Maximize Benefits of MassageTherapy

Edited by Eng

Massage is the execution of pressure into the skin, enough to make a temporary indentation or recess, has a therapeutic and/or relaxing effect on the skin itself, as well as the lower areas like the muscles, and improves the performance of certain internal organs of the body. There is substantial evidence of the existence of massage therapy in several ancient cultures and civilizations like China, Japan, Korea, India, Egypt, Rome, Greece and Mesopotamia. In 581 AD, China even established a Department of Massage Therapy within the Office of Imperial Physicians.

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In recent times, massage therapy is very much accepted as a major component of alternative medicine, and as a supplement to traditional/standard medicine. Massage therapy stands beside other alternative medicine stalwarts, such as acupuncture and herbal medicine. Whether massage is treated as a luxury, stress reliever, component of pain management, or complement of athletes' training, it is safe to say that it has several benefits. Further research in the future will likely discover even more advantages that people can enjoy when they indulge in massage therapy. If you have read or heard about massage therapy and you are willing to try it, here are some steps that you can take so that you will maximize its benefits:

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  1. 1
    What is your budget?
    You can benefit from massage whether you have a zero budget or can afford thousands of dollars. Zero budget means you can do self massage by pressing the parts of your body that you think need relaxing, or you can have your massage done by your partner or spouse at home. At the other extreme, which is expensive, is a week-long spa treatment at a luxury resort.
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  2. 2
    What are your physical, emotional or psychological needs?
    Are you tired from work? Does your job entail a lot of mental or emotional stress? Are you in a fit of depression because of the loss of something or someone precious to you? Depending on your needs, the following professionals do massage:
    1. Massage therapist.
    2. Occupational therapist.
    3. Physical therapist.
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  3. 3
    Selection of venue for massage therapy.
    There are massage services that are done right in the comfort of your home, but the majority are executed in spas or massage centers.
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  4. 4
    Reservation of slot before going to the venue.
    Call or inform the spa about your intention to solicit its services at an appointed hour. In this way, you will be sure to have a therapist to massage you, especially at peak hours. But be sure to arrive on time.
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  5. 5
    Selection of type of room:
    Some massage centers have a common room for males and another for females. Others have separate private rooms or cubicles, with massage beds ranging from one up to as many as six beds.
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  6. 6
    Selection of massage oils.
    There are several massage oils to choose from. Choose one or a combination of oils, whichever ones best suit you in terms of scent, feel or therapeutic effect. The following are but a few available:  
    1. Lavender
    2. Mint
    3. Eucalyptus
    4. Almond
    5. Grape seed
    6. Sunflower
    7. Combination of oils
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  7. 7
    Selection of type of massage.
    1. Swedish - Gentle form of massage that utilizes long strokes and kneading.
    2. Thai - A type of massage wherein yoga-like stretches are employed and also acupressure. No oil is applied.
    3. Shiatsu - Consists of finger and palm pressure and stretches, and originates from Japan.
    4. Ventosa - Also known as cupping therapy because it involves the use of glass cups placed on the back of the client.
    5. Hot stone - Warmed stones (on your back), usually made of marble, and massage to comfort you.
    6. Target areas - For those who do not want to be touched on other parts of the body, but only a specific part:  
      1. Foot
      2. Back
      3. Hand
      4. Head
    7. Combination massage. Massage consisting of one, two or more therapy techniques rolled into one.
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  8. 8
    Inquiry into other benefits and services that the venue offers -- several massage centers offer not just massage, they could have a package that also offers any of the following:
    1. Free drinks
    2. Free sauna
    3. Free hot towel
    4. Free WiFi
    5. Lounge - You can enjoy listening to soothing music while sipping your free hot tea or coffee at no extra cost. Or simply read magazines or books available there, or maybe even watch a movie.
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Expected benefits:

  1. 1
    Improved blood circulation
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  2. 2
    Reduced fatigue
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  3. 3
    Better sleep quality/insomnia is eliminated or reduced
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  4. 4
    Progress made in terms of concentration on doing tasks at hand
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  5. 5
    Better health quality
    1. Fewer aches and stiffness for arthritis patients
    2. Asthmatics have better pulmonary conditions
    3. Preterm or underweight infants (massaged by parents) have improved weight gain and have accelerated emotional quotient
    4. Normalize blood pressure of high blood pressure patients
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Massage therapy is waging a revolution today. Take part and indulge in its benefits. It could become an integral part of your lifestyle.

Tips, Tricks and Warnings:

  • Before going to the venue, you should take a bath, or you may be able to take one at the venue, before the massage. A bath will make you feel very comfortable.
  • Be sure that the clothing the venue will provide is comfortable for you. Otherwise, provide your own clothing.
  • You should communicate with your therapist about your medical conditions. You should be frank if you have hypertension and there are certain parts of your body that the therapist should not touch because you would feel a lot of pain.
  • It is important that the therapist should know what type of pressure you prefer: Soft, medium or hard.
  • Do not be embarrassed to inform the therapist that the pressure being applied is too soft or too hard for your comfort. The therapist should adjust accordingly.
  • If the service of the therapist is excellent, you know who to look for when you return to the massage venue.
  • If you have problems with any of these steps, ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.
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