Massage therapy has shifted from being a luxury to a necessity. It is now widely accessible and not just limited to high-end spas. Additionally, we can now enjoy its benefits in the comfort of our own homes when we require it the most.
How does massage affect our holistic health?
It’s likely no surprise that massage can aid in our physical, mental, and emotional health. Today, massage therapy can be used as a form of treatment for ailments or after specific injuries. However, it can also help with our day-to-day needs by aiding in our sleep, decreasing stiffness in our muscles and inflammation in our joints, improving our circulation and flexibility, helping with recovery after workouts, reducing pain and soreness, as well as straightening our immune system, too.
There is a mental and emotional element to massage therapy, too. These sessions can help decrease anxiety, improve our mood and promote relaxation, increase a feeling of wellness within, lower our stress levels, as well as provide more energy. The environment of a massage matters when it comes to its residual benefits, too. Often, they take place in a quiet and safe space and are coupled with aromatherapy to help further promote an aura of relaxation. The experience is thus enhanced with calming music as well as natural elements to aid in bringing forth thoughts of healing and promoting health.
How can we self-massage at home?
There are a wide variety of massages we can receive from professionals — deep tissue, myofascial, lymphatic, Swedish, and more. However, there are several that we can begin to integrate into our own routines at home if we need relief – whether physical or emotional.
Taking care of our bodies starts from top to bottom. Beyond affecting our hair itself, head massages can help ease the pain that is associated with headaches and migraines, release tension, and reduce stress, as well as promote an overall sense of relaxation. Studies have also shown that a scalp massage can help lower blood pressure, too.
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It’s likely we’ve seen gua sha techniques offered as a service from a facialist or might even have the tool already in our range of skincare items. This can become a tool-assisted method of massage for our faces, which is rooted in traditional Chinese medicine. Using a gua sha, we can begin to gently scrape the areas of our body – including our face – where inflammation (or stagnant “qi,” or energy) exists to improve circulation. This process can help reduce tension in our faces as well as puffiness and even sinus pressure.
Hand and foot massages
The beauty of massage is being able to pinpoint specific areas on our bodies to target. Studies have shown that hand massages can not only reduce hand pain and improve grip strength, but they can also help improve our mood, reduce anxiety, and aid in better sleep. Other benefits that have been explored over the years include aiding chronic health conditions, including arthritis and fibromyalgia, high blood pressure, and Parkinson’s disease.
Don’t neglect your feet, either. Administering foot massages can help ease pain, improve circulation, stimulate our muscles, and reduce tension in that area.
One of the more mainstream ways of self-massage at home is foam rolling. This becomes a self-myofascial massage, which is a method that focuses on the myofascial tissues. In this context, “myo” means muscle, while “fascial” refers to our body’s connective tissue.
This type of massage typically addresses discomfort and pain by applying pressure to those areas in order to help them relax. Rather than this being administered by another individual, a foam roller allows us to apply this pressure to ourselves by rolling the tool over those areas of our body. Foam rolling can be beneficial both before and after a workout, particularly by aiding in the connection between our brain and muscles beforehand and helping to reduce or avoid the sore and tight feeling that can occur within our muscles after physical activity. It can also help improve our range of motion, increase blood flow to the muscles, and help reduce inflammation in the muscles.