What comes to mind when you think of a massage? For a long time it has been viewed as a preserve of the wealthy and was provided exclusively in luxury spas. Today, more people have discovered the health benefits of massage and are having it more often. Generally, the masseuse uses his/her hands to rub, press and stroke the skin, muscles, ligaments and tendons. The pressure applied varies according to the purpose of the massage as well as personal preference. The common types of massage include:
- Deep Massage: The strokes used are slow, applying relatively high pressure relatively high pressure to reach the deeper layers of muscles and ligaments. This technique is mostly used when muscles have suffered damage from an injury.
- Swedish Massage: This form is more gentle and is applied to help relax and re energize. The masseuse uses long strokes, circular movements, kneading, tapping and vibration.
- Sports Massage: A gentle massage that targets those involved in sports to help prevent or treat injury.
- Localized Massage: Focused on a specific area where there is muscle tightness resulting from an injury.
Apart from relaxing and energizing you, massage has a good number of health benefits. It is increasingly being recommended alongside conventional medicine. Massage has proved to be an effective remedy for reducing stress, muscle tension, pain, anxiety, insomnia, headaches and soft tissue injuries.
If you’re going for your very first massage session, do you know what to expect? You will be required to undress to the extent that you’re comfortable with. Typically, you lie on a table and cover with a sheet. The masseuse will apply lotion or oil to reduce friction on your skin. She/he will then start with gentle rubbing and stroking motions and proceed to kneading and tapping as necessary.
A massage should be comfortable. Most people doze off during the session due to the soothing sensation. Speak out if the pressure it too much or if you’re experiencing pain in certain areas. A typical session lasts anywhere from 10 to 90 minutes depending on the desired outcome.
Massage is generally safe, but may be discouraged if you have fractures, burns, open wounds or bleeding disorders. Your skin here is too delicate and is likely to be left sore. You can also have it done with the exception of the affected areas. Consult your doctor for professional advice.
It is important to note that massage can be carried out when you’re fully clothed and seated on a chair as opposed to lying down. If you’re the conservative type who is not comfortable undressing for strangers, you can still have a massage. You can also arrange for someone who is close to you to massage you instead of a stranger. Such a person will need to get a basic tutorial, even from the internet, to know what to do. Whichever mode you choose, ensure that you enjoy a massage every once in a while.