What Is A Massage Like? Every year, more and more people are turning to massage therapy and related bodywork techniques to relieve pain and tension, increase flexibility or reduce mental and physical fatigue. But before trying this healthful and pleasurable experience, most people want to know, "What will it be like?"
A Bodywork Style for Every Need There is not one standard style of massage, although Swedish massage is what many people think of when it is mentioned. Swedish massage uses long flow strokes, deep kneading, surface friction, light tapping, and joint movement to improve circulation, increase flexibility and relieve stress.
Many massage therapists are trained in specialized types of bodywork which they may use exclusively or in some combination to meet your needs. For example, there are techniques to relieve painful muscle tension and trigger points, stretch contracted fascia (the muscles' protective covering), reeling and heal injured tissue, aid lymph drainage, or restore the flow of energy throughout the body. Click here to learn more about the styles of massage and bodywork in which I am trained.
When You Walk In the Room Your massage therapist will need to know your general state of health since there are some conditions for which massage is not appropriate.
Depending on the primary technique your therapist is planning to use, you may or may not need to undress. For a full-body Swedish massage, most people undress completely, though may choose to wear underwear. Your massage therapist will give you privacy to undress, and you will be covered except for the area being worked on.
The idea that touch can heal is an old one...and science is confirming what we knew in our hearts—that, as psychiatrist James Gordon puts it, "massage is medicine."--Reader's Digest
You will relax on a padded massage table designed for stability and comfort. For support, your therapist may offer cushions or an adjustable face rest. The room will be warm and quiet, often with soft music to set a relaxing mood.
For many techniques, your massage therapist will use a light oil or lotion, which is good for your skin and absorbs well. For some kinds of bodywork, no oil or lotion is used.
A massage or bodywork session usually begins with relatively gentle pressure to calm your nervous system and release superficial tension. Gradually, your therapist works more deeply to address specific areas.
How Long Is A Session? An hour is a common session length. This gives time for a deeply relaxing full-body massage, or more in-depth work on a particular area, for example back, neck, and shoulders. A half-hour can be an excellent introduction to bodywork, with time for a specific area such as back, neck, and shoulders. An hour and a half is usually more than enough time to address the whole body, with special attention to a problem area.
How Will It Feel? Massage on healthy tissue should feel wonderful. The normal response is to slow down, breathe deeply and relax.
If you are sensitive to touch, your massage therapist will use gentle but firm pressure to calm your nervous system, gradually preparing you for deeper touch.
The saying "no pain, no gain" is not true for massage and bodywork. The most effective and deepest massage works with the body's natural responses, not against them. Working in the area of an injury or chronic pain may at first cause some discomfort, which usually lessens in the first few minutes. Always tell your therapist if the pressure feels too deep. She can modify the approach to minimize pain, and will work carefully within your comfort level.
During Your Massage Make yourself comfortable. If your therapist wants you to adjust your position, she will either move you (for instance lift your arm) or she will tell you what is needed. Otherwise, change your position anytime to be more comfortable.
Many people just close their eyes and relax completely during a session; others prefer to talk. It's your massage, and whatever feels natural to you is the best way to relax. Do not hesitate to ask questions at any time.
The desire to sigh or take a deep breath is a sign that you are relaxing. In fact, breathing deeply can actually help you relax.
What to Expect Afterwards Massage and bodywork can be profoundly relaxing, affecting all your body's systems. Give yourself a moment to reorient before slowly getting up. Following a session, many people experience freedom from aches and pains that have built up over months of tension or repetitive activity. After an initial period of feeling slowed down, people often experience an increase in energy that can last for several days. Sometimes you many not feel dramatic results right away. Watch for changes over the following days, such as pain relief, increased mobility or reduced stress.
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Medical Disclaimer: All information is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. I cannot and do not give you medical advice. You should seek prompt licensed medical care for any specific health issues and consult your physician or other licensed health care provider before purchasing any health-relied product(s) or before taking on a new exercise program, or making any changes to your health and wellness routines. The information contained in this online site and emails is presented in summary form only and intended to provide broad consumer understanding and knowledge of products and services offered. No communication by Amy Hodder, or her representatives, to you should be deemed as personalized medical or health care advice. The information should not be considered complete and should not be used in place of a visit, a call, a consultation or the advice of your physician or other licensed health care provider. I do not recommend the self-management of health problems. Information obtained by using my services is not exhaustive and does not cover all diseases, ailments, physical conditions, or their treatment. Should you have any health care related questions, please call or see your licensed physician or other licensed health care provider promptly. You should never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read here.