If you have never had massage therapy before and are a little apprehensive or a little sceptical about what to expect and how it could help you, then hopefully this article will provide some insight into what it is and what benefits it can bring.
There are so many different types of therapies available to choose from that it can sometimes be confusing as to know which might suit you best. Whichever type of massage you choose, you can rest assured that if you are open to relaxation and willing to ‘let go’ and allow a sense of well-being and balance then this is one of the most immediate benefits that massage can bring. In Chinese medicine and Thai massage, balance is brought about through channelling energy across set pathways or meridians. This encourages revitalisation of the body’s Chi or energy. Western approaches such as Swedish massage encourage balance by stimulating flow of blood and lymph throughout the body which in turn removes toxins and waste from the body more efficiently, helping oxygen to flow more easily through the body’s systems restoring vitality and energy.
Massage does not only affect the body’s physical state, such as improving muscle condition. It also has a dramatic effect on the nervous system. Our autonomic nervous system governs the body’s ability to cope with stress. The sympathetic system controls our ‘fight and flight’ reflex, which enables the body to prepare and ‘arm’ itself for stressful situations. When we get stressed, the heart rate increases, our breathing increases and the adrenal glands and sweat glands can go into overdrive. Remaining in this state for long periods can place enormous strain on the body and the mind. It can have damaging effects on the immune system and long term can lead to stress related illness.
Massage can help engage the parasympathetic system which is the balancing side of the nervous system, and it is this system which helps the body to redress the balance and calm the body down. This is something that we are often unable to do ourselves with the demands and pressures that everyday life can throw at us. You might find it difficult to switch off when you go to sleep, and end up sending emails to yourself to remind yourself to do things the following day. You might be so busy rushing the children to and from school and after-school clubs and trying to keep an organised and happy home, that you just don’t have time to think about yourself. Many of my clients fall asleep during a relaxation massage and on occasion I can hear the odd stomach rumble! This is a great sign that the parasympathetic nervous system is kicking in and helping to shut the body down for a while.
So, how does this energise you? Having a massage enables the body to redress the balance and flush out toxins. It can help you to sleep better, increase concentration levels and improve mental alertness, improve mood and ease anxiety. Massage can help induce a deep sense of relaxation which has benefits well beyond the treatment room, and I believe this to be such an important part of living well and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Our bodies are resilient and it is sometimes amazing how much stress we can cope with, but they are not built to cope with too much stress for too long. Our bodies as well as our minds sometimes just need a well earned beak!
If you would like to discuss treatment options then please contact me on 07743 897874 or send an enquiry through the contact details page of the website.