Benefits of Massage
How can massage therapy benefit you? Massage therapy has been medically proven to help with a variety of aches, pains, and even medical conditions. This is a great natural treatment to a variety of problems that can come from living a full life. There are plenty of medical and non-medical reasons to improve your health, one of which is to improve the quality of your life. Being free of pain and stress is a major health benefit that you will get from regular massage therapy sessions.
Types of Massage and Benefits
The first thing you want to figure out is what benefit you are aiming for, relaxation? Muscle tension relief? Is there a specific condition or chronic pain ailing you? Once you have that figured out you can choose a modality that best fits that particular benefit. There are as many different types of massage as there are benefits. Depending on the specific benefit you are looking for you can check out a number of different modalities. A few popular modalities include: Swedish, Deep Tissue, Myofascial Release, and Reflexology. Although there are many more modalities to choose from that are extremely beneficial as well.
Swedish: Relaxation, improved circulation, pain relief, improved flow of lymph through lymphatic system, helps promote drainage of toxins from body, tension relief, and headache / migraine relief.
Swedish massage is by far the most common and well known type of massage. It is perfect for general relaxation and great for first timers to get introduced to massage. Swedish tends to be a gentler and slow full body massage, but can be used to work deeper and focus on particular muscles.
Deep Tissue: Target specific muscles groups, helps relieve chronic pain, relaxation, lower blood pressure, muscle tension relief and help rehabilitate injured muscles
Deep tissue massage is arguably the second most common massage modality after Swedish. Deep tissue, while similar to Swedish, tends to have a focus area for the session and a balance area, and does not always incorporate the full body.
MFR: Helps relieve chronic pain, muscle tension relief, increase blood flow, helps lengthen shortened muscles, improve circulation, relaxation, and help improve muscle mobility.
Myofascial release (MFR) is a type of massage that specializes in working with the fascia of the body. Fascia wraps around every cell, muscle, bone and organ in the body. Think of fried chicken, when pulling off the skin the white, spider web type stuff between the skin and the meat is fascia. Usually when we have “knots” in our muscles there are “knots” (adhesions) in our fascia as well. The focus of work is on releasing those adhesions in the fascia. This modality is very slow and is a very different than Swedish and deep tissue. While it does promote relaxation, MFR can be very intense in areas of greater resistance, often accompanied by tingling, stinging or burning sensations that let the client and practitioner know the fascia is releasing.
Reflexology: Relaxation, helps promote drainage of toxins from body, improves nerve conduction, improves circulation, and focuses on particular ailments such as headache or sinus issues
Reflexology massage is the application of pressure to the feet and hands with specific thumb, finger, and hand techniques. It is based on a system of zones and reflex areas that reflect an image of the body on the feet, hands, and ears with the idea that such work will effect a physical change to the body.
As previously mentioned there are many, many more massage modalities to choose from – these are just a few common ones that clients look to for relief. It is fascinating to look at some of the benefits that are a result of just one massage, let alone a regular massage regime. There have been studies done that show massage can help improve certain health conditions as well. Some of these conditions include: fibromyalgia, asthma, anxiety, depression, stress, digestive disorders, insomnia, myofascial pain syndrome and even sports injuries. No one can deny the relaxation that a massage provides, but don’t be so quick to end the benefits there! Next time you are feeling a little down consult a local massage therapist to see if a massage could help!