Massage is definitely in the top 10 things I love. Hunched over a computer all day (and sometimes all night) my shoulders can end up in knots. Surprisingly, where I have the most tension is in my right hand. All those hours of clutching my mouse.
After a massage, I come back to who I truly am. All those 'lists' and 'things to do' float away and I can focus on the present.
Recently, I spoke with Charlie Ritchie, CEO at Pampr. Pampr enables customers to have a professional spa therapist at their home or hotel in as soon as one hour. Their therapists work at local five-star hotel spas and some are mobile Registered Massage Therapists.
Charlie shared with me how massage can help you get your physical and emotional well being back into balance.
How can massage help your physical and emotional well being?
Massages are great for de-stressing both mentally and physically, detoxifying impurities in the body, maintaining healthy joint function and an overall better performance in sport-related activities, as well as combating recurring pain from past injuries.
They also can aid in sleeping better, relaxing the mind, and improve the body's circulation. They're a necessity in today's busy lifestyle, and not just an indulgence.
What should a person look for when hiring a masseuse?
You're definitely going to get the best massage from someone who's experienced, but an official title such as RMT doesn't necessarily make for the right massage for you. Everyone's body is different, and what feels best depends on the client's preference in pressure and technique.
I've had amazing massages from registered massage therapists, but equally great treatments from bodyworkers and spa therapists. The best way to find what you like personally is to try different styles and therapists, which is the fun part! Luckily, it's pretty hard to have a "bad" massage.
What are the different styles of massage and what are their unique benefits?
At Pampr, we offer swedish and deep tissue massage for individuals or couples. Swedish massage is a more relaxing technique using long strokes and some kneading, which results in a calmer mind and better circulation in the body.
Deep tissue is a little more vigorous and concentrates on certain muscles in the body that are extra tight and knotted. The pressure is quite a bit deeper, and it's meant to focus on specific problems, but the effects can be pretty transformative.
There are lots of types of massages out there, such as Thai massage, which is sort of like someone doing yoga poses for you with lots of stretching of your limbs and more rhythmic strokes on the body, and sport massage which is similar to deep tissue and geared toward a client with a more athletic lifestyle. It all depends on the individual and what you may be looking for out of your massage.
Why are massages important now?
I think massages have always been important! Our bodies go through a tremendous amount of stress and fatigue in our day to day lifestyles what with exercising, sports, work-related activities, even just being on our feet all day.
Working on releasing the stress in our muscles and joints is imperative to aging well and being able to be active throughout our lives, not just when we're in our prime. Besides that, massage is a great way to relax the mind and feel a little bit pampered. It shouldn't just be a once in a while luxury -- being pampered should be a part of our schedules!
I will continue to enjoy massages for my well being and will share my experiences. If you have ideas or questions about massage please leave a comment below and I will do my best to find the answer for you.
Your suggestions are always welcome, as I continue on my journey to enjoy life to the fullest. Let's have the very best 2015!
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For the same reasons that a massage is relaxing, it can also soothe anxiety and depression. Massage reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol, resulting in lifted spirits and often lower blood pressure. It can also boost the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine, which are involved in depression. Flickr photo by eflon
Eight out of 10 Americans will experience debilitating back pain, according to Time.com, but a massage can help. According to a 2011 study, massage helped people in pain feel and function better compared to people who didn't receive any massage treatment. "We found the benefits of massage are about as strong as those reported for other effective treatments: medications, acupuncture, exercise and yoga," Dan Cherkin, Ph.D., lead author of the study, said in a press release. Massage has also been linked to decreased stiffness and pain, as well as better range of motion in people with osteoarthritis.
If you've ever dozed off on a massage table, you don't need to be convinced that a massage can promote healthy sleep. A number of studies have examined this link, and chalk it up to massage's affect on delta waves, the kind of brain waves connected to deep sleep, according to Health magazine.
Multiple studies, although often small, have linked massage to better functioning of the immune system. In one 2010 study, researchers found massage increased a person's disease-fighting white blood cells. The stress-reducing powers of massage can also help keep you healthy.
At least one small study found that massage can kick pesky PMS symptoms, like bloating and mood swings, to the curb.
Want to boost your brainpower? Adults who were given a 15-minute chair massage in a small 1996 Touch Research Institute (TRI) study were more alert and completed a series of math questions faster and more accurately.
Just like muscle and back pain, headaches can also be alleviated thanks to massage. A regular rubdown can reduce a person's number of migraines, according to WebMD, as well as limit how painful each migraine feels, according to the TRI. A 2009 study found that a 30-minute massage decreased pain for people with tension headaches, and even curbed some of the stress and anger associated with that pounding head.
Because of many of the benefits listed above, massage is particularly helpful for people living with or undergoing treatment for serious illnesses, like cancer. Various studies have shown that massage can relieve fatigue, pain, anxiety, depression and nausea in cancer patients.
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