Massage Therapy: An amazing stress buster

Massage therapists typically use their hands and fingers for massage but may also use their forearms, elbows and even feet. Massage may range from light st…

Always enjoyed the nice, relaxing oil head massage that your grandmother gave you when you were in school; or those quick neck massages from your spouse after a long day of work? Feels really nice doesn’t it, and you always ask for five minutes more. Have you wished for nice long ones? We all enjoy the occasional massage and usually long for that one hour of complete muscle relaxation and stress busting at a spa or massage parlor. After the daily rush-rush routine, we need a break, but usually we aren’t sure if it’s really worth the hard earned money.

Let’s have look at how massages can do you good and take all that stress away…

What is a massage?

As a methodical manual application of pressure and movement to the soft tissue of the skin, muscles, tendons and ligaments; massages get curing by encouraging the flow of blood and lymph, alleviating tension, stimulating nerves, and loosening or stretching muscles and connective tissue to maintain them flexible. In general, massage can concern the entire body, but it has a major influence in the activity of the musculoskeletal, circulatory, lymphatic, and nervous systems.

Massage therapists typically use their hands and fingers for massage but may also use their forearms, elbows and even feet. Massage may range from light stroking to deep pressure techniques.

Why is it good to get a massage?

Massage is generally considered part of complementary and alternative medicine. It’s increasingly being offered along with standard treatment for a wide range of medical conditions, situations and weight loss programs.

While more research is needed to confirm the benefits of massage, some studies have found massage helpful for:

  • Managing anxiety and depression
  • Stress relief
  • Pain
  • Stiffness
  • Blood pressure control
  • Infant growth
  • Sports-related injuries
  • Boosting immunity
  • Cancer treatment
  • Muscle toning

Massages are beneficial whether done as a onetime luxury or on a regular basis.

Ashok Kumar Gurukkal, therapist at and proprietor of Indian Ayurvedic Health Centre says, “Sometimes wrong postures, or some minor falls may give you constant pain that does not go away. In such cases you need to take a course of specific massages to help relieve you of the pain. But if you just need a massage to relax yourself then they can be taken as and when you please to rid yourself of the stress.”

Different areas of massages:

Massage also stimulates the release of toxins from the body; they also increase endorphins which are the body’s natural pain killers.

Other than a full body massage there are other body parts that are specially massaged for certain benefits.

  • Foot massage – Massage on the feet can be the ultra-relaxation zone for many people. feet. Reflexology is based on the theory that the body has 10 zones, ending on the bottom of the feet and hands. These zones correspond to different parts and organs in the body. By pressing and massaging these zones on the feet in a particular order, they affect other parts of the body within that zone. You can avail foot massages when getting a pedicure too, from your local parlor.
  • Hand\arm massage – Everything that we do requires our hands and arms. These limbs are the hardest working parts of our body. those people who work a lot with their hands, their palms will be extra tight. Over time the muscles that run through the palms of your hands can become shortened from repetitive overuse. It’s always beneficial to stretch these muscles. Plus, receiving massage on the palms of the hands is surprisingly relaxing.
  • Neck massage – Lots of muscle tissue covers the anterior, lateral, and posterior neck. This area holds tension and the stress may be more than you realize. The lateral side of the neck is as commonly massaged as the posterior or back of the neck. The area that gets left out, mostly due to uneducated fingers is the anterior or front of the neck. Many massage therapists are taught to stay away from the front of the neck because of the arteries and nerves that run through the area. Find a therapist with an educated touch because the anterior neck muscles when released can cure headaches, thoracic outlet syndrome, and numbness down the arms or in the fingers.
  • Scalp\head massage – The scalp may be the single most overlooked holding area of stress. Massaging the scalp can help headaches. The busy muscle of your forehead when massaged is very sedating to the nervous system. Try massaging your own scalp next time you need a stress buster in the middle of your day or when applying oil to your head. Hook your fingertips in with enough pressure to move the skin over the underlying bone. A scalp massage clubbed with oil application can do wonders to relax you and helps blood circulation to your hair roots, which improves hair quality.
  • Back\ lower back massage – Severe damage, stress, strain or inflammation to any or all of the joints in our lower back could lead to lower back pain. A good lower back massage helps to relax, loosen up tight muscles and relieve stress. This massage improves blood circulation which removes muscle soreness. A Relaxed set of muscles lead to improved range of motion.
  • Face massage – There are over 30 pairs of muscles in the face alone like muscles that make us smile, frown, move our eyebrows, squint our eyes, purse our lips, etc. The face also has the ever overworked muscle of the jaw. This muscle is the strongest muscle of our body relative to its size. We are all aware that we use this muscle while we talk, laugh, eat, drink, etc. But it is also contracted when people grind their teeth during times of stress. Notice next time you’re late and sitting in traffic if you are clenching your jaw. It lies over the hinge of the jaw where we open and close our mouth. TMJ syndrome (a joint disorder) is commonly treated by massaging the jaw among others. The temples are also pressure points in our face and massaging them can help ease your mind. The next time you have a headache you can try massaging your temples in rhythmic circles.

“In India most of the people’s pains are seasonal. During the warmer seasons, due to already good blood circulation and body heat, pain in muscles and joints are less. But in the winter or especially the monsoons body stiffness and joint pain are more commonly experienced. Hence it is recommended that people get massages in such climates to promote blood circulation and body flexibility.” says Mr. Gurukkal.

Which one do you need?

All of us have different kinds of routines and job profiles. Some people are required it sit in one place for ten hours a day, while others are expected to run around with a lot of physical strain. Many travel in inappropriate footwear or heavy bags affecting specific areas. We all may not necessarily need a full body massage. Sometimes importance to specific areas is required to help ease either our physical fatigue, or mental fatigue, or both.

Depending on what body part strains you the most, you need a massage to relax those muscles.

For e.g. desk bound jobs require sitting at a place for a longer duration. Lower back is therefore subjected to over exertion. Some people have faulty sitting postures while some are not able to exercise. All this leads to weakness in the spinal or lower back area. Hence, lower back pain is a common complaint and for such kind of individuals a lower back massage or full back massage is advisable. To know more about Massage Therapy: An amazing stress buster

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