Generally when people think of the word 'massage' they associate it with 'luxury', 'indulgence' and 'pampering'. It's seen as a treat, and something people may allow themselves once or twice a year. The notion that massage is 'just an indulgence' is not true. The benefits of massage are endless and something very few people are aware of. Massage can help with balancing emotions, anxiety, circulatory issues, joint and muscle pain, insomnia and much more. It is important that we share the benefits of massage with our clients and teach them that massage should be much more than a little 'treat' every now and then. Regular massages help to establish and maintain good health and wellness. From a client's perspective, understanding this can make the difference between returning on a regular basis vs once or twice a year.
It's easy to see why massage is commonly described as a luxury; it makes you feel amazing! I love a good massage as much as the next person. That feel-good emotion that we all love is due to the release of endorphins that produce a feeling of wellbeing, whilst stress causing hormones such as adrenalin, cortisol and norepinephrine are reduced. Cortisol is a stress hormone and unfortunately when you feel anxious, your body pumps out even more of it, fuelling your stress levels and causing them to rise. For people who suffer with depression, a massage can be hugely beneficial. Massage therapy helps the body relax by relieving muscle tension and therefore the mind can also relax. Whilst massage is not a long term or sole treatment for depression or anxiety, it can help to temporarily alleviate some of the symptoms, leaving sufferers feeling happier, energised and full of endorphins.
While many people may not be aware of how massage can help on an emotional level, most people are fairly aware of how good a massage can be for your body. Aches and pains in muscles and joints is one of the most common reasons people book in for a massage. These days we are much more 'deskbound' than we used to be. Many careers require you to sit at a desk all day long, even as a therapist, we stand on our feet all day long and the most movement we get is walking between clients. It doesn't matter what career you are in, a repetitive routine and minimal movement will always be taxing on our bodies. Sitting or standing in the same position all day means our muscles don't get the blood flow they need, resulting in them being stiff, sore and achy. There are even studies that link sitting all day to cancer, and it's more prevalent in woman. Luckily regular massages can somewhat counteract the imbalance and side effects.
A simple massage can alleviate neck, shoulders and back pain and improve blood flow. Improving the flow of the circulatory and lymphatic systems, allows the body to deliver oxygen and nutrients to other areas of the body and remove toxins more efficiently, leaving our bodies feeling cleansed.
Having your body feeling relaxed and de-stressed is also very important when it comes to getting a good night's rest. And when it comes to functioning properly, rest and quality sleep is vital to ones wellbeing! According to the Centres for Disease Control (CDC): "Insufficient sleep is associated with a number of chronic diseases and conditions—such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression—which threaten our nation's health." It is quiet concerning, the effects sleep deprivation can have on our lives. Massage helps the production of serotonin, which is essential for the production of melatonin. What is melatonin you ask? Good question. Melatonin is a hormone that is produced by the pineal gland in the brain. It basically helps control our body clock so we can function properly during the day and sleep properly at night. Most people's melatonin level starts to go up about two hours before they go to sleep. Melatonin tablets can be purchased; they are typically used by people suffering from insomnia or people who travel internationally to help with jet lag. While these tablets are an option, there is a natural way to go about increasing your melatonin levels, and that is through massage therapy. It the perfect drug free alternative for people who struggle with insomnia.
As you can see there is much more to massage than it just being a 'yearly indulgence'. Massages are a necessity, not a luxury our clients should feel guilty about spending their pennies on. These are just a hand full of examples that demonstrate the power massage can have on our health and wellbeing, it is important to educate yourself and your clients further so they can maximise the health benefits and you can maximise your business!
I often list the potential range of benefits, dependent on the choice of massage techniques, atmosphere and therapist skills, as follows:
Physical benefits :
- A source of external energy for your body
- Stimulation of internal energies
- Reduced oedema, cellulite and improved lymphatic drainage, which helps fight disease and infection
- Prevention of colds, headaches, migraines
- Improved immune system function
- Stimulation of internal organs such as the lungs, kidneys, and brain
- Improved diaphragmatic muscles, leading to deeper breathing into the stomach
- Increased peristaltic (colonic) flow, improving waste removal
- Removal of toxins and waste products from body tissues, for example lactic acid from aching muscles after exercise
- Improved supply of oxygen and nutrients, feeding body tissues
- Increased blood circulation
- Improved hair condition
- Improvement of skin colour, suppleness and resistance to infection
- Desquamation (shedding of old skin)
- Improved posture
- Relaxation and prevention of hard, contracted muscles, tight knots and adhesions
- Stretching and broadening of muscle tissue, improving muscle tone
- Warmth for the body
- Positive effects on serotonin, which is vital for a good night's sleep, endorphins which regulate pain, and dopamine, which affects our ability to feel pleasure
- The stress hormone cortisol, is also significantly reduced during massage
- Reduction in stress, anxiety and depression
- A calmer, serene, more laid back approach
- A feeling of well being and a positive attitude
- Promotion of body health awareness, enhancement of self-esteem and image
- Eased emotional expression
- Improved concentration and clarity of thought
- An invigorating, tingling, refreshing glow
- Comfort and relaxation
I wish you and your clients well.
Please visit my website for to experience massage treatments such as Hot Stone Massage, Lomi Lomi Massage, Thai Yoga Massage, Indian Head Massage, Sports Massage, Ayurvedic Massage, Balinese Massage, Relaxing or Deep Tissue Massage, Facial Massage, Acupressure and Aromatherapy Massage, or to learn how to massage with a professional massage training course or an amateur practical massage course.