Speaking figuratively, you can massage your boss's ego to win favor. Clinically speaking, however, massage combines rubbing muscles with the manual manipulation of joints to provide therapeutic results. If you work a desk job or spend long hours in a seated position, then the latter definition of massage will do you much more good than the first.
Release Trigger Points, Align Posture and More: Top Reasons to Get a Massage
- Posture Alignment - Tensely contracted muscles, pull the skeletal system out of alignment. Massage therapy promotes muscle relaxation, allowing the body to restore proper, natural alignment.
- Relieve Muscle Tension - Trigger points (sensitive spots in the muscles and soft connective tissues (fascia)) cause pain on site and elsewhere in the body (referred pain). Massage therapy helps release these points of tension.
- Reduce Anxiety - Massage has also been shown to release mood-boosting endorphins, reducing anxiety.
- Improve Circulation - Massage's sweeping motion creates a vacuum effect throughout the body, encouraging the circulation of the cardiovascular system and the lymphatic system. This means more oxygen delivery, expelled toxins and reduced inflammation.
So Many Options! Choose the Right Massage for You
An ancient practice, massage therapy comes in different varieties and techniques. The type of massage that's best for you depends on your condition and health goals.
Swedish - Uses long strokes, kneading, tapping and friction to release muscles. Relieves muscle cramps and stress.
Deep Tissue - Massage therapist applies pressure to release tension located deep in muscle tissues. This type of massage can be somewhat painful and can leave you feeling like you've had a workout, but it delivers powerful results. Best for lasting relief from specific trouble spots.
Sports - This type of massage combines several massage techniques to focus therapy on muscle groups related to an athlete's physical activity and sport. Great for preparing for competition, recovery, preventing sports-related injuries and treating injuries.
Hot Stone - These massages use heated stones to work muscles and soft tissues, while delivering relaxation-encouraging heat. Best for extreme muscle tension.
Trigger Point - Massage therapist applies deep pressure to usually only a few specific spots to release tension throughout the local area or muscle group. Best for individuals with trouble spots.
Neuromuscular Therapy - A more specific type of trigger point massage, neuromuscular therapy applies pressure to muscle spasms to release tension and improve circulation. Best for addressing posture problems and injuries.
Chair - Works the upper back, shoulders and neck, but does not address the whole body like other massages. Best for headaches and localized muscle tension.
Is Massage Therapy Right for You?
Remember that your massage therapist is likely not a physical therapist or medical doctor. Massage therapy does have some contraindications (conditions which make it unsafe). These include:
- Fever, bacterial infection or viral illness
- Open wounds
- Certain injuries
- Rheumatoid arthritis flare-ups
- Certain cancers
If you have existing medical conditions, you should ask your doctor about massage therapy before scheduling an appointment.
After a long week working behind a desk or a days of seated travel, a massage can leave you feeling refreshed, rejuvenated and ready for whatever life brings you next. So, go ahead, treat yourself and get that soothing massage. You know you deserve it and your body will thank you for it too!