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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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A top runner is never alone, as he or she is constantly surrounded by an entire team who makes sure that everything is going well. And you know who plays one of the most important roles? The professional massage therapist.
Runners say that massages help them to get through muscle tension with ease, but also improves their range of motion and make them feel relaxed after putting a lot of effort into a training session.
Overall, everything sounds great, but is there any scientific evidence supporting the idea that sport massage can improve performances? According to practitioners, these moves relieve muscle soreness, promote circulation, flush toxins and lactic acid from the body, but also ease joint strain. And these claims are actually supported by evidence from several countries. But unfortunately, nothing had been confirmed by science until just recently.
Therapists reveal that sport massage can’t actually push toxins out of the muscles and into the bloodstream. Science also says that there’s no actual physiological way for this to happen. Also, it can’t flush lactic acid from muscles either. Basically, the pain after an intensive training session remains there, no matter how much massage you’re getting.
On the other side, sport massage applies a moving pressure to muscle, as well as other tissues, like ligaments, tendons, and fascia. Simply put, the energy applied to the body softens fascia tissue and helps muscles relax It also removes adhesions between fascia and muscles, which is great, especially for those who are new to running. Since they put a lot of pressure on limber joints and muscles, this surely comes in handy.
But to answer our initial question, if massage can actually help you improve your running, let’s talk about another science-backed fact. A series of studies discovered that massage after exercise – running, in our case – can reduce the intensity of delayed onset muscle soreness. Or, if you prefer, that peg-legged feeling you get a few days after running for a long distance.
Moving on, another research found less inflammation in massaged limbs, while the recovery in muscle function was up to 60 percent faster. Considering all these, we can say that the answer is ‘yes’. All runners, including beginners, can benefit from sport massage. Getting rid of that soreness that comes immediately after starting a new sport makes people likely to stick with it for a long period.
The good part is that you don’t need a specialized person for this, as you can opt for special foam rollers, allowing you to massage yourself with ease. On the other side, if you prefer specialized massage sessions, Maria’s Professional Massage can offer you the services you need.
Combining the knowledge of professional massage training with customs and practices of her Asian heritage, Maria can help you recover from an intense workout. Schedule an appointment today and get rid of that soreness in your muscles instantly!
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A good massage therapy can always perform a miracle on your body. Reduced pain, stress relief or a general feeling of happiness are just a few benefits of a deep tissue massage. For you to know more and be informed, we’ve prepared a list of advantages this treatment can have for you and your body.
1. Helps in lowering high blood pressure
A deep tissue massage is ideal for people who have to deal with high blood pressure. 45-60 minutes of such threat and you’ve got yourself a viable solution to treat hypertension.
2. Prevents scar tissue
It’s always hard to recover after an accident, both physically and mentally. And the fact that a scar tissue may develop, causing stiffness and uneasiness followed by pain doesn’t help you get back on track. Fortunately, we know a type of massage which can speed up the recovery by reducing inflammation in the affected area.
3. Reduces arthritis symptoms
Arthritis is something that eats you piece by piece, causing chronic joint pains and stiffness. To remove the pain, a firm massage is highly recommended.
4. Treats back pain
In the modern era, where people often spend up to 10 hours sitting at a desk, back pain has become something very common. But with deep tissue massage significantly reducing chronic lower back pain, there’s always a solution. A pleasant one, we would add.
5. Handles labor pain
We don’t need to tell how much pain pregnant women experience, especially if you are or have been in this category. Depression, anxiety, and leg, back pain, you name it. But a deep tissue massage comes like Tom Brady to save the day. Just like the superstar, it can’t always perform a miracle, yet it has enough super powers to make things better.
6. Diminishes fibromyalgia symptoms
Fibromyalgia syndrome is a common disorder that feels like a widespread pain. On short-term, deep tissue massages can ease the pain, but if the symptoms are getting worse, you should consult a specialist.
7. Aids recovery in athletes
Deep tissue massages can do wonders for the body, such as increased blood flow, reduced muscle tension, and an increased sense of well-being. Therefore, it becomes a veritable Fountain of Youth for athletes, with positive effects on recovery and on the severity of muscle soreness.
8. Reduces stress
Starting with our job, friends or even family, everyone and everything can become a stress factor. A deep tissue massage can represent the perfect solution for you to increase the production of a hormone called oxytocin. Why? Because it creates positive emotions, and your social interactions will change for the better.
Our lives have become more stressful and it’s essential for our well-being to find solutions to relieve the pressure that comes with such feelings. Combining professional massage training with Asian heritage, Maria can provide a unique massage experience, one that can help you obtain a healthier body and a fresh mind. Regular massage therapy sessions with her can even change your life in a lot of good ways!
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Many people are unfamiliar with the concept behind a cupping massage today. However, this concept has been around for quite some time. It’s an ancient Chinese way of detoxifying your body, which is why it’s great for anyone who’s suffering from a cold or otherwise has aches and pains in their body. Once you’ve received this non-invasive, truly relaxing massage you’ll actually feel more energized. Oftentimes it’s done right alongside of acupuncture so your body is fully restored to wellness. This is why practitioners really recommend it when you have a cold.
How a Cupping Massage Works
During this massage modality, a practitioner uses several glass or rubber cups. They suction seal these cups in place on your skin. This causes such a strong vacuum that your blood is forced to flow strongly in these affected areas where the cups were applied. At the same time, the cups force your tissue to release any toxins it has. These flow up and out of your body where they’re disposed of in a similar fashion as how acupuncture works. In fact, there’s an old Chinese saying that supports the use of traditional Chinese medicine, “Acupuncture and cupping, more than half of the ills cured,”
Scientific research backs this massage modality, linking it back to the ancient Chinese practice of Chi (energy). The idea here is that your body has thousands of small energy flows. These enrich our lives and keep us healthy. However, when they’re interrupted, we get sick.
