I love teaching how massage is powerful and how touch can affect someone on many levels. It can be just as therapeutic for the therapist as it can be for the receiver and there is nothing better than helping someone alleviate pain or stress and making them feel good!
When I teach Indian head massage, we discuss different cultures and their approach to massage and touch. Massage in India is seen as one of the tools within the Ayurvedic system to help with stress management and wellbeing maintenance. Recipients experience the joy of massage from birth to death and there is almost no-one excluded from being able to receive a massage. Unfortunately, our western culture does not embrace massage so readily and it is seen as a ‘treat’ rather than part of wellbeing maintenance or a preventative resource.
Touch is our primeval sense and take that away, we feel isolated, can become depressed and maybe ill through having a suppressed immune system. Scientific studies have found that when we touch each other, the hormone oxytocin is produced. This hormone is one of connection, empathy, compassion and trust. Touching promotes the production of oxytocin which can lower cortisol levels and therefore induce relaxation and aid stress relief. Massage also promotes the release of endorphins which aid pain relief and reduces the production of the stress hormone, cortisol.
When you are the recipient of touch or massage, assuming you trust the giver, you fall into a state of relaxation. The nervous system is programmed to know if the type of touch is genuine and will do good to your body. Having a massage will result in many benefits, physiological and psychological: relief from achy, tense or sore muscles, aid digestive problems, alleviate headaches, depression, and stress. Massage can target specific areas of tension and discomfort, increasing blood circulation, to the area which delivers oxygen and nutrients to the muscles, accelerating healing and reducing pain.
Receiving a massage is a wonderful therapy that should be seen as part of your maintenance wellbeing regime. In my experience, once the problem areas have been addressed for immediate relief, once a month is sufficient to keep muscle tension under control and this will help inhibit structural conditions and ailments such as back or shoulder ache and headaches.
If you respond to the sense of smell as well as touch, an aromatherapy massage may be ideal for you where therapeutic essential oils will be blended specifically for you. If you want to receive a massage fully clothed (or with oil on the skin) and suffer with headaches, low energy or insomnia, then a traditional Indian head massage may be your preference. If you are sporty or have achy muscles and need a deeper touch, a deep tissue massage is just what you need for immediate relief. A reflexology treatment which can target the endocrine system and hormone imbalance may be perfect for you if you want an all-system check in.
There are many different types of massage and a short consultation will determine which one is best for you. Whichever massage you choose, it is an excellent stress management resource and I have never known a client to leave my practice NOT feeling better than when they arrived!