There is nothing better than a relaxing massage to end a hectic day. It can make you forget all kinds of physical and mental stress associated with daily life. A good massage involves kneading and rubbing of critical body muscles and joints with firm hands, fingers, elbows, forearm, feet, knees or with mechanical massage devices. It may sound easy to do, but a good massage therapist is able to quickly identify stiff parts of your body, he or she then relieves the tension in those parts by using different massage techniques.
Pressure is a critical part of every massage, and it can involve a variety of movements and vibrations which can be structured or unstructured, depending on the form of massage therapy. Listen to your body with the kind of pressure you would like applied to during your massage. A good therapist will always work with your massage pressure threshold.
Benefits of Massage
‘Feeling good’ is simply a byproduct of a massage session, think of it as refreshment for the mind, body, and soul. Every type of massage therapy have several benefits, some of which are:
· It can speed up the healing capabilities of the body.
· Increased energy levels.
· Improves circulation.
· Reduces moving or joint pain.
· Excellent for frozen shoulder and neck.
· Provides relief from back pain and Sciatica.
· Enhances the digestive system.
· Cure headaches and migraines.
· Removes blockages that cause pain.
· Effective for stress-related disorders.
· Decreases anxiety and mental tensions.
· Flushes out toxins from the body.
· Induces euphoria.
· Excellent therapy for sport related injuries.
The list can go on and on, so we'll stop here and move on to list some healing massage therapies.
Types of Healing Massage
There is innumerable number of massage techniques available to suit your needs. Here are a few types of massage therapies that have healing benefits:
1) Tui Na
A very popular and effective type of massage is TCM or Traditional Chinese Medicine Massage, its also called Tui Na, which means push and grasp. The aim is to ensure a good flow of Qi/Chi through different hand manipulation techniques applied to critical parts of the body. Acupuncture is part of TCM, but in Tui Na the massage therapist focuses on acupoints and instead of inserting acupuncture needles, the therapist uses his or her hands to relieve stress. Tui Na is similar to osteopathy, where the purpose is to ensure correct alignment of the skeleton, which in turn ensures optimum function of the nerves.
Tui Na is favored by many sportsmen because it offers unique psychological and physiological benefits. If you have watched the 2016 Olympics, you must have noticed that many athletes had multiple reddish circles on their backs. That was a result of Chinese cupping therapy, which is another part of TCM. Cupping is also a celebrity fad with celebrities often seen sporting cupping marks in public. TCM therapies are now a very common and popular among western massage therapists and even chiropractors. Many athletes also end their training sessions with one or another form of massage.
The Japanse Shiatsu massage technique is also based on the TCM principles of encouraging chi flow along the meridian points and centers, the difference from Tui Na being is that it involves using fingers to press the body for healing. Shiatsu is done in loose clothing and can be much more deeper(and painful like Thai Massage) since there was many stretches performed during the course of the treatment.
If you are someone who deeply enjoys and is moved by smells/fragrances, Aromatherapy massage could be the right massage therapy for you. It is a very gentle massage where the therapist uses natural oils, usually essential oils, in your massage lotion, which you get to choose before your massage session. It can sometimes involve inhalation or water immersion.
4) Lymphatic Massage
Often called Lymphatic drainage, Lymphatic drainage massage technique was developed in Germany to encourage drainage of the lymph, which carries waste products away from the tissues back towards the heart. It is a very gentle style of massage, that is not painful. It is often used for patients who have had breast cancer operations, but it can be used by anyone to detoxify the body from accumulation of toxins that cause fatigue, low energy levels and mood swings.
5) Ayurvedic Massage
Ayurvedic Massage is a key element of Ayurvedic therapy, one of the oldest holistic healing system of the world, that has its roots in ancient India. Massage forms part of the Panchakarma which is a fivefold detoxification treatment also involving herbal therapy, and other procedures. Ayurveda usually works at balancing the dominant of the three doshas, (i.e, dominant mind-body types that are a combination of the five elements) that are usually assessed before an individual begins any Ayurveda treatment:
- Vata dosha (space and air)
- Pitta dosha (fire and water)
- Kapha dosha (water and earth)
Our favourite is the head/scalp oil massage. The other kinds of massage offered in Ayurveda are Abhyanga- a general body massage, Elakizhi- uses Medicinal leaves in herbs bundles/compress and Sirodhara- gently pouring liquids/oils over the forehead, There is also Ayurvedic Deep Tissue Massage.
Tips to choose the best massage therapy and get the most out of it.
Firstly it is essential to visit a good and recommended massage therapist/center/spa. The right therapist can do wonders. You can go to the most expensive spa but you will not benefit from the massage if the therapist isn't well training and lacks 'healing hands'. So it can be a trial and error till you get a good therapist.
As to how often you should get a massage, it can be anything from a once/twice a week , and you don’t have to break the bank for a good massage. Even a single once in a blue moon session to relieve your body of trapped stressed can be highly beneficial.
The massage therapy you choose will depend on the kind of massages you prefer and your body resonates to. If you are new to massage, we suggest to go for a more common massage that doesn’t involve too much pressure and muscle manipulation, this way you can find out how your body reacts to that particular therapy.
Why do we sometimes get tired or sick after a massage?
A massage is one of the the best ways to relax, it leaves you feeling energetic, healed, rejuvenated, refreshed, calm and younger in just a single session. But for some people, it can leave you drained and tired. Sometimes it can even cause flu like symptoms. There is no need to panic if this happens, in fact it is a sign that your body is releasing the toxins that you body has accumulated over a period of time.
We'd like to end this post with Buddha's quote:
'The body is precious. It is our vehicle for awakening. Treat it with care'
Check out our posts on Apps for Meditation, Mindfulness and Yoga.
Also read our article on Tai Chi