Hands up if you’ve ever had a massage? Did you love it? Never had one before? Massage has so many wonderful benefits for both the mind and the body. But what IS it? And what does it actually DO? Read on to find out…..
Massage is considered a “complementary therapy” in that it can be used alongside other traditional therapies and allopathic medicines or treatments. I personally do not use the term “alternative medicine” (though some people do) as this implies that it is an alternative to western or allopathic medicine, and I’m a firm believer in collaborating with health practitioners to get the best outcome for a client.
One of the core principles of complementary therapies (or natural medicine) is that as practitioners we look to treat the whole person and not just the presenting symptoms. We also believe that prevention is better than cure, and that it is our job to teach you how to lead healthier and happier lives. We don’t want to just fix you up when you come in and leave you to go back and break again. We want you to get better!
So what is massage? Massage is a tactile therapy. Tactile refers to the sense of touch – and it can be defined as the physical manipulation of a body’s soft tissues to improve a person’s health and wellbeing. The benefits of massage are numerous, and they include reducing stress and muscular tension, improving vascular and lymphatic circulation throughout the body, reducing pain, and improving mental and emotional wellbeing.
There are two types of massage that people are generally familiar with.
Remedial Massage: Remedial massage is usually aimed at addressing a specific area of tightness or pain in the body. The treatment consists of assessing for neuro-musculoskeletal dysfunctions, and then formulating a treatment plan where a variety of advanced techniques are utilised. The primary aims of remedial massage are to reduce or prevent pain and restore or promote motion of the affected areas. You may also be given stretches or other aftercare suggestions to further reduce your pain or tightness and prevent the issue from recurring.
Relaxation/Swedish Massage: The main purpose of Swedish massage is to relax the body and mind, improve your mental or emotional state and reduce stress and overall body tension by soothing and loosening the soft tissues. The techniques used in Swedish massage are firm but gentle, with slow gliding strokes and light to moderate pressure depending on the client’s preference. The lighting is kept low and quiet music may also be played to aid relaxation. If at all possible, it’s a great idea to go home and chill out after a massage to really get the full benefit.
Think about the people closest to you, in your family or workplace. How many would you say are experiencing some form of stress? Most? Massage is a therapy that can be helpful for almost everyone, and is very beneficial as part of a long term treatment plan to manage stress levels and improve mental and emotional health.
Is your body telling you that it could benefit from some de-stressing and tension-easing? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 9293 2999 to book a relaxation massage right away!
Casanelia L, Stelfox D. Foundations of Massage: Elsevier Australia; 2009.
Photo credit: Hernan Sanchez, http://www.unsplash.com