The Benefits of Getting Massages
There are multiple physical and mental benefits to letting a professional work on the tension in your body through massage. These include:
- Loosening up the shoulders and neck, which according to Melissa Volker, who runs a sports massage practice at Sunrise Beauty Studio in Tokai, is one of the most common afflictions she sees. “The digital age means that people present with ‘text neck’ where the muscles from the top of the scapula to the base of the skull between the spine and the scapula are sore,” says Melissa. These muscles are knotted and in spasm from having the neck tilted forward at a strange angle as everyone looks at their screens, and also from moving their arm/s forward using the mouse and keyboard.
- Releasing the muscles of the upper glutes and hips to relieve lower back pain and sciatica. Melissa says that by finding pressure points, she can often relieve spasm. “By breaking down ‘knots’ in repetitive strain injuries or minor soft tissue injuries, people report a better range of movement after one or two sessions,” she says.
- Sports massage is also hugely popular, especially before and after an event, to help warm up and then recover. Melissa says that cyclists often need work on their legs, rugby players need massage on impact injuries after 72 hours and kite surfers often need massage work done on their lower backs.
- Stress relief. Besides the physical benefits, Melissa says that she can often tell by the apparent nature of the person which muscles will hurt. For example: “Anxious A types always have tight shoulders and necks, while I can also tell who grinds their teeth when I find sterno cleido mastoid (muscles on either side of the neck) that are as tough as biltong”.
- The benefit of touch. Being touched is a basic human need, but it’s something that’s becoming rarer as we frequently isolate ourselves in terms of our living environments. Melissa says that even people who do not have physical injuries benefit from massage, especially if they are “elderly, depressed, anxious, lonely or have experienced loss”. Massage can produce feelings of being cared for and connected with others, which contribute greatly to our overall feelings of wellness and happiness.
Massage therapy has also been said to improve digestion, raise the quality of your sleep and boost immunity, among other benefits. However, there are risks associated with massage if you don’t choose a well-trained masseuse and already have existing injuries, so do your research before booking yourself in. Also bear in mind that there are many different sorts of massage so you need to pick the one that is most suitable for your needs, whether this is Swedish massage or deep tissue massage for example. Now that you realise the full extent of the health benefits massage can offer, what are you waiting for? Take those tired muscles off to the spa and start feeling healthier and happier.
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