Here in Israel, you undeniably work hard, really hard – each and every day. The list of ways you are constantly pushing yourself to your limits is endless. It starts with dropping your kids off at multiple locations (while dragging other kids along), then it’s on to lugging groceries from the store to the bus, and of course, hiking up another hill, then trying to do yet another load of laundry, and all while bending down to pick up all the toys and garbage spread all over the floor. The list goes on and on and on. All the while you are constantly taxing your body and brain. But how often do you tune into the wear and tear that you are feeling? How often do you push through and ignore the aching back, sore shoulders, and stress?
Massage therapy allows you to address those mental and physical strains that you experience every day. Massage therapy provides relief from common aches and pains that result from all that time spent leaning over computers, sitting at your desks, all the heavy lifting, and standing on your feet all day.
So, what is a massage?
A simple explanation is – putting pressure against your skin, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. There is a wide range of massages from light to deep pressure. The most common messages include the Swedish Massage, a gentle massage that usually is comprised of long strokes, and deep movement, as well as kneading. This helps improve circulation and feel more energized, focused, and relaxed; Deep Tissue Massage, which as its name implies, is a stronger deeper manipulation of skin and muscles. It targets the deeper layers of muscle and tissue and it is used mostly for injured muscles; Trigger Point Massage which focuses on the areas of tight muscle fibers which is caused by a buildup of stress and strain on that area.
So… what does this mean for you?
Fascia and muscles are moved and manipulated during a massage which results in your nervous system being relaxed. This triggers a snowball effect – the relaxation of the nervous system leads to a decrease in heart rate, lowered blood pressure, and changes your brain activity.
Practically this translates into many benefits:
Relieving anxiety – When your body is in high-stress mode, you are constantly running on adrenaline. But maintaining that state can cause serious stress and anxiety, both mentally and physically. A massage helps your body rejuvenate and relieve that stress and anxiety.
Improve sleep – If you let your nervous system slow down, the rest of your body can slow down as well. You will be amazed at how you can finally rest calmly.
Reduce tiredness – You may think you’re tired because of the lack of sleep, however, it can also be due to always running around in a high-pressure state, causing your internal body to work overtime. By giving your internal organs a break, you will feel so much more energized. In addition, you are helping your blood circulate better, which means allowing more oxygen to get to where it is desperately needed. You are finally giving your body a much-needed breath of fresh air!
There are many additional benefits as well including relieving chronic lower and upper back pain, reducing stress, flushing out toxins, and helping build your immunity. Studies show that even a twenty-minute massage on a weekly basis can have long-lasting effects and that the body is able to tap into the full benefits of a massage.
Most pre and post-natal women are under constant strain and stress, resulting in many aches and lowered immunity. Massage therapy gives you the boost you need. As stress levels are reduced, your quality of life then increases, allowing for you to be a happier, healthier, and more productive person, as you now have the energy you need to keep going.
Are there risks?
Generally speaking, most people can enjoy great benefits from a massage, however, if you suffer from any blood disorders, broken bones, or infections then you should consult a doctor before going for a massage. If you are pregnant then you should consult with your doctor as well. It is normal to feel sore the next day. If at any point during your massage, something doesn’t feel right or is painful, speak up right away. Most serious problems come from too much pressure during massage. By going to a licensed massage therapist, you can trust that your massage therapist has been trained to constantly ensure you are comfortable and will not apply too much pressure. Licensed massage therapists are trained to consider all aspects of your health and current state. If your therapist begins by taking a survey of your anatomy, mental and physical status, especially while expecting, you can rest assured that he/ she likely knows what to do. If not, then there is likely a cause for concern and you are probably better off by not continuing with that massage therapist.
Any notion that a massage is just a feel-good pamper should be disregarded. Massages can be a powerful tool to help you take charge of your health and well-being, and this is whether you have a specific health condition or you need to be relieved of the constant stress. Massage therapy brings body awareness that ultimately helps improves your quality of life. That is not a luxury.
Layah Stein is a licensed massage therapist on the border of Ramat Eshkol and Sanhedria. She specializes in pain relief and relaxation, especially postnatal achiness. Layah Stein only accepts female clientele. She can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call at 0534190921.