You know those mini-quizzes on social media that ask if you could have one service for free for the rest of your life? Options usually include: a gourmet chef, live-in housecleaner or massage therapy daily?
I always pick the massage.
And then I think about the messes and how much I don’t love dishes and go back and forth between the other options. Of course, while it is a fun thing to think about, a live in maid, chef, or massage therapist is unfortunately not very realistic.
Even if money weren’t an issue, it would be impossible for most moms to sneak away for a daily massage. As mothers, we often have a lot of stress, and since massage therapy has many benefits, that’s a match made in relaxation heaven… Except for time and money.
Benefits of Massage Therapy
Massage therapy has many benefits besides the obvious one of relaxation. It is now often suggested by doctors, physical therapists and chiropractors for various reasons.
Massage can range from light pressure to deep tissue (a lot of pressure) and there are many types of massage, including:
Swedish– A gentle massage that uses gentle, long strokes. Mainly focused on relaxation and tension relief.
Deep Tissue– Uses slower strokes and more pressure to reach deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue.
Sports– A style that often uses a combination of different techniques to help relieve sports strain or injury.
Trigger Point– A focused type massage often used for relief of tension from overuse or injury.
No matter the type, massage can help:
Massage provides external physical pressure to muscles and helps remove tension. This is the most common reason people get a massage.
Improve Flexibility & Reduce Injury
The pressure and stretching of the muscles can help improve their ability to stretch. Athletes often get a regular massage to help increase flexibility and reduce the chance of injury (and to help rehab from injury).
Though less well-known, massage may also increase immune function by stimulating lymph flow in the body. This helps promote a strong immune system.
Shorten Hospital Stays
A study found that women who received regular prenatal massage had shorter hospital stays when they delivered their babies. The reason is not completely clear, but researchers suspect that it is the affects of increased relaxation and blood flow.
A number of studies have shown that massage has a positive effect on sleep. This is likely because of its affect on delta waves, the ones most connected to deep sleep.