Benefits of getting a massage
One of my favorite ways to care for my body is through a massage. It is relaxing and helps my body release aches, stress and more. The best thing is that there are many benefits of getting a massage. Keep reading to learn why you should add this activity to your self-care routine.
Caring for my body
I find so much benefit in getting massages and have been doing so for decades. I carry stress in my shoulders/upper back, plus sit at a desk for work (and blogging!) AND you all know I love to be active. Even with the stretching that I do, my body still gets sore, especially with the estrogen inhibitor I’m on (it causes joint/tendon inflammation in my hips). So, wow, do I appreciate when someone works out the knots and stiffness. It’s also a great way to help me relax and release any tension, overthinking and more.
I’m admittedly surprised when I hear someone has never had a professional massage, mostly because I receive so many benefits of getting a massage. Done by a licensed professional massage therapist, it is way different than a family or friend rubbing your shoulders. If you’re unfamiliar, massage therapy involves using different pressures and techniques to manipulate muscles and other soft tissues in the body. There are many different types of massage too (Swedish, deep tissue, etc.). If you’ve never had a professional massage, I recommend starting with a Swedish massage.
Cancer survivors and massage
There is confusion on whether or not cancer survivors can get massages. I heard that you can’t get a massage after having lymph nodes removed as it can cause lymphedema. However, I had one (negative, yay!) lymph node removed during my lumpectomy so my surgeon assured me that massage was perfectly safe for me. Whew! Also, there are some massage therapists trained in lymphatic and other specialty massage so check into that if interested (many cancer centers now offer massage therapy and other homeopathic services). OF COURSE always speak to your doctor to confirm if massage is ok for you.
There are many benefits of getting a massage. Here are a few:
Relieves pain and muscle tightness. So many of us have tightness, chronic pain and discomfort in our bodies. Massage can help alleviate this by easing muscle knots, tightness and more.
Boosts mental health. Research indicates that massage can help reduce stress, anxiety and other symptoms, which in turn helps improve our mental health.
Increases immune system functions. Some studies show that regular massages increase the body’s white blood cells (the cells that combat viruses). That’s a good reason for me get a massage!
Better sleep. Massages help decrease cortisol (a stress hormone) and increase levels of serotonin and dopamine to stabilize your mood. Getting a massage in the evening can help relax you to be ready for a good night’s sleep.
Bonus tips to enjoy your massage:
- Massage services can be expensive. While some insurance plans cover massage if done in a healthcare facility (physical therapy, medical center, etc.), many do not (sadly, mine does not). Good news is that many places offer special discounts for first-time customers. Or sites like Groupon, Airbnb experiences and others also may offer special pricing at spas. Ask about special offers and other money-saving opportunities.
- Don’t hesitate to ask for what makes you comfortable. Male/female therapist, type of pressure (light, firm), body parts to avoid (my friend hates her feet being touched). Also always share with the massage therapist if you have a health condition, pain somewhere in your body, etc. If you don’t like a massage therapist, don’t give up on massage! There are LOTS of options to enjoy massages.
Ready to relax?
Do you like getting a massage? If so, how often do you go?
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