Benefits of Massage
Massage has been used for many years to relieve stresses on the body. Massage is the practice of kneading, rubbing and manipulating the muscles and underlying structures of the body to relax, stimulate and repair the body. Massage can produce differing results for each person, depending on their reason for having the massage. The main psychological and physiological effects of massage include the following:
- Boost to psychological wellbeing – a feeling of contentment and a state of relaxation can be achieved.
- Reduces mental stress which can aid sleep.
- Reduces anxiety.
- Improves skin condition – through increased desquamation, increased blood flow and lymph drainage.
- Mobilisation of joints.
- Increases flexibility of tight muscles, aiding waste removal and improving muscle tone.
- Stimulation of the circulatory system – promoting lymph drainage and increased blood flow to muscles.
- Promotes deeper, slower breathing as the body relaxes, making the lungs work more efficiently and increasing 02 intake.
This is not an exhaustive list and just gives an idea of some of the main benefits of receiving a massage.
Benefits of massage when pregnant
Pregnancy is an amazing and extremely exciting time for any mum to be, but the effects of growing a baby can put a huge strain on the body. Massage is a fantastic way to help ease some of those strains and give you some much needed relaxation time. As well as all of the benefits listed above, massage in pregnancy can help ease some of the common problems lots of mums to be face. Some examples include:
- Anaemia – Due to the increased demands placed on the body during pregnancy, iron deficiency is common. It is a condition in which there is insufficient haemoglobin in the blood. A full body massage will help boost blood and lymph circulation, plus help relieve tiredness. By stimulating circulation it will also raise the red blood count and produce more haemoglobin.
- Stress – Pregnancy can be a worrying time for any new mum to be. A massage will help to reduce anxiety and tension and can help ease symptoms. A massage allows you to completely relax and let your worries drift away. Endorphins released can help improve your mood and outlook and you will hopefully leave feeling less stressed and anxious.
- Back pain – Backache that is felt in the lower and upper back is common as your baby grows and your posture changes. Massage can help greatly as it will help loosen any tight muscles and help relieve tension in the back. The massage can be tailored to focus on any areas of pain that you may have.
- Stretch Marks – Massage will help nourish the skin and moisturise it through the wax or oils used. This will help to keep the skin supple and assist in helping to avoid the possibility of getting stretch marks.
- Swelling – Due to the increased blood flow in pregnancy, your circulatory system will be working far harder than normal. This can lead to some swelling in later pregnancy. Massage can aid the circulatory system helping the body to eliminate toxins and drain lymph. This in turn will help ease any swelling you may have.
- Time for me – most importantly, a massage when pregnant gives you some time for yourself; some time to focus on your wellbeing and to relax. Your body is doing amazing things by growing and nurturing a baby, giving your body some time to stop, relax and be rejuvenated will be hugely beneficial for both your mind, your body and your baby.
Contra-indications to massage when pregnant
There are times when it is not appropriate to have a pregnancy massage, if for example you are suffering from any of the following:
- Morning sickness or extreme nausea
- Heavy vaginal discharge or if it is bloody or watery
- High blood pressure
- High temperature/fever
- Abdominal pain or cramping
- Unusual or unidentified pain
- Contagious illness
After receiving a Massage treatment it is common for clients to experience certain reactions. Illnesses and diseases that have been suppressed with medication, or held emotions, may surface during treatment. This is a normal reaction to the treatment especially if you have never had a treatment before or if the body is very stressed.
With regular treatments and, as a body starts to heal and re-balance, these after-effects will subdue. After a treatment it is advisable to do the following:
- Drink plenty of water – It is particularly important to re-hydrate your body and help it to remove excess toxins. The effect of massage on the body makes the body’s systems function more efficiently, speeding up waste removal and the elimination of toxins. Due to this, some of the after effects of massage you may experience could include frequent urination, headaches, thirst and sleepiness. Do not be alarmed if the colour of your urine changes to become more yellow either. This indicates the elimination of excess toxins from the body is taking place.
- Avoid alcohol and stimulants – As the body is working hard to eliminate toxins and heal itself, any alcohol or stimulants consumed will have a much faster effect on the body.
- Temperature control – As the massage has relaxed the body and lowered the blood pressure, you may feel a drop in your body temperature. Make sure you keep warm to allow your body to adjust once the massage has been finished.
- Avoid a heavy meal – As you body is working hard to eliminate toxins and speed up waste removal it is advisable to avoid a heavy meal to allow the body to recover and rest.
- Sleep pattern – Massage may have a number of effects on your sleep pattern. The treatment may leave you feeling re-energised and unable to sleep, or alternatively you may be left feeling very tired and find you actually sleep for longer than you normally would. Both reactions are perfectly normal.
- Healing crisis – As a massage is a very personal experience, the contact felt between the therapist and the client may trigger off what is known as a healing crisis. This can happen up to 48 hours after the treatment. The treatment may unlock deep emotions that have been suppressed causing you to feel emotional and sometimes weepy. This is perfectly normal.