Massage: Pampering or Excellent Self-care?

How do you view massage? Is it something you see as the ultimate luxury, or — while it feels great to have one — do you consider it as an element in health self-care?

Back in our parents’ day, massage was only available at high-end spas or health clubs. Now massage is widely offered and is viewed as an important tool in promoting mental and physical well-being. It can be defined as a general term for pressing, rubbing, and manipulating your skin, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Massage may range from light stroking (which is my specialty) to deep pressure, and is viewed by many in the medical and health industries as part of integrative medicine.

Benefits of massage address a wide range of medical conditions and situations. If you have never tried it, I ask you to consider it as a tool for stress reduction and pain relief instead of a mere luxury. The conditions it can treat range from anxiety and depression to digestive disorders, to fibromyalgia, headaches, insomnia, nerve pain, postoperative care, scar tissue release, sports injuries, and even TMJ (temporomandibular) disorders.

For many of my clients, massage therapy is an important part of specific medical treatment plans to help them return to daily activities. For example, massage therapy is helpful after joint replacement surgery or injury. Wellness experts cite benefits such as improved circulation, a strengthened immune response, decreased muscle stiffness and joint inflammation, better quality sleep, and, of course, those that accompany physical exercise, like quicker recovery between workouts, improved flexibility, and less pain and soreness.

It’s important to communicate with your massage therapist regarding the reasons for as well as the nature of the massage you seek. If your massage therapist is pushing too hard, ask for lighter pressure. Point out a sensitive spot in a muscle that feels like a knot so that your massage therapist can spend time working it out. If it becomes painful, however, speak up. Most serious problems come from too much pressure during a massage, which is one reason I try to keep things medium to light.

And don’t be afraid to ask a potential massage therapist questions such as: Are you licensed, certified or registered? What is your training and experience? How many massage therapy sessions do you think I’ll need? A skilled therapist has a toolbox of techniques that can be incorporated based on your needs, and he or she will respond and modify these techniques based on your feedback.

Massage therapy is not only a feel-good way to indulge or pamper yourself. It’s a powerful tool to help you take charge of your health and well-being, whether you have a specific health condition or are looking for a stress reliever. Be sure to call me at (916) 294-9980 to discuss the type of massage that might be right for you, or simply schedule one here on our website.

Beautifully yours,

Connie Chan

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