by Robert La Bua
Make massage a regular part of life – here’s why
The benefits of massage have long been known and documented, yet massage is still regarded as a luxury of the very pampered of the very pampered. If there were massage centres in every neighbourhood right next to the post office and their services cost five dollars an hour, would you have more massages? I think you would…and the benefits would be significant!
Exactly what are the benefits of massage?
Many traditional massage styles, having originated in the East where understanding of such things is taken more seriously, emphasize balance between tangible body parts and the intangibles of spirit, energy, and emotion. Since Western medicine cannot get its head around the concept of intangible, it views massage as a good method to achieve tangible results.
One of those tangible results is improved circulation. As one whose hands and feet turn colder than any of Liza Minnelli’s wedding nights, I can personally attest to the benefit of getting your blood flowing more freely to the extremities. Blood is the human body’s courier service, delivering myriad vital substances to each cell so that it can carry out its job as efficiently as possible. Bad blood, bad delivery system–not what you want happening inside.
Lymphatic draining is a funny expression that represents a serious task. The lymphatic system is a network of vessels used to transport fluid, fats, proteins, and lymphocytes to the bloodstream. It also removes microorganisms and other debris from tissues. If it sounds important, it is. Lymphatic draining helps keep the lymphatic system clean, much like colonic irrigation keeps the bowel clean, only without any external repercussions.
For professional athletes who make immense demands on their bodies every day, daily massage is the norm. But why do athletes get massaged so much?
Rubbing helps improve recovery after exertion or injury as well as help prevent injury in the first place. Sadly, much of Western medicine is reactive, seeking to remedy that which has already happened. On the other hand; preventative medicine, which is supposed to help keep injury and illness from occurring in the first place, is less easily monitored and therefore less easily celebrated.
Realignment of ‘energy centres’ sounds zany, but you’ll certainly feel the difference between you in and unbalanced state and you in an aligned state. Increased relaxation and balance may not be easily measured, but they are also immeasurably important to your overall well-being. If you take the time for constant inner-body maintenance, you will feel absolutely fantastic.
If professional massages are too expensive or too intimidating (not everyone is comfortable removing garments in front of strangers), then don’t go. Don’t however, forsake your need or desire to be rubbed – any rubbing is better than none and it doesn’t have to be done by a professional.
I you are too shy to be rubbed by a stranger with the light on, have a friend squeeze your toes and rub the side of your foot while watching House or give someone a shoulder massage at work. You’d be amazed how effective even a three-minute rub can be!
One of the perverse results of tactile deprivation is the heightened effectiveness of touch when it is experienced. You can even massage certain strategic points of the body yourself (the arch of the foot or the underside of the wrist, for example) to elicit physical benefit. For an effective massage, here’s what we suggest:
For an effective massage:
- create a peaceful, relaxed environment with the massagee in a comfortable position, areas not being immediately administered covered and kept warm;
- warm any massage oil used before applying and use sparingly so as to maintain some friction;
- start gently so that hands may become acquainted with the body part;
- encourage feedback to better address problem areas;
- avoid direct pressure on the spine, working instead to its sides;
- keep at least one hand on the body while moving around the massagee–avoid breaking contact;
- drink lots of water afterwards to help flush out toxins that have been kneaded out of the muscles;
- finally, the masseur should wash his/her hands up to the elbows to remove negativity extracted from the other person
Make massage a regular part of your routine – we promise you’ll feel the benefits!