how massage can help improve physical and mental health

How Massage Can Improve Your Physical And Mental Health

Are you planning to incorporate massage therapy into your health care program? Or perhaps a joint pain or a headache is making your life difficult, and you are searching for a way to minimize this? If you are also trying to boost your mental health by reducing stress and anxiety which can lead to depression, then massage therapy might be the answer you are looking for. There are different types of massage therapy, but it is agreed that choosing the best type of massage technique can be a pretty challenging task. Consequently, you have to make some considerations before commencing on choosing the best therapy. When selecting a massage therapy consider consulting you physician to avoid counterproductive results.

In this article, we will lead you through three different but proven massage techniques that you might find useful in your healing process.

Aromatherapy Massage

Aromatherapy massage is a type of therapy that involves the use of one or more essential oils (scented oils derived from plants). The essential oil can be added to the massage lotion. Studies have shown that when stimulated smell receptors in the nostrils transmit an impulse to the brain through a pathway that is directly linked  to the limbic system- the part of the brain that deals with emotions. Thus scent from the  essential oils can help to reduce stress and influence your emotional, mental and physical health. The commonly used relaxing scents include chamomile, frankincense, lavender, patchouli and vanilla.

aromatherapy for better mental health

What are the benefits of Aromatherapy Massage therapy?
  •  Aromatherapy massage helps to increase blood circulation and to also reduce pain. A warm blend of the aroma of the essential oils helps in tissue recovery after physical exertion
  • The combination of different aroma in the essential oils traditionally plays a significant role in reducing pain in either joints or muscles
  •  The relaxing nature of aromatic essential oils in this therapy helps to build a sense of  peace and harmony thus playing an important role in easing nervousness and reducing anxiety
  • Research have also shown that some aromas such as peppermint activate the brain and allow you to perform your task more efficiently
  • Aromatherapy massage can also help in reducing back and neck pain

Thai Massage

Being an ancient form of massage, Thai massage was developed, as the name suggests,  in Thailand. Passive stretching and gentle pressure are applied to your body thus increasing the flexibility of your muscles. Thai massage also combines acupressure, yoga postures and Ayurveda. This type of therapy is usually performed on a padded mat. A therapist who offers this kind of treatment combines different series of yoga stretches by using either his or her feet, hands, knees or legs.

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What are the benefits of Thai Massage therapy?
  • Studies and scientific research have shown that Thai massage helps to boost your immune system
  • Contributes to reduced chronic pain from joints as well as reduced muscle tension thus allowing you to feel more relaxed
  • The intense nature of the Thai massage helps to prevent energy blockages in your body
  • Thai massage also reduces anxiety and stress thus leading to improved overall mental health
  • Helps to lower blood pressure as it encourages blood vessels to open up , thus increasing blood circulation around your body

Hot Stone Massage

Typically heated river stones are professionally used by a therapist to perform this type massage. Experienced massage experts tend to use soft stones to act as an extension of their hands. Studies have shown that the heat and weight of the stones against the body help in relaxing muscles and reducing tension. The therapist uses their knowledge of anatomy to place the stones on certain parts of your body, in order to allow you to enjoy the full benefits related to this type of massage therapy.

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What are the benefits of Hot Stone Massage Therapy?
  • Heat from the stones used in this treatment allows your muscles to loosen, giving your massage therapist an opportunity to massage deeper tissue which contributes to tension relief
  • Hot stone massage is of relatively intense nature. Therefore, you are assured to have full relief from any stiff joints, injuries or pain associated with stiff muscles
  • Helps to reduce mental stress and tension,  as well as to assist in dealing with and reducing the onset of mental disorders such as anxiety and depression
  • Hot stone massage also increases blood circulation in your body as the warmth from the heated stones helps to open up your blood vessels

Of course, these three systems are just the tip of the iceberg, since there are more than 80 massage therapy styles, both traditional and alternative, with a wide variety of movements and techniques. Massage, as a healing process, has been used, developed and improved over the centuries. So it is good idea to be open-minded and try out some of these alternative practices as part of your quest for improving  physical and mental health.

 

About the Author

Nicholas Svensk is an aspiring writer, health, tech and cycling enthusiast from sunny Croatia. When he’s not active outdoors, he spends his time reading and enjoying life with his family and pets.

 

References:
1. Exploring Aromatherapy – https://naha.org/explore-aromatherapy/about-aromatherapy/what-are-essential-oils/

2. Essential Oils for Healing the Skin – http://www.anandaapothecary.com/articles/skinhealingwithessentialoils.html

3. How Aromatherapy Can Help Ease Your Pain – https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2016/06/aromatherapy-can-help-ease-joint-pain/

4. Aromatherapy – http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/treatment/aromatherapy

5. Wheeling Jesuit Student Finds Link Between Behavior and Odors – http://www.wju.edu/about/adm_news_story.asp?iNewsID=960&strBack=%2Fabout%2Fadm_news_archive.asp

6. Ayurvedic Medicine – http://www.webmd.com/balance/guide/ayurvedic-treatments

7. The Immune Boosting Power of Massage – http://innatewellness.ca/2015/04/21/the-immune-boosting-power-of-massage/

8. Ways Thai Massage Can Provide Stress Relief (Benefits, Effects and Tips) – http://health-benefits-of.net/thai-massage-benefits-effects-tips.html

9. Massage for High Blood Pressure – https://www.verywell.com/massage-for-high-blood-pressure-89621

10. Treating Medical Conditions Using Massage Therapy – http://www.hong-kong-tantric-massage.com/treating-medical-conditions-using-massage-therapy.html

11. What is a Hot Stone Massage? – https://www.verywell.com/hot-stone-massage-89737

12. Relax With Hot Stone Therapy – http://www.healthguidance.org/entry/13988/1/Relax-With-Hot-Stone-Therapy.html

13. Massage Wikipedia Entry – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massage

Suggested further readings:

1. What’s the Difference Between All These Types of Massages? – http://lifehacker.com/whats-the-difference-between-all-these-types-of-massag-1522088430

2 . The History of Massage in Asia and its spread to the Western World – http://www.london-thai-massage.co.uk/the-history-of-massage-in-asia-and-its-spread-to-the-western-world

3. How to Become a Massage Therapist – https://www.thebalance.com/how-to-become-a-massage-therapist-1736152

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