Well apparently it is “Everybody Deserves a Massage Week”! First off, I had no idea that this was even a thing, secondly, say no more! Massages as simple as they are, is an amazing tool to have in the self care toolkit.
In its most simplest definition a massage is the act of kneading and rubbing the body with the hands. During a massage pressure is placed on various parts of the joints, muscles and body to release pain + tension. We are talking a physical, emotional and mental type of self-care when it comes to massages.
Massages are much more than just a way to relax or a very fancy rub down. There are countless benefits internally and externally to adding massages to your self care routine.
Benefits of a good rub down
Fights poor posture
For the most part alot of us are dealing with poor posture. I can clearly hear my momma telling me to “stop slouching”lol. Truthfully there are many reasons for poor posture, one of which is beyond our control (genetics), while the others not so much. Stress, work, time on our device (computer, phone) to name just a few, can contribute to poor posture. While massages, do not UNDO all of the damage that we do to our posture on a daily basis, it does help us to fight the damage, especially if we get massages regularly.
Advocate for Circulation
Circulation can not only be increased but it can also be improved with regular body manipulation. Any sort of body kneading can wake up those portions of the body allowing blood to flow more freely. The more the blood is able to flow freely the more overall circulation is improved.
In recent studies, it has been shown there is healing in human touch and connection. At our very core we all want to feel connected in some way, when a massage performed in safe environment it allows for that connection.
Through massage, you are able to release pain and discomfort in the joints + muscles. With this release of pain + increased circulation the body is able to rest fully and deeper. Regular massages can improve your sleep quality.
Immune System Booster
Restful sleep, improved circulation all while boosting moods, gives the immune system its best chance against fighting off colds and bacteria. Through massage lymph nodes are able to drain reducing toxins in the body. The lymph system is part of the immune system that fights infection.
Types of Massages
Things to consider when deciding to go out for a massage. All massages are not created equal. Each type of massage has very specific characteristic + end goal. Be sure to do your research to determine what “Type” of massage would work for you + meet your needs before locating a place for the service.
There are several types of massages that are commonly known, here are 4 that I have had personally and would recommend:
More Than Common
Swedish Massage: Gentle full body massage that is perfect for people newer to massage or are sensitive to touch. Is also very ideal if the goal is relaxation or managing minor discomforts/pain in the body. For this most common type of massage you would be undressed or in your underwear lying under a sheet on a massage table. Typically lasts 60-90 min
Deep Tissue Massage: Full body massage that is a notch above Swedish Massage as far as the amount of pressue that is used. This type of massage is ideal for a more seasoned massage goer and is perfect for individuals who may have on going muscle pain or injury. Typically last 60-90 min
Deep Tissue Massage: Full body massage that is a notch above Swedish Massage as far as the amount of pressure that is used. This type of massage is ideal for a more seasoned massage goer and is perfect for individuals who may have on going muscle pain or injury. This type of massage is not shy, the purpose is to get into those really deep tissues to release pain. Typically last 60-90 min
Less Than Common
Aromatherapy Massage: Includes a combination of essential oils to heighten the massage experience. Essential oils are placed in a diffuser and a diluted amount of oil is added to the body. This is a partial body massage that focuses on the top portion of the body such as the head, shoulders and back. A gentle massage that is known to boost mood, decrease anxiety all while reducing muscle tension and pain. Perfect for people who are looking for emotional healing. If you are sensitive to smells or essential oils, I would avoid this type of massage. This massage is done without clothing. Typically lasts 60-90 min
Lymphatic Drainage Massage: This type of massage focuses specifically on the lymph nodes and removing any sort of fluid build up. The room is typically heated to help with drainage + relaxation. It is important to note that feeling tired and dehydrated after this type of massage is common as the body worked hard to drain + release toxins. Typically last 45-60 min.
Massage + Covid
In reality you may not be running out to get a massage at your local MassageEnvy these days. If I am completely honest, neither am I. But does that mean we have to miss out on Massage Week? Heck No! Whether you are alone or coupled up, here are a few massage ideas to get some of these amazing benefits without the stress of going out. Items you will need: Foam Roller, Tennis Ball +/or essential oils
Head Massage: Great for headaches and to promote hair growth!
How To: Either using a head massager or fingers draw circles all over your scalp from front to back and side to side. Increase the pressure and or size of your circles to your liking. Tip: Add a few drops of essential oils to palms and fingertips before massage to add a touch of aromatherapy to the mix.
Back and leg Massage: Great for mid and lower back pain
How To: Either using a head massager or fingers draw circles all over your How To (back): Lie on your back with feet on the ground, knees shoulder width apart. Place foam roller at the lower back so that it is in a T position (long ways), and begin to roll the foam roller from the lower back up to the midback under shoulder blades. Continue to move back and forth
How To (leg): Lie on the side placing foam roller under the hip and roll down towards the knee. Continue to move back and forth
Foot Massage: Great for cramps in the feet
How To: Take tennis ball to the middle of the foot and begin to roll back and forth going towards the ball of the foot to the heel.
Doing the Work
Truthfully there are so many different ways to care for yourself fully. There really is nothing more important and more neglected than self care. That saying that you cant pour from an empty cup has never been a more accurate statement. Doing what you need to feel good in your mind, body and spirit is a priority that needs to be taken so very serious. No more excuses ok? Homework for this week, add a massage to your self-care check list.