One of my favorite indulgences, especially after logging a lot of hours at my desk, at the gym and on the road in my car, is to get a nice deep tissue sports massage. I believe that getting a massage isn’t just about being pampered and relaxing at the spa—it comes with a long list of health benefits, both physical and mental. Even just 10 minutes of massage can help reduce muscle inflammation and soreness, according to recent studies. Read below to find out more about the different benefits of getting a massage and learn which type is right for you!
- Helps Muscle Pain. Massage increases and improves circulation by helping get rid of kinks and loosen stiff and tight muscles, making it an effective form of treatment for those who often suffer from chronic back pain. It has even been shown to help those suffering from conditions like arthritis and muscular dystrophy. Massage also signals muscle to build more mitochondria—cell power centers that play an important role in healing.
- Decreases Anxiety. Studies have shown that people who experience depression and anxiety have reduced stress levels after receiving massage therapy. Human touch that is safe, friendly and professional can create a very relaxing and therapeutic experience.
- Better Sleep. Massage promotes relaxation and sleep, and has even been show to help babies sleep more and cry less, according to a research study from the University of Warwick.
- Improved Digestion. Massage can indirectly normalize digestive function through normalization of the Autonomous Nervous System, which can have a stimulating effect on the digestive organs, stimulate peristalsis, and improve tone of the large and small intestines.
- Fewer Headaches. Another study showed that people experienced fewer migraines during the weeks they received massage therapy. By focusing on the neck, shoulders and head, massage can lessen the pain and discomfort caused by headaches or migraines, and can even decrease the chances of migraines and headaches by relaxing muscle spasms and trigger points.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF MASSAGE AND WHICH IS RIGHT FOR ME?
There are many types of massages available, and depending on your needs, certain types may be more beneficial. Whether you’re just looking to relax or if you have chronic muscle pain, there’s something for everybody when it comes to massage therapy. Many of these treatments can also be combined to create your own customized massage experience.
Swedish – One of the most common types of massage, Swedish is a gentler technique that focuses on long strokes, kneading, and deeper movements with lighter pressure. Helps relieve stress and promote relaxation.
Deep Tissue – Commonly used to help muscles heal and recover, deep tissue massage incorporates slow, firm strokes to target deeper layers of muscle and tissue and break up knots.
Sports Massage – Geared towards athletes, sports massage isn’t a relaxing massage and can even feel uncomfortable at ties. This type of therapy is designed to treat sports injuries and other physical ailments. This is my favorite type of massage! It’s not supposed to be pleasant, but it really helps alleviate soreness, tightness, knots and kinks!
Reflexology – This technique applies pressure to certain “reflex zones” on the hands and feet, and helps relieve stress and promote relaxation.
Hot Stone – For this specialty massage, heated stones are either placed on the body, and/or used in the therapist’s hands while they perform the massage. The heat helps relax and warm up tight muscles, making it easier to get to the deeper layers of muscle more quickly. I love it when the massage therapist works away at knots with the hot stones!
Thai Massage – The next best thing to a yoga class, Thai massage eliminates tension and relieves stress by incorporating a combination of point pressure, stretching, and energy meridian work. Unlike other massages, Thai massage doesn’t require any oil or lotion and is performed while one is completely clothed. It also helps encourage strength, flexibility, and recapture lost range of motion.
If you live in the LA area, I highly recommend iHeart Massage! Rudy, the owner, also participated in our Strong Girl Sisterhood Event at USC Alpha Phi and offered 10 minute massages to all of the girls that attended!
What’s your favorite type of massage? How often do you get massages? Let me know by leaving a comment below!