The Chinese believe that with cupping you can get the blood flowing and the energy moving again. When this happens your body can start healing its wounds, reducing its infections, and detoxing its tissue. In comparison to many of the detox diets and herbal pill remedies in existence today, cupping is much safer. This is because these diets typically force you to starve yourself to remove the toxins from your body. With this in mind, you can also understand why a cupping massage is also much more relaxing.
Using Cupping Massage for Colds
When your blood flow is strong and you have good energy flowing through your body, it’s easier for your body to respond to invasive bacteria and viruses, such as the common cold. Cupping promotes this type of well-being in your body by removing any toxins in your body. Typically, these toxins would keep your immune system so busy that it couldn’t fight off any foreign invaders. Once they’re removed from your body you start feeling better. You’re also able to ward off any colds.
If you already have a cold when you go for a cupping massage, a strengthened immune system will help shorten the length of your cold. It will also help break up any mucus so it’s easier for you to dislodge. Overall, you’ll feel more comfortable.
Getting Your Massage
This really is a pain-free massage modality. While some people say they felt like a bug bit them sometimes, this isn’t unbearable but it may take you some time to get used to it. After your first few massages you’ll also have some round bruises on your body. However, as your body has less toxins in it, you’ll have less bruises – eventually you’ll have none at all.
There is a large body of articles and various forms of evidence which support the mental and physical benefits of getting massages. The vast majority of these focus on the benefits of receiving a massage, however, a new study suggests that for couples, massaging your partner can have a positive effect for the massager as well as the partner getting the massage. The study from Northumbria University in the UK studied couples over three weeks and found that both giving and receiving them led to reduced stress and increased feelings of wellbeing for both partners.
The popularity of massages continues to grow worldwide with almost one in five getting massages in 2016 in the United States. Of these, about half said it helped alleviate some sort of pain and improved wellness or helped with other issues. About a quarter said it reduced stress too. The majority of these respondents likely got their massages from professionals because that is the typical thing to do with almost 62% of massages getting done at spas, massage parlors, or a physical therapist’s office. This new finding offers perhaps a better way to get massages if both partners are willing. It can be financially beneficial compared to getting them from others and it may also improve intimacy. Learning to properly massage may be a good investment for couples interested in this sort of thing.
Further research should be conducted to verify the findings of this study, which looked at 38 people in 19 couples over 3 weeks. It will be interesting to see if this also extends to non-couples, or whether it is something about the relationship that might be driving the mutual benefits. This is plausible given that couples typically want their partner to be happy and feel good, so seeing them that way may, in turn, help them feel better and happier as well.
This study is the latest in a wide body of new studies which have looked at massages and their impacts in various scenarios from a scientific standpoint. Other studies have looked at things like recovering from athletic events, improvements in mental function, changes in blood flow, and injury recovery time after massages. Larger randomized controlled trials should be conducted in order to verify these results before prescribing them widely in medical practice, but the safety profile is good enough for most people that they can likely get massages (or now give them) and see if they notice a benefit in themselves. It is always optimal to talk to your doctor or physical therapist if you want to see whether massages can have a clinical impact on you if this is possible (although you probably do not need to schedule a special meeting for that unless you have some other condition that makes that a good idea). Massages are growing in popularity for a reason and the trend is likely to continue as research such as this one support the use and as a culture in general starts to better value wellbeing, relaxation, and meditation.
Picture Credit: osteoclinic
Massage is an ancient art that continues to live on and grow in popularity as a type of alternative medicine used to promote wellness. The societal conception is primarily of massages as a method for relaxation, but a growing body of evidence shows that the effects go much deeper than just that. There are many different people who can benefit from regular massages, but one group in particular that can gain a lot of synergies from the soothing activity is athletes.
First of all, massages loosen our muscles and are akin to stretching in many ways. This leads to increased flexibility, which can be important for optimal performance and to reduce risk of injury. Massages should not replace stretching, but the two together likely have a greater impact of injury prevention and performance than either one alone. The stretching of muscle fibers is a big positive.
With the stretching, comes improved blood flow as vessels allow for increased blood to reach the massaged areas. Improved circulation can help with overall oxygenation of the body and can an impact on breathing as well. After the exercise, it can also have impacts on better recovery times. There is even some evidence that massages can help alleviate pain.
The relaxation effects of massages, especially deep tissue massages, can also help with improving sleep. Athletes can increase the quality and quantity of sleep, allowing them to better recharge for the next day and to rebuild their muscles are particularly strenuous outings. The relaxation itself has a great effect too of course. The stress relief is a big plus, especially in athletes who are particularly energetic or “type A”. Massages can help the body and mind relax, which is important for sustainability and optimal performance.
Because of the myriad of health benefits that massages have for athletes, the athletic massage market is expanding rapidly. Massage therapists are increasingly considering the arena (both literally and figuratively!) for their practice as more athletes look for that type of service. The locker rooms of professional sports places are full of massage therapists and this is only bound to expand to lower levels of sport. Athletes increasingly understand the importance of keeping their bodies well-conditioned and the role massages can play in that need. It will be interesting to see where the market heads as this thought permeates the culture of various sports and at all different levels.
A deep tissue massage once a week can help athletes stay in tip-top shape and perform better both physically and mentally. Massage therapists specializing in athletes can be found online or in the phone book. There are many different options and you should do your time on research to make sure you find the right fit for you. It is also possible that your gym or doctor has a recommendation which might work for you. It is all about doing some research, giving it a try, and deciding from there whether they are a good long term option. It could make the difference between a win and a loss.