I may be a little biased but I really do believe that massage can improve your quality of life. Recently while at a client’s home, I heard a gentleman say that he’d rather spend his money on something that would last, rather than on a massage. He said, “Sure, it’ll feel good while I’m on the table, but afterward what do I have? Nothing.” I wasn’t able to debate him at the time because I was in the middle of doing a massage on one of his family members; but I’d like to set the record straight: massage has both short term and long term benefits, and they all add to your quality of life.
Pain Relief – Massage and bodywork can relieve many types of pain related not only to the muscles, but also to the nervous system. If you don’t overdo it afterward, and do the stretches recommended by your therapist, the pain relief can last a long time.
Stress Relief – Massage and bodywork have the ability to calm down your body’s stress response (aka fight or flight) and to engage it’s relaxation response (aka rest and digest)… as long as the massage isn’t painful, that is. Get enough massages and your body will begin to remember what it feels like to not be stressed out all the time. It may even begin to make you physically or emotionally unhappy if you stress it out too much.
Increased body awareness – You may notice areas of your body that are tighter or more painful than you realized, or you may find that you move, sit, or stand differently after a massage. These are all examples of increased body awareness. Of course, your massage therapist may also point out areas of your body that are out of balance; areas that you had never noticed as being dysfunctional. Noticing unbalanced or dysfunctional areas of the body is the first step toward correcting them. Increasing balance while decreasing dysfunction leads to a happy body, which leads to a happy mind.
Improved flexibility – when tight muscles are released and lengthened, flexibility improves. If you don’t overdo it afterward, and do the stretches recommended by your therapist, the flexibility can last a long time.
Improved range of motion – when tight muscles are released, the joints they act on are able to move with greater ease over an increased range. If you don’t overdo it after your massage and you do the stretches recommended by your therapist, the new range of motion can last a long time.
Improved muscle function – muscles function best (and are stronger) when they start from a normal resting length rather than a tight, shortened one.
If those don’t improve your quality of life, I don’t know what will. Remember, results increase with regular massage; you won’t get long term benefits from sporadic massages.
Now it’s time to hear from you. Have you experienced any of these benefits, either short-term (after getting a massage) or long-term (lasting change after several massages)? What other benefits have you received from massage that added to your quality of life?