Why Relaxation Massage Is So Good For You
Why Relaxation Massage Is So Good For You
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Massage has become increasingly popular because of the numerous evidence-based effects resulting from changes made to the varying levels of tissue in a body.
In regard to relaxation massage, this article will focus on effects in regard to the surface of the skin. It is now widely accepted that human touch is a prerequisite for the healthy functioning of any individual. Our world today is one of moving away from physical intervention when it comes to health care service provision, towards a more prolific technological-based range of solutions. This largely decreases our opportunities for physical intervention.
At the same time Western culture is moving away from physical activity towards intellectual activity with the result that many people are losing the ability to integrate body and mind, suffering consequently from a lack of sensory unity.
Touching and being touched is a basic human need but there is little opportunity outside of families to express or receive feelings of care by touching. Massage can offer valid human contact to counterbalance the potentially dehumanizing effects of tactile deprivation.
Touch affects our moods and emotions, which is helpful in predicting the responses that might occur as a result of relaxation massage therapy.
The sense of touch is one of the earliest senses to develop. Pre-term infants show increases in weight, alertness and maturity with relaxation massage therapy.
Even young animals show a reduction in their physiological response to stress when stroked by humans, creating a decreased output of hormones, reduction in blood pressure and heart rate (Lund et al 1999).
Throughout our lives, contact with the environment ensures that our skin receives continual stimulation. We receive tactile message from the clothes we wear, the water we wash in, the application of lotions and from people and animals we touch or are touched by. Touch which is safe and desirable creates positive neural and hormonal responses. With relaxation massage, the therapist considers not only the mechanical and physiological effects of a treatment, but also the emotional responses.
A full explanation of a relaxation massage treatment should be given by the therapist to a client to help a client understand clearly what the treatment will involve. In this way the client will be prepared for the different ways a relaxation massage can be delivered according to a range of different massage techniques selected as being most appropriate for each client’s physical situation.
Developing a rapport between client and therapist enables further therapeutic understanding and intervention. Constant monitoring of the client is required throughout a relaxation massage treatment to ensure that changes in technique are made when appropriate.
Your professional therapist should be concerned with all the effects of a massage, the main objective often being to have a mechanical effect with the aim of restoring normal function. Environmental, temperature, surrounding stress and noise stimuli, external and internal, all will also contribute to the overall effect of a relaxation massage treatment.
The concept of stress is an important one in regard to well being and maintaining health. When we talk about stress, we focus our attention on our nervous system. Stressors may be physical, psychological or sociocultural. An individual’s response to a stressor is dependent on that person’s previous experience of similar stressors, and his/her present ability to cope with the stressor.
Our nervous system makes rapid function changes, for example increasing a body’s heart rate to twice its normal level in 3-5 seconds, and heart blood pressure which can double in under 15 seconds as a result of stimulation from stressors.
Long term exposure to a stressor can have undesirable physiological effects resulting in, for example, decreased immunity, increases hypertension and vascular disorders.
The balanced functioning of nerves, hormones and emotions all need to be addressed when working holistically with relaxation massage clients.
Having someone pay attention to our concerns and feelings in an empathetic way has been proven to be good for our health generally. Researchers at the University Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health have produced a public health report to confirm that a care provider’s empathy has been shown to boost a patient’s immune system function. Levels of a patient’s IL-8, a chemical that summons immune system cells to fight microbial challenges, have been shown to have increased directly as a result of empathetic attention and understanding (Scientific American Mind Nov/Dec 2009).
A good relaxation massage therapist seeks to deliver high quality treatments from a position of understanding and empathy for each individual’s treatment needs while at the same time tailoring the treatment appropriately to achieved agreed outcomes.