There are many reasons why we should all see a professional massage therapist. A good massage reduces stress, improves sleep, helps manage certain kinds of pain, some say it can detoxify your cells and many believe it can also strengthen the immune system. I can not speak to the last two benefits but I can testify that I have reaped the rewards of massage and would recommend it to anyone.
If I could afford it, I would get a massage once a week. Much like talk therapy, a massage in the hands of a professional can help to melt away stress. If you have a bond with your therapist it is even better as you can truly relax and not think about the touch and focus on deep breathing, the soothing smells and the tranquil sounds. As it is I get a massage every few months. It used to be once every month but I fell out of love with one of my massage therapists. My favorite masseur lives 4 hours away so I get what I get. In between, I use a shiatsu machine and a massage mat and rub my own feet and hands.
Massage has helped me alleviate neck/back pain from a compressed disc. It has helped me heal from pain associated with healing from a C section. It has helped me with headaches and shoulder pain. You may think that it is counterintuitive to have someone touch your sore muscles but massage helps to reduce pain by increasing healing and disturbing pain signals that are sent to the brain. Hands and fingers create fiction – friction increases blood flow – oxygen and nutrients are carried with the blood all the while while he/she/they work out the knots in overworked muscles and fascia. Athletes swear by massage so you might want to look into it.
Many of you drink antioxidant teas or a lot of water to flush out the toxin that gets built up in our bodies. It is believed by many that physical stimulation created by massage also helps to detox your body. When they knead your muscles and skin, it helps to dissolve and eliminate toxin buildup in the tissues. They go into your blood stream and then you excrete them. I always have to go to the bathroom after a massage even if I went before. It also causes me to cough up/spit up phlegm. I breathe easier and my head does not feel so “heavy”. Is this proof? No idea. I just know I feel pretty damn good afterward.
Does it sound like a bunch of hooey? Like anything in our society there are some aspects that are riddled with quackery. So you want to make sure you know your therapist. There are a lot of chains that hire people who barely have the basic knowledge of massage and they are money making traps. You want to make sure that your therapist was trained by an accredited school. You want to make sure he/she/they is an ethical person. Some massage therapists are wanna be “doctors” that never bothered to go to college. Beyond that you have to decide for yourself what you are willing to believe. No one but a medical doctor should be diagnosing any disease or ailment. However, if your therapist sees a mole on a part of your body that you did not know you had, it would be good to follow up with a dermatologist.
All I know is that a good massage makes me feel BETTER. The essential oils he uses calms me and makes the environment pleasant. The music he plays helps me to forget where I am and just focus on my breathing. He talks only when I talk. He is a consummate professional and a great listener. My joints and muscles are often stiff and sore before a massage and afterward my movements are easier and I always get a great night of sleep. Choose your therapist carefully and remember that everyone will have opinions. Massage is not a miracle but it is a really nice practice to add to your health/mental health care regime.