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A massage session can have way more benefits than relieving back pain after a hard day at work! However, nowadays, things have been taken to a whole new level, as more and more people are trying massage therapy, a concept with some exceptional benefits. Let’s find out exactly how it works and why it’s actually so good for you!
What is massage therapy?
During a therapy session, a specialist manipulates your muscles, as well as other soft tissues, in order to enhance their function, but also induces relaxation. It’s not a new practice, though, as it has been used in China for more than 3,000 years, a lot of people revealing that it even help them get rid of depression, in a certain extent.
The truth is that a great massage has beneficial effects on our bodies, releasing hormones which create a sense of an emotional connection, thus calming your mind and improve your mood significantly.
How can massage therapy help relieve depression?
Let’s put things straight: if you’re suffering from depression, massage therapy probably won’t help you get rid of it completely. However, it can have a major impact on helping you relieve some of the physical symptoms associated with it.
To be more specific, we’re referring to sluggishness, back pain, joint pain, as well as muscle aches. Besides this, it’s also great against fatigue and other sleep problems.
What does massage therapy involve?
Now that we are aware of its benefits, let’s take some time and see what massage therapy actually involves. After all, it’s far from being just your average back rub.
During the therapy, your therapist will perform various moves, like rubbing, stretching, and applying pressure to the muscles in your body. However, there are various styles of massage, some of them including over-the-clothes touching, while others involve direct contact with the skin. Usually, the latter is made using scented oils, acupuncture needles, warm stones, or even some complex twisting poses.
Currently, these are the styles which can be encountered the most across the United States:
Swedish massage: By far the most common form. The therapist applies smooth and circular actions to your muscles, helping them relax.
Chair massage: Unlike most styles, this one doesn’t require sitting on a massage bed, but on a special chair, then leaning forward into a headrest. It consists of short sessions and you don’t need to remove any clothing.
Deep tissue massage: Preferred among athletes and not only, this type of massage therapy focuses on the muscles that are the closest to your bones, but their connective tissues as well.
Shiatsu: Expect some firm pressure during a therapy session including this massage, as it’s very similar to acupuncture. Compared to other types of massage though, Shiatsu massage implies more pressure, but it doesn’t produce any stiffness shortly after.
Reflexology: The therapist applies pressure to specific areas of your body, believed to correspond with the most important systems and organs in your body.
Aromatherapy: The main ‘attraction’ of this type of massage therapy is that it also implies scented oils, these being great for reducing stress and boosting your energy.
Hot stone massage: Your therapist places warm flat stones on your body, in an attempt to relax your muscles and relieve tension.
Benefits of massage therapy
Obviously, if performed by a professional, massage therapy is safe and provides immediate gratification, helping you feel relaxed and calm. As for its ability to combat depression, combined with a more conventional treatment, like medication or psychotherapy, it can deliver some great results.
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It’s been said for years that aromatherapy does wonders for people. It’s still up in the air as to what clinical science says about the therapeutic benefits, but there are millions of people who swear by it.
Aromatherapy is based on the notion that certain aromas and scents, when delivered in a special way, can trigger healing properties. The claims of success are numerous and one can find aromatherapy spas and websites all over.
The basics are that essential oils derived from certain plants, herbs, and such when treated with heat or just presented to the olfactory senses can produce strong healing rejuvenating results. They’ve been used for countless centuries by cultures throughout the world. The human sense of smell and taste can detect around 10,000 different scents and the effects on the brain are being qualified now in labs around the world. It’s already documented that the memory centers of the brain can be triggered immensely by smell alone. Aromatherapy then uses the limbic system,the collective name for structures in the brain involved in emotion, motivation, and emotional association with memory, to produce positive results. When done correctly, a sense of well being and healing occur.
Claims such as better skin, eyesight, relief from chronic pain, better memory, and just about every malady we can list can benefit from aromatherapy. For people who are stressed out, aromatherapy is considered one of the best remedies available. In regards to scents that we found soothing as children and are no longer in our environment, when presented via aromatherapy can trigger a tsunami of great feelings and memories. It’s no doubt whatsoever that aroma therapy does something but it will take more study to qualify and quantify.
As more people are treated the results will come in regarding aromatherapy. The plants and herbs from where the essential oils are derived are available easily and it takes a good practitioner of aromatherapy to bring about the right results. We know mood can affect our bodies drastically. Mind over matter, one might say. If a scent can trigger the right responses from the body like increasing the immune system’s defenses or relieving chronic headaches, acne, blood flow, then all the better. Just the aroma and scent of an oil that can affect the olfactory centers and produce certain chemical responses to the body.
Considering how old this therapy is, it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.