The Benefits of Massage

Hi everyone

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter. It was my first vegan easter, and there weren’t really Easter eggs for us 😦 but we still ate some yummy dark chocolate. Next year though, I will be making our own Easter eggs. Church was lovely and it was a beautiful day outside, quite hot for autumn, so I took advantage of it by walking to and from church.

I have been thinking about doing this post for a while now, ever since I went and got a massage last month. While I can’t ever relax enough while a stranger is touching me enough to actually fall asleep (I’ve heard some people do fall asleep), I still do feel incredibly relaxed and it does feel so good.

The only problem this time was that because of the way my face was sitting in that massage bed hole, (if you go for those massages where you lie on the bed, you know what I’m talking about), I ended up walking through the mall with a slight indent in my noticeably pink forehead :p Honestly though, I couldn’t care. I felt great!

Why you should get a massage- It’s not just because it feels good.

Yes, massages, when done by a skilled masseuse, is so good. Even if it hurts, it hurts so good… except that one Chinese massage I got, that really hurt, and it definitely didn’t feel good during or after. My muscles felt as if I had done a few days of hardcore exercise and really needed to walk it off.

If you go to a place that is disreputable or have one of your friends walk on your back or something, you can end up with much worse. This is why I say “skilled” masseuse. Though there is absolutely nothing wrong with a nice massage from someone who isn’t a pro, it’s all about the way you go about it.

Massages do the following:

  • Relieve tension in the muscles
  • Help your body to get rid of toxins
  • Increases blood circulation
  • Reduces stress, depression, and anxiety
  • Relieves pain

If you enjoy exercising, a massage can really help your stiff muscles feel better and just work out any kinks that might have formed over time from training. If you have poor posture, you might find that your back hurts due to your muscles not being used as they should and becoming imbalanced. Massages can help with easing the pain.

Even if you have pain due to a condition like ankylosing spondylitis or sciatica, you may find massages helpful when done by a professional trained to be able to help with these kinds of conditions.

Everyone needs to relieve stress

I am, unfortunately for myself, a highly strung person. I stress over the smallest things and I am my own worst critic. Even if you are not a highly strung person, life still takes its toll. Traffic, standing in queues, looking after the kids, work, deadlines, finances, tests, relationships, etc, are a constant in many of our lives.

There are simple things that you can do to relieve stress, even simply having fun helps. But sometimes you need to get rid of all the tension and knots that form in your muscles. If you can’t afford to go for a massage, not to worry, here are some tips to de-stress on a budget. You can also try self-massage.

Self-massage tips

  • Try a tennis ball. If you enjoy foot massages, roll a tennis ball under your feet. I carry tension in my shoulders so I stand with the tennis ball between my back and the wall and just move around so that my shoulders and upper back get massaged. Just don’t do it too long. Once I did an hour on each side and ended up feeling bruised the next day.
  • Use your hands: You can easily massage your own hands, legs, feet, face, head, shoulders, and neck. Just use your thumbs or fingers depending on where you massage to apply pressure in a circular motion or long strokes. You can even gently grab your muscles and squeeze, this is quite effective for your shoulders.
  • Acupressure: This may sound very woo woo to some people, but it can actually help. I haven’t found that it really helped for headaches or anything, but it’s great for relieving tension and instead of using needles you use your hands. I like using these pressure points for my shoulders and neck. Just be careful if you are pregnant or have varicose veins.

Massages and intimacy

Massages can be great for showing affection and building intimacy between couples.It’s not necessarily about sex, because it doesn’t have to go there, but it just can be a way to show that you care and want to do something nice for your partner to help them relax, ease their aches and pains, or pamper them.

Massages are not just for couples

Massages don’t need to be intimate, otherwise, we’d all be in trouble at one point or another when going for a massage. Once again, it can be something nice to do for someone you care about, trust, and feel comfortable with.

My Oupa, Ouma, sister, and I sometimes gave each other foot massages. I’ll never forget sitting on the floor of my bedroom, being rushed because my uncle wanted to take pictures with my friend (who was a wonderful date and ended up getting shared by all us ladies in our group) before we left for our matric farewell (prom).

My sister was massaging one of my feet and I was massaging the other because my feet were spasming and I couldn’t put my sandals on because my toes were pointing in funny directions!

My friends and I often gave each other shoulder massages. It was great especially when exam stress was happening or I was sore from playing sport, and it was often a fun way to pass time between soccer matches since one of my best friends and I sometimes played multiple matches in a day at tournaments.

Some precautions

  • If you have severe osteoporosis, are on blood thinners or have a bleeding disorder, first speak to your doctor before getting a massage.
  • If you have any burns, cuts, scrapes, or broken bones it should go without saying that you shouldn’t massage those areas.
  • If the person who is massaging you is pushing too hard, let them know. Not everyone can handle or enjoys the same amount of pressure.

Whether you go for a relaxing Swedish or hot stone massage which are used to relax your muscles and ease tension, or a deep or sports massage which addresses issues in the muscles due to injury or the heavy toll sports can take on muscles, you will be doing something good for yourself.

If you are worried about taking off your clothes or don’t like lying down, there are places that you can go to that will massage you through your clothes or give you something to wear, or where you can sit up.

We once got treated at my previous job to a 10-minute massage and all we exposed were our shoulders and we had a towel to cover the front of us just in case. We were sitting in chairs and it was every bit as amazing.

When my friends and I massaged each other, it was over our clothes. So no need to miss out 😀

You can get the more official overview of massages and precautions to take here on the Mayo Clinic website.

P.S, thanks to my Mom and Dad in law for the voucher that allowed me to spoil myself with that amazing massage 🙂

 

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