond to treatment, you can usually start to taper out to every fortnight and then every 4 to 6 weeks.
- How well you responded to the previous massage?
– If you come back in next session feeling great, with increases in range of motion and/or decreases in pain, your massage therapist should try to lengthen the time out between massage treatments. i.e. from weekly to every 10 days.
- How often are you exercising?
The general rule is the more exercise the more frequent the massage. Also the more intense the exercise the more frequent the treatment.- Low intensity/volume and/ frequency i.e. a the occasional walk 1 – 3 times/wk for 30mins
Every 6 – 8 weeks- Medium intensity, volume and frequency e.g. a short bike ride, jog or a swim for 30 – 45mins 2 -3 times per week Every 3 – 6 weeks-Moderate to high intensity, volume and frequency e.g. a 10km row, 30 – 40km bike ride or a 60min run 3-5 times a week. As often as weekly, most people generally get one every fortnight, dependent on how your body responds to massage you can stretch it out to 3 -4 weeks.- High intensity/elite athletes and/or people training for a specific event such as a triathlon, rowing regatta, cycling race or 10km+ run etc. Times when training exceeds 4 – 5 times per week; each session longer than 40mins and/ or you’ve increased your exercise frequency quickly and/or significantly to prepare for a certain event. We recommend weekly to fortnightly appointments.The best way to tell how often you need it is to try different lengths between massages and see how the body responds.
- What you do for a living?
3 things come to mind to determine the impact of work on your body – Stress, desk work and the physicality of your job. In general the more active the job the more you need treatment, especially because if your body breaks down your ability to generate income is limited.
– Physical Jobs – weekly – fortnightly appointments.
– ‘On your feet all day jobs’ – Most commonly receive fortnightly – monthly
– Desk Jobs (6 – 8 hrs in front of the computer) – Monthly at the minimum,
– High stress jobs – We’d recommend weekly to fortnightly, monthly at a minimum. Studies have shown the impact of stress on your ability to function at work. Check out our page on the impact of massage to productivity, creativity and engagement at work.
(Please remember that this is only a guide and does not take into account any other factors!)
5. What are your stress levels?
Stress wreaks havoc on the body and your ability to function. If you are in a high stress industry or are finding it difficult to cope with an event in your life that is particularly stressful, getting regular massage i.e. weekly or fortnightly is a great way to help. Massage has been proven to decrease stress, help you to sleep better and function more effectively
6.How much is it going to cost me?
This is an important question.
– If I do get an injury and have to spend week in week out getting treatment or (worst case scenario) surgery is that going to cost more than if I was to take preventative measures?
– How much fitness will I lose or how likely am I to achieve my health and fitness goals if I have time off sport due to a preventable injury?
7.How often are you participating in additional preventative activities such as pilates, yoga, stretching or self triggering?
Generally – the less preventative stuff you are willing to do yourself the more frequently you should be getting a massage!
As we live our lives as Superman and Superwomen we need to put aside time for our own health
Call or email me if you have any question or would like to book in for a session.
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