Most people love a massage – I know I do. Whether it’s a full body luxurious spa experience or just a quick neck rub after work it always makes me feel relaxed and at ease and rids me of my daily aches (which I have a lot of, being the wrong side of 30 and having 2 kids) but is there actually any real physical benefit to having a massage? Let’s have a look. Firstly…
Where did massage come from?
Massage has been practiced globally for over 5,000 years. There have even been paintings found of massage being performed in Ancient Egyptian tombs.
In ancient times the Greeks and Romans would regularly ‘prescribe’ it to help with emotional and physical well-being. Massage for them was a form medical treatment as well as a means of relaxation. The first to really realise the medical benefits of massage were believed to be the Chinese. And still today in Eastern medicine, massage is used and recommended widely.
What types of massage are available?
Massage has evolved and adapted over the years and each technique has its own distinctive style and benefit.
Some commonly used massage styles are
- Relaxation massage: sweeping stokes and kneading to relax muscles and stress
- Swedish: sweeping and knuckling movements. Some tapping and joint movements, can be a rejuvenating massage
- Shaitsu: pressure points focusing on your meridian lines helping your energy flow
- Hot stone: stones are heated and placed on particular points on the body to aid relaxation
- Deep tissue: works on deepest layer on muscles and tendons
- Aromatherapy: using essential oils to relax body and mind
It’s incredible just how long these massage techniques have been around for, which clearly shows that massage has been giving us some real health benefits, but lets get to the point.. how is massage going to benefit me?
1. Combat stress and anxiety
How often do you finish your week feeling stressed or rundown? Overwhelmed or anxious? I’m pretty sure most of us do from time to time. Massage not only and alleviates our physical stresses and aches but our emotional ones too. Massage helps the production of serotonin – our happy hormone – and can help reduce stress hormones by half. So you can literally have your stress and tension melted away and help reduce those feelings of anxiety.
2. Boost your immune system
This is something I think we all would benefit from. There have been studies done which showed that a 45 minute massage resulted in not only a rise in serotonin but an increase of white blood cells, which are part of our immune system and may help fight off colds and flu .. great for people who catch them regularly or often feel run down.
3. Help improve circulation
Increasing your body’s circulation creates a lot of really positive physical affects for us. This helps the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to your muscles, helping them heal. Massage can also help to keep your organs and digestive system functioning properly and can increase cell growth and repair. Increasing your body’s circulation will also help to clear toxins from your body via your lymphatic system, flushing them out and helping reduce water retention.
4. Relax your body and ease muscle tension
Applying pressure to tense muscles and having these areas worked on will reduce any muscular stiffness and discomfort, help them to relax and return them to a comfortable state. We commonly carry tension across our neck and shoulders which can lead to headaches. So massage can also reduce the amount of headaches you may be getting.
Massage is used across the whole body to help muscle pains, aches or injuries you may have gotten from work, sports our just daily activities and stress.
5. A good night’s sleep
Almost half of the UK population say they don’t get enough sleep and a third say they suffer with insomnia.
Stress and anxiety often prevent people from getting a good night sleep, and for insomnia sufferers they may find they are deficient in serotonin. Serotonin – happy hormone – is our natural precursor to melatonin, a natural chemical we produce which makes us feel sleepy. So, by massage helping to increase our serotonin levels we not only reduce stress but increase our natural production of melatonin – natural sleep chemical. Massage will also help calm any overactive nervous systems which will also work towards giving you a good night sleep. Making us feel fresh and ready to face the world.
No wonder we have used these practices for so long. And these are just a few of the incredible benefits that regular treatments can offer.
For me, massage is an amazing natural way to boost our bodies, ease physical pains and balance our minds.
I love offering massages, it’s so rewarding when clients leave ache free and rejuvenated, leaving their stress behind. In my salon, I focus on relaxation massage. I ask my clients to inhale three large breaths of a specially chosen essential oil to really help get them feeling a deep sense of comfort and relaxation. My goal isn’t just to relieve muscle tension but also bring a sense of balance to my clients and improve their sense of wellbeing.
If you’ve identified with any of the points I’ve mentioned. Don’t delay, get one booked in and start making time for you.