Massage is the application of pressure or the kneading of the body and is usually done to promote relaxation. Massage and pain relief are closely linked together due to the many types of massage available that promote pain relief. Each type has a different style, stroke, and even focus such as a body part or pressure point. A few of the famous types of massage are Shiatsu, Swedish, Reflexology and Aromatherapy.
Shiatsu is a Japanese dry massage where in you are fully clothed. This makes use of applying pressure for a few seconds to specific points and parts of the body and is similar to the Chinese acupuncture. Swedish massage makes use of long stroking, rubbing, and kneading movements, using oil to help in lubrication and ease of movement. Reflexology is also known as foot massage and is again similar to the concept of acupuncture, where in pressure is applied to certain areas of the feet which correspond to certain organs of the body. For those who are always on their feet, reflexology massage and pain relief holds true for sore spots in their feet and legs. Lastly, Aromatherapy is similar to Swedish massage therapy with an added essential oil which is usually mixed with water and burned in an oil burner in order for the scent to evaporate. A few examples of these oils are lavender, peppermint, lemon, orange, and rosemary. The scent of the essential oil helps in calming, relaxing, and even decongesting the system.
Experts liken massage to a sponge that has already absorbed liquid. They say that when a muscle is tight, it does not allow much blood to flow through it. When the muscle is massaged, it is kneaded, just like squeezing the sponge, in order to allow more blood to flow through it. The increase in blood flow allows for lower blood pressure and a more stable heart rate. This also results to a healthier immune system since allowing more blood through the body and its parts means allowing more vitamins and nutrients to be carried throughout the entire body. Pain relief is also achieved when more blood is allowed to flow through the muscles, hence allowing the release of muscle contraction.
Aside from more blood flow, massage helps in relieving pain and lessening anxiety levels due to the release of oxytocin. This is a hormone that brings about feelings that promote contentment, calmness, and relaxation, throughout our being and our muscles. A massage also helps in lessening a depressive mood and stress since the experience itself is distressing as well as the release of oxytocin and other hormones that uplift our mood.
Massage and pain relief go together very well, not only to fight pain and soreness but also to achieve less anxiety levels, less depression and stress, lower blood pressure, more stable heart rate, better blood flow, and a healthier immune system. These are only a few highlights of the many benefits of getting a massage. A healthier life style and a more relaxed state is only the beginning of what a massage can do for you.