Secrets of the Incredible Benefits of Massage Therapy

Massage: Get in touch with its many benefits

Originally Published: January 12th, 2021 Massage can be a powerful tool to help you take charge of your health and well-being. See if it’s right for you. By Mayo Clinic Staff


Massage used to be available only through luxury spas and upscale health clubs. Today, massage therapy is offered in businesses, clinics, hospitals, and even airports. If you’ve never tried massage, learn about its possible health benefits and what to expect during a massage therapy session.

What is massage?

Massage is a general term for pressing, rubbing, and manipulating your skin, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Massage may range from light stroking to deep pressure. There are many different types of massage, including these common types:

  • Swedish massage. This is a gentle form of massage that uses long strokes, kneading, deep circular movements, vibration, and tapping. It helps you feel relaxed and energized.
  • Deep massage. This massage technique uses slower, more forceful strokes to target the deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue. It’s commonly used to help with muscle damage from injuries.
  • Sports massage. This is similar to Swedish massage, but it’s geared toward people involved in sports activities to help prevent or treat injuries.
  • Trigger point massage. This massage focuses on areas of tight muscle fibers that can form in your muscles after injuries or overuse.

Benefits of massage

Massage is generally considered part of integrative medicine. It’s increasingly being offered along with standard treatment for a wide range of medical conditions and situations.

Massage benefits can include:

  • Reducing stress and increasing relaxation
  • Reducing pain and muscle soreness and tension
  • Improving circulation, energy, and alertness
  • Lowering heart rate and blood pressure
  • Improving immune function

While more research is needed to confirm the benefits of massage, some studies have found massage may also be helpful for:

  • Anxiety
  • Digestive disorders
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia related to stress
  • Low back pain
  • Myofascial pain syndrome
  • Nerve pain
  • Soft tissue strains or injuries
  • Sports injuries
  • Temporomandibular joint pain
  • Upper back and neck pain

Beyond the benefits for specific conditions or diseases, some people enjoy massage because it often produces feelings of caring, comfort, and connection.

Despite its benefits, massage isn’t meant as a replacement for regular medical care. Let your doctor know you’re trying massage and be sure to follow any standard treatment plans you have.

Risks of massage

Most people can benefit from massage. However, massage may not be appropriate if you have:

  • Bleeding disorders or take blood-thinning medication
  • Burns or healing wounds
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Infections
  • Broken bones (fractures)
  • Severe osteoporosis
  • A very low platelet count (severe thrombocytopenia)

Discuss the pros and cons of massage with your doctor, especially if you are pregnant or if you have cancer or unexplained pain.

Some forms of massage can leave you feeling a bit sore the next day. But massage shouldn’t ordinarily be painful or uncomfortable. If any part of your massage doesn’t feel right or is painful, speak up right away. Most serious problems come from too much pressure during massage.

What you can expect during a massage

You don’t need any special preparation for massage. Before a massage therapy session starts, your massage therapist should ask you about any symptoms, your medical history, and what you’re hoping to get out of the massage. Your massage therapist should explain the kind of massage and techniques he or she will use.

In a typical massage therapy session, you undress or wear loose-fitting clothing. Undress only to the point that you’re comfortable. You generally lie on a table and cover yourself with a sheet. Your massage therapist will leave the room when you undress before the massage and when you dress after it. You can also have a massage while sitting in a chair, fully clothed. Your massage therapist should perform an evaluation through touch to locate painful or tense areas and to determine how much pressure to apply.

Depending on preference, your massage therapist may use oil or lotion to reduce friction on your skin. Tell your massage therapist if you might be allergic to any ingredients.

A massage session may last from 10 to 90 minutes, depending on the type of massage and how much time you have. No matter what kind of massage you choose, you should feel calm and relaxed during and after your massage. Breathe normally throughout your massage.

Your massage therapist may play music during your massage or talk to you, but you can tell him or her if you prefer quiet.

If a massage therapist is pushing too hard, ask for lighter pressure. Occasionally you may have a sensitive spot in a muscle that feels like a knot. It’s likely to be uncomfortable while your massage therapist works it out. But if it becomes painful, speak up.

Finding a massage therapist

Ask your doctor or someone else you trust for a recommendation. Most states regulate massage therapists through licensing, registration, or certification requirements.

Don’t be afraid to ask a potential massage therapist such questions as:

  • Are you licensed, certified, or registered?
  • What are your training and experience?
  • How many massage therapy sessions do you think I’ll need?
  • What’s the cost, and is it covered by health insurance?

The take-home message about massage

Brush aside any thoughts that massage is only a feel-good way to indulge or pamper yourself. On the contrary, massage can be a powerful tool to help you take charge of your health and well-being, whether you have a specific health condition or are just looking for another stress reliever. You can even learn how to do self-massage or how to engage in massage with a partner at home.


Find Out How To Never Give Up

Feeling Like Giving Up? Read This Before You Do

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Originally Published on May 22, 2021By Christopher Fern


What do anger, shame, remorse, guilt, frustration, overwhelm, indecisiveness, scarcity, and fear all have in common? When an emotional response occurs, the amygdala – the part of the brain most often referred to as “snake brain” takes hold, causing you to “process” the emotions. What’s actually happening then is that we’re living a memory from the past in the now – a form of time travel: the mind knows no different.

