Massage therapy spans a wide variety of therapeutic approaches, working to improve an individual’s health and well-being through a hands-on manipulation of muscles and other soft tissues in the body. Massage takes many forms, from relaxation to energising, deep tissue to pressure point, sports massage to lymphatic drainage.
There are physical as well as mental benefits from massage therapy. On the physical side, it is designed to stretch and loosen muscles, improve blood flow, promote movement of lymph throughout the body, facilitate the removal of metabolic waste resulting from exercise or inactivity, and increase the flow of oxygen and nutrients to cells and tissue. In addition, massage stimulates the release of endorphins — the body’s natural painkiller — into the brain and nervous system.
Mentally, massage therapy provides a relaxed state of alertness, reduces mental stress and enhances the capacity for calm thinking and creativity.
The perception that massage therapy is simply a luxury has rapidly changed as massage has increasingly become accepted as a natural part of a healthy lifestyle. It has been likened to do the same thing to the human body that a tune-up does to a car. Increasingly, clinical research confirms that massage reduces heart rate, lowers blood pressure, increases blood circulation and lymph flow, relaxes muscles, improves range of motion, boosts the immune system and increases endorphins, all of which can enhance any other medical treatments a person may be receiving.
Although massage therapy can benefit just about anyone from the very young to the very old, women who are pregnant should not have certain essential oils used on them during massage. In addition, anyone getting a massage should inform their massage therapist of any conditions such as heart problems, asthma, high blood pressure, allergies or chronic pain.
Today’s fast-paced lifestyle leaves many of us stressed and tired. The healing touch of massage can rebalance the body and mind.
Darla Dilbert is the owner of Eclipze Hair Design & Day Spa and has been a qualified cosmetologist for the past 31 years.