By Anna Lynn Sibal
Promoting Well-Being through Healing Massage
All of us face stress as part of our daily routines. From the moment we wake up to the moment we lay our heads down to sleep, stress is our constant companion. It is with us as we drive through the rush hour traffic. It stays with us as we go through the day's work and chores. It fires us up when we need to deal with difficult people and situations in the course of the day.
Too much stress, however, can take a toll on our health. Eventually, high levels of stress can cause the body to lose its balance, and this in turn can make us sick. In order to fight the effects of stress on our bodies, we need to seek stress-relieving treatments such as healing massage.
How Does Massage Heal the Body?
Healing massage affects the body in many different ways. It all depends on the kind of treatment the massage therapist uses on you as well as the particular area of your body that she concentrates on. There are, however, a few basic effects that you can expect from a healing massage that can do wonders to the condition of your body.
1. Massage loosens tight muscles. Stress causes the muscles to become tight, tense and bunched up. This tightness can cause pain, sometimes severe enough to prevent you from getting a good night's rest. Massage strokes are meant to coax the muscles to become loose with heat and friction. Loosening the muscles can soothe pain.
2. Massage induces the release of the happy hormones. Aside from melting away the tightness of the muscles, massage also encourages the body to release serotonin and endorphins into the bloodstream. Serotonin and endorphins are sometimes referred to as the happy hormones because they are supposed to fight the effects of cortisol, which is the stress hormone. These hormones help relieve pain and create feelings of well-being and pleasure.
3. Massage coaxes the lymphatic system to produce white blood cells. White blood cells are the body's warriors. They protect the body against disease-causing bacteria, viruses and other organisms. When the body is massaged, the lymphatic system is energized, causing the release of white blood cells into the bloodstream, thus boosting the body's immunity.
4. Massage improves blood circulation. Massage also brings heat to blood vessels, and this heat causes the blood vessels to become more relaxed and flexible. When the blood vessels are at this state, blood flow improves. Thus, more blood gets to the individual cells of the body, bringing these cells more of the oxygen and the nutrients that they need. More waste material is also eliminated from these cells.
5. Massage soothes the mind. Massage more than just heals the body; it also heals the mind. Pain and stress can do a lot of things to the mind. They can lead to depression and other mental ailments. The relaxation that massage brings to the body also puts the mind at ease. You become more awake, alert and prepared to deal with stress with regular massage.
Making the Most Out of the Healing Massage
Healing massage is a two-way trip, so to speak. It is not enough for the massage therapist to treat you with her touch. You should also assume the attitude of healing when you go for a massage. To do this, you must first prepare your body for the healing by avoiding alcohol and drugs at least 24 hours before and after the treatment. You should also set some time after the treatment to get some rest.
When you are being massaged, you should also stop thinking about the things that cause you stress. Forget about your problems at work and at home for an hour or two and focus your mind on your healing. When the mind and the body are both focused on healing, you can actually make the process go much faster and much more effective.
Stress is a part of our daily lives and it can put the body into so much harm. One way you can reverse the effects of stress is to engage in a healing massage. Healing massage brings the balance back into the body as well as the mind.
Also see: Holistic Massage