It’s up to you how you want to leave it though. The way you feel is determined by how you linked those two things. The way you feel when you’re triggered again is about how you link them now. When you’re inspired, it’s the same except you’re applying excitement or fear to the life you could have, not the life you do.

Step 1 – Realize You’re Drunk and You Don’t Even Know It

In a recent study conducted by Harvard Scientists, “Bandwidth Tax” was discovered, and fundamentally means you’re walking around drunk. It also happens way sooner than you think. 

“[The] effects [of the two groups’ questions] correspond to between 13 and 14 IQ points. A gain of that many points can lift you from the category of “average” to “superior” intelligence. Or, if you move in the other direction, losing 13 points can take you from “average” to a category labeled “borderline-deficient.” In our studies, the same person has fewer IQ points when he or she is preoccupied with scarcity than when not. This cognitive penalty is the key to our story.” 

And when this happens, it’s a perpetual cycle. This is the origin of stress, burnout, or overwhelm lives here, and is perpetuated by it.

Step 2 – Notice Repetitive Decisions

In order to reduce bandwidth tax, you must reduce the number of things you’re paying attention to and the frequency at which you’re paying attention to them. To do so requires identifying repetitive patterns and minimizing them.

When I was a boy, my mother calculated her budget the same way every month – she pulled out her pen and paper, started with her fixed income, subtracted expenses, and hoped for the best. Same numbers, same math, different expectations. And to top it off, we always ran out of money! 

I couldn’t help but wonder, why was she acting as if anything else mattered other than what was left after bills? Her income didn’t change. The expenses didn’t change. But she kept running the same numbers, arriving at the same conclusion of having a certain amount left over, and doing it every month.

Don’t be like my late mother. Be on time. Take a look in these areas for repeating decisions:

  • Is there a consistent outcome – like cash flow with my mother? Focus on the abbreviated form you can trust.
  • Do you find that you spend impulsively under certain conditions? You can predict the conditions and the impulse. 
  • Are you using lists? Despite popular opinion, lists create bandwidth tax. Best to find a way to minimize what you see at once. 
“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” – Thomas Edison

Step 3 – Create a Metric

You need a metric to measure your effectiveness. Metrics give you measurable and attainable ways to recognize improvements.

Some examples are:

  • In the case of my dearly departed mother:  “cash leftover” or “time it takes to budget” could be the result of the consolidation we just discussed. 
  • With Bandwidth Tax the metric is IQ.
  • Time is always a good metric because it’s the only thing we’re limited by. It can also apply to almost anything that causes inconvenience.

This metric should be how you measure all decisions of the same type. It’s the thing that tells you if you’re essentially 4 beers in, just 1, or none at all. It’s something that should be countable but has to apply to your situation. This will create meaning in your productivity.

Step 4 – Batch Process

Now that we have metrics for all of these things that cause Bandwidth Tax, we can go even further. How can we begin to manage all of the metrics? Simple – batch processing. 

I remember in high school I saw a teacher grading papers, and he was grading all of them at once – literally.  “By grading all of the questions 1 first, then all of the question 2’, it’s much faster because my mind doesn’t have to keep ‘question switching’“ he said when I asked why. This stuck with me, and it began my deep dive into this phenomenon.

Also known as Chunking, batch processing allows us to focus on doing things of a similar type over time to reduce bandwidth tax. It’s very similar to keeping that paper to budget, then using it for another family member. The goal with Chunking is to make it seem to your mind like all of the tasks you’re doing are so similar they might as well be the same, thereby reducing Bandwidth Tax. This is like focus, but further.

Step 5 – Ritual

But we can go, even so, one step further. And this is the step that will solidify the claim that we can trust our decisions in any state. This is the principle of Habitualization, or simple – Ritual. 

This step involves making a groove in your mind so clearly – a groove that represents the stepwise, never-changing, very simple WAY of doing a thing that depends heavily on all that we’ve talked about.  A ritual, or habit, tells the mind that it can, fundamentally, consider something so trustworthy it can be ignored. This is the opposite of bandwidth tax. 

With any of the things we’ve worked on in this article, ask yourself how you might be able to “program” them into you. If there are changes to consider, can you consider them all at once?

 

Those programs are going to be the new subconscious, controlling the amygdala, and to do all 5 of these steps will make the thing that once made you act as if you were drunk seem like you’re simply taking a sip of wonderful spring water. RELATED TOPICS:BANDWIDTH TAXCLARITYCLEAR MINDFEELINGSGIVING UPINTERNAL PROGRAMSMINDSETTHOUGHTSUP NEXTThe Secret to Your Weekly SuccessDON’T MISSBurnout Is Real. Here Are Five Strategies to Manage It

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Christopher Fern

Christopher Fern is an author, inventor, and entrepreneur. His innovative approaches to coaching, education, and psychology fueled the creation of Mindful Money, a self-mastery platform that effectively aligns responsibility, values, feelings, and impulses regardless of your emotional state have resulted in his being featured in media such as Shefik Presents Invocation, The Good Men Project, the Sourcitarian Summit, Thrive Global, and more. To Christopher, being aware of our weaknesses is as important as our strengths, as they provide the Bias Blueprint for us to know where and how to fit in the world. To learn more, visit christopherfern.com and practicemindfulmoney.com.

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