The current events of our time – from politics to health concerns – can be stressful and exhausting. One of the best ways to quiet the mind and relax the body is through massage. Research shows that massage has numerous health benefits – and not just our physical health, but also our mental and emotional health as well. If we feel refreshed, we are able to function better in all of our roles.
Massage Styles & Techniques
Massage is not one-size-fits-all; rather, it is a personalized experience that can be adapted to meet the needs of the individual. There are several different styles and massage techniques. Here are just a few.
Swedish or Relaxation: A gentle technique that uses long strokes, kneading, deep circular movements, vibration and tapping to target the upper layers of the muscles to help relax and energize the body.
Deep Massage: Targets the deep layers of the muscles by using deep, slow and smooth strokes to ease the tension that may be beyond the reach of a relaxation massage.
Sports Massage: Designed specifically for the very physically active, it combines several techniques to concentrate on the body areas related to a specific sport; athletes often get sports massages to prepare for peak performance, prevent and treat an injury and reduce the buildup of lactic acid.
Trigger-Point or Neuromuscular: Targets areas of tender muscle points and tight muscle fibers that can form in the muscles following an injury or muscle overuse.
Myofascial Release: Gentle, sustained pressure into the connective tissue that covers the muscles and is present throughout the body (much like a spiderweb), eases painful restrictions and restores range of motion.
Craniosacral: Extremely light pressure stimulates the muscles and fluids within the cranium (head) and around the spinal cord to help relieve stress and headaches.
Acupressure: Involves applying pressure to certain points on the body to relieve pain and promote health and well-being.
Streto Method Stretch: “Where your mind goes, the body will follow.” That’s why Massage Envy’s Streto Method starts at the head and neck and works downward to stretch and lengthen tendons and fascia throughout your body.
In addition to the various types of massage, add-on therapies can be part of the massage session. Here are just a few of some of the more popular add-on therapies:
Aromatherapy and Essential Oils: Essential oils are highly concentrated plant essences that have restorative properties; the oils can be applied to the skin or diffused into the room.
Hot Stone: Use of hot stones applied to the body to bring warmth and pressure to release tension, soothe and jumpstart the healing process.
Exfoliating Sugar Scrub: Gentle exfoliation using a sugar scrub followed by smooth application of shea butter exfoliates the skin and increases energy.
Enhanced Muscle Therapy: A great way to unlock tight muscles using a sequence of topical warming gel followed by topical cooling gel to flush the muscles of toxins.
Other Ways to De-stress and Unwind
Although a daily massage would be ideal for many, it is not a reality for most. No worries! There are other ways to relax and rejuvenate. Here are just a few:
Close your eyes, breathe deeply. A big “sigh” can do worlds of good to help you relax.
Eat right. Don’t deny yourself the opportunity to have a favorite holiday dish or rich dessert, just remember to add plenty of plant-based fruit and vegetables and high-protein foods to offset all the carbs and sugar.
Limit alcohol. Alcohol also triggers the body’s stress reaction, leaves you feeling tired in the morning, and often can be the cause of less-than-ideal behavior.
Don’t skimp on the exercise. Exercise helps melt the stress away, increases energy, promotes good sleep at night, and helps to keep us healthy. Don’t put your physical health on the shelf.
Focus on people. When it’s all said and done, people matter. QCBN
By Mark Love
For more information on the benefits of rapid tension release massage and to schedule an appointment with a massage therapist, visit MassageEnvy.com, call 928-778-ENVY (3689) and follow on Facebook at Facebook.com/MassageEnvyflagstaff. Schedule an appointment online – your time, your convenience, your massage. Mark Love is the franchisee of Massage Envy Spa Flagstaff, located at 1235 S. Plaza Way in the University Plaza Shopping Center next to Safeway.