There’s no denying the power of bodywork. Regardless of the adjectives we assign to it–pampering, rejuvenating, therapeutic–or the reasons we seek it out–a luxurious treat, stress relief, pain management–massage therapy can be a powerful ally in your healthcare regimen.
Wellness and body care have a long tradition throughout human history. In ancient Greece and Rome, purification rituals and massage were an integral part of life. Seeking balance of mind, body and spirit was a high priority in their teachings. The famous Latin saying mens sana in corpore sano, which means “a healthy mind in a healthy body,” is as true today as it was back in the day of our ancestors.
As humans, we’re hardwired to seek out and enjoy physical touch. Touch, when administered in a safe, caring and loving way, causes our brains to release a calm-inducing hormone/neurotransmitter called oxytocin, also known as the “cuddle” hormone.
Discussion about oxytocin initially focused on its roles in controlling contractions during childbirth, stimulating lactation post-birth and bringing people closer to each other. Further studies show that oxytocin’s relevance to our lives extends beyond bonding and birth. When this hormone is flowing freely, it puts us in a peaceful, happy state of mind; it helps us feel emotionally connected.
Experts estimate that upwards of ninety percent of disease is stress related; and perhaps nothing ages us faster, internally and externally, than high stress. While eliminating anxiety and pressure altogether in this fast-paced world may be optimistic, massage can, without a doubt, help manage stress. This translates into:
• Decreased anxiety
• Enhanced sleep quality
• Greater energy
• Improved concentration
• Increased circulation
• Reduced fatigue
• Strengthened immune system
• Pain relief
• Deep relaxation
Furthermore, clients often report a sense of perspective and clarity after receiving a massage. The emotional balance that bodywork provides can often be just as vital and valuable as the more tangible physical benefits.
Getting a massage can do you a world of good, and getting a massage frequently can do even more. This is the beauty of bodywork. Regularly scheduled self-care can play a huge part in how healthy you’ll be and how youthful you’ll remain, with each passing year.
There are many different massage and bodywork modalities to choose from, such as Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, sports massage, clinical massage, lymphatic drainage, and gentle hands on techniques like Reiki, Polarity, Zero Balancing, Acupressure or Craniosacral therapy, which allow you to address specific needs and enjoy variety.
Budgeting time and money for bodywork at consistent intervals is truly an investment in health. A reminder: just because massage feels like a pampering treat doesn’t make it any less therapeutic. Consider massage appointments as a necessary component of your health and wellness plan.
Written By Elisabeth Weilharter, LMT |
1. Tappan, Frances M,. Tappan’s Handbook of Healing
Massage Techniques. Prentice Hall; 4 edition. June, 2004.
2. Massage and Bodywork magazine