Why massage IS good for you
A potted history
Massage has been around for centuries and evidence has been found that massage has been used in the ancient civilisations of Rome, Greece, India, Japan, China, and Egypt and dates back to 3000BC. It is an ancient practice that is more than relevant to today’s stressful society and is recognised in modern times as a genuine form of healing, pain and stress relief even in its most basic form.
What is it all about?
Massage therapy is, in its fundamental form, the laying on of hands to skin and stimulating, through, different levels of pressure the muscles, tendons, ligaments and connective tissue that knit our bodies together. Regular massage benefits our whole being, as hormones such as dopamine and serotonin, which have a relaxing effect on your mood are released and stress hormones like cortisol are reduced along with adrenaline and noradrenaline. The benefits of massage for managing stress relief should not be underestimated and it is a recognised, and encouraged therapy recommended by many GP’s and counsellors for sufferers.
Massage also influences both our lymphatic (managing the blood circulation) and muscular systems by regulating and improving blood circulation, regenerating tissues, breaking up adhesions and ‘knots’ (stiff rigid bands of tissue), strengthening the immune system and of course reducing stress. There are many other health benefits to regular massage, and many clients who have no physical or mental conditions benefit hugely from the overall wellbeing effect of time for themselves and utter relaxation of their body.
Which Massage Therapist?
It is important to do some research and talk to the therapist either on the telephone or in person before booking a treatment or a course of treatments. This is even more important if you have a specific medical condition that you are under the care of your GP for. The therapist will be able to advise you on the treatments they offer and which ‘type’ of therapy suits you (There are many ‘types’ of massage out there, including Swedish massage, Deep tissue massage, Hot stone massage, Aromatherapy massage, Acupressure etc). Don’t be afraid to ask questions. In fact the more the better as this will allow the therapist to start to get a picture of what your complaint and expectations are and what you will need at the session(s) to get the most out of your time.
Make sure that your therapist is a member of a recognised, registered body. Massage Therapists can belong to a number of national organisations including The Guild of Holistic Therapists (under the umbrella of The Guild of Beauty Therapists http://www.beautyguild.com/) and The Federation of Holistic Therapists (http://www.fht.org.uk). Therapists belonging to governing bodies will have insurance and be trained to national standards. This is important! Telford also has its own network called The Telford Therapy Network (http://www.telfordtherapynetwork.co.uk/). It is a self governing local network of professionals where all members are vetted to ensure high professional standards are met and the members work together to provide a holistic approach to health.
What should you expect from a massage therapy session?
You should be prepared to spend a good 15 minutes with your therapist at the start of the session to give a medical history. He/she will evaluate the information you give about your physical condition, medical history, lifestyle, stress levels, allergies, medications and any areas of physical pain. This information will be used to structure your session and is in addition to your ‘therapy time’. For example, if you have booked a 30 minute back, neck and shoulder Swedish massage, expect to be there for at least 50 minutes to include the consultation time prior to the treatment. If you have any worries or questions, now is the time to ask. The therapist should welcome any questions or concerns you may have and be in a position to talk them through with you.
The therapist will leave the room for you to undress to the level needed for your massage. They are very sensitive to preserving your modesty and blankets or towels are used to cover your body apart from the area being massaged. If you are uncomfortable at any time do let your therapist know. Therapists use carrier oils (such as grape seed or sunflower oil) or lotions during the massage to enable a good movement and reduce ‘drag’ on the skin during the therapy. Relaxing music is normally played, and if your idea of relaxing and the therapists are different, tell them so that something more suited to your tastes can be played. Depending on your type of massage therapy treatment it is normal for your therapist not to talk except to check that the level of pressure is right for you. They will want to encourage you to totally relax and be peaceful. However, at anytime you are not comfortable do let them know. This is your time to be looked after, so don’t be quiet if you are not happy about something.
After the session the therapist will allow you time to ‘come to’ and get dressed in privacy. Be careful to keep your movements slow and gentle following a massage as your body should be in a relaxed state and tumbles can occur. Massage stimulates your metabolism so be ready to drink lots of water and keep hydrated following a session. Your therapist will talk through some aftercare pointers with you following the session but the most important thing to do is to try and rest and relax.
About the author
Janine Loach MGHT is a Massage Therapist specialising in Swedish massage, hot stone massage and aromatherapy massage and has a therapy practice in Lawley Village, Telford. www.lightharmony.co.uk Janine is also a proud member of The Best of Telford and Wrekin (http://www.thebestof.co.uk/local/telford-and-wrekin/business-guide/feature/light-harmony-holistic-therapy-massage-telford/89466/summary)
Member since: 23rd June 2012
Passionate about therapeutic holistic massage and aromatherapy. I have a Therapeutic massage practice in Lawley Village, Telford and am really proud to be a member of The Best of Telford and Wrekin. www.lightharmony.co.uk