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The Power of Massage

Massage therapy has been around for a long time, and while most people think of this as a personal treat, the benefits deem it a worthy of inclusion in regular health regimens. Experts have estimated that upwards of 90% of disease and illness are stress related. While eliminating stress altogether is nearly impossible in such a fast-paced world, it is possible to manage it with a bit of therapeutic and pleasurable massage.

Massage therapy relieves people by:

  • alleviating back pain
  • enhancing immunity by stimulating the lymph flow, which is the body's natural defense system
  • exercising or stretching weak, tight, or atrophied muscles
  • improving the condition of skin
  • increasing joint flexibility
  • lessening depression and anxiety
  • promoting tissue regeneration and helping reduce scar tissue and stretch marks
  • improving circulation by pumping oxygen and nutrients into tissues and vital organs
  • relaxing and softening injured, tired, and overused muscles
  • releasing endorphins
  • relieving migraine pain

This is just a short list of the many benefits of massage therapy and the more frequently you go, the more benefits you can enjoy. Finding time and money to improve health should be a priority. Regular visits could improve such things as sleep quality, energy, concentration, and reducing fatigue.

A typical session will vary from therapist to therapist. If you are new to massage therapy, the therapist will require you to fill out a health form that tells them if you have any serious illnesses that prevent them from providing a massage, as massage can aggravate certain illnesses and conditions. They will also usually ask the purpose of the massage so that they can develop a session that works for you.

Once you have completed the health form, the therapist will lead you to a comfortable room. The room will be warm and there will likely be relaxing music playing. If you like, there can also be aromatherapy candles and scents used, so the room may smell of these fragrances. The therapist will then tell you that they are leaving the room and ask that you disrobe to your level of comfort. Some people prefer to be completely nude, while others prefer to wear some undergarments. The therapist will then tell you to lie face down on the bed and he or she will knock before reentering the room.

The bed is fitted with warm blankets and a sheet for modesty. Once the therapist reenters the room, they will only uncover the section of the body being worked on. A good therapist will know when they have exerted too much pressure and can ease up a little; however, it is always best to let the therapist know if they do something that is uncomfortable. Some therapists will ask if you prefer silence or conversation. Those new to massage therapy may feel a little nervous with the close contact and conversation can help make them more comfortable, while others may want to cut out the pleasantries so they can lie back and enjoy. Just be sure to let the therapist know which you prefer and you will be able to receive the kind of massage that perfectly suits your needs.

Once the massage is completed, the therapist will again leave the room and allow you to redress. It is very important that you drink plenty of water after a massage. Along with the helpful benefits, massage therapy breaks up toxins that settle into the muscles and drinking plenty of water will help get them out of the system.

There are several types of massage available. Finding the right one depends on the specific benefits you want to achieve. The most common is therapeutic massage, which works the muscles for relaxation and stress relief. This usually consists of lighter strokes and pressure but can have increased pressure for tighter muscles. Other types of massage include deep tissue, reflexology, and desert or warm stone massage. As there are so many, it is best to discuss which one is right for you with your therapist.

No matter which type of massage you choose and what your personal preferences may be, one thing remains certain: nothing beats a good massage. So whether you want a massage for physical or mental reasons, you should be able to bask in the relaxation and receive a treat for the mind, body, and spirit.

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