When stress is more than just a pain in the neck…

by admin

A good massage is great to relieve stress in the back and improve your posture

Imagine this – soft hands gently massaging the knots out of your shoulders; kneading the tired muscles in your back; and rubbing the nape of your neck until you feel the stress leaving your mind and body. And then you feel energized and straighten up, all tensions forgotten – and you’re ready to take on the world! That’s right – there’s very little that can rival the benefits of a good massage on your back and posture.
Stress Related Pain | Massages | Life Hyped
Stress manifests itself very easily in your back. It could result from a bad day at work; too many hours working frantically on the computer; long commutes to work and back; tight deadlines; bad relationships; ad infinitum. The result? May be a stiff neck; tight shoulder blades; lower back pain; a hunched back; and much more.

You could of course go to an orthopedist; chiropractor; or physiotherapist. But if all you’re suffering from is stress, then you can possibly solve your problems with a good massage.

Massage in its many avatars

Massage is a generic term for rubbing, pressing, or even manipulating your tendons, ligaments, and muscles, through your skin. It can involve deep pressure or light stroking. Some common types of massage include:

Trigger point massage. This type of massage targets areas of your body where you have tight muscle fibers which may form in your muscles as a result of overuse or injury.

Deep massage. This technique involves more-forceful yet slow strokes, focusing on connective tissues and deeper layers of muscle and is more effective on damaged muscles resulting from injuries.

Sports massage. This is more effective for sports people in order to treat or even prevent injuries.

Swedish massage. This requires massaging gently while kneading, using deep circular movements, long strokes, tapping and vibration to help you relax and get energized.

Making the most of massage

There’s more to massage than just lying down and letting someone work on your muscles. There’s a process to it. And if you follow the process, it can be a very rewarding experience for you.

For starters, your massage therapist is likely to question you about your medical history, lifestyle and your reasons for wanting a massage. Based on your needs, your massage therapist will explain the techniques that will be used. And then your session will begin.

Typically, you will either need to undress or wear loose clothing. Choose the option that you’re comfortable with. You will then probably be asked to lie down on a table, covered with a sheet. Or remain seated in a chair, depending on the kind of massage you need.

The massage therapist will then use touch to identify the areas of stress in your body and the amount of pressure to be used. And will then decide on whether to use a lotion or oil to massage you with, to avoid friction, and ensure a smoother massage. Do ask about the ingredients in the oil or lotion, in case you’re allergic to any of them.

Massage sessions can typically last from 10 to 90 minutes. This depends on how much time you can spare and the type of massage you want. A massage therapist may sometimes push too hard – be open about the degree of pressure you’re comfortable with. When tight knots in your muscles are being worked out, it may get a little painful. If it bothers you, just say so.

If you’ve been under a lot of stress, it may take a while for you to give in to the pleasure of being massaged and to relax. So, give yourself time and lie back and enjoy it. Close your eyes and focus on the sensations created by the massage therapist’s fingers. Feel the knots in your muscles loosen; the stiffness drain out; and feel yourself relax completely. Allow yourself to doze off and then wake up refreshed.

Do your due diligence

Don’t just select a massage therapist from the yellow pages online. Ask your physician or a friend to recommend a good massage therapist. Look into their qualifications, such as:

  • Are they registered, certified or licensed?
  • How much training have they had?
  • How experienced are they?

Also, find out how many sessions you may need and how much they will cost. You can also check if these sessions can be covered by health insurance.

A word of caution – don’t think that a massage is just to pamper yourself, or that you’re being self-indulgent. A good professional massage is an effective tool to relieve stress while helping with other health conditions, and to improve posture. This is something you owe yourself if stress is affecting your daily life. So, do make time to get yourself a good massage and experience the benefits of being stress-free for a long time to come.

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