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Hello there, it’s me,your friendly neighborhood Licensed Massage Therapist! Yes, I’m licensed and have been massaging for about 5 years now. And though I haven’t been doing much massaging these days (thank you covid), I have definitely been finding every and any way to achieve the benefits of massage therapy at home.
We’ve all got tense muscles to tend to.
Whether you’re over-working, or under-working, massage therapy is essential for everyone.
In my 5 years massaging I have come across so many people seeking massage for various reasons.
From car accidents, slip and fall injuries, scar tissue build up, fertility issues, tense muscles, anxiety, headaches, vertigo… I can go on.
However the number one reason people have come to see me is for stress related aches and pains.
Aches and pains their doctors had no answers for.
Most people were looking for alternative approaches to dealing with their pain because they spent months or even years visiting specialists with no solutions.
I was able to help many people get relief and off of pain medication simply with my hands and guidance on lifestyle changes.
Some would end up upset with themselves that they didn’t try massage sooner.
If you’ve never received a professional massage you’re probably wondering how in the world can a massage help with all of this?
Well continue reading to find out more about the importance of massage and how to get benefits from home.
Why Is It Important To Get A Massage?
Massage is an ancient healing modality that has been used for many different ailments.
Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine himself, believed that massage was something every physician should be experienced in. Suggesting massage was an important part in a patient’s treatment plan.
Aside from the importance of utilizing massage as part of treatment, I believe massage is best used as a form of maintenance.
Regular massage has many benefits, which help keep the body healthy in many different ways.
Is Massage Therapy Scientifically Proven?
Even though it was an ancient technique used way before prescription medicine, massage is becoming more and more recognized by doctors and other health professionals.
There are countless studies proving the effects of massage on various ailments.
Though you might still come across some medical professionals who doubt the power of massage it’s best to see for yourself how it can affect you and your health.
There are many different types of massage and some work better than others for specific ailments.
It’s best to know about the types of massage there are available so that you can get a more tailored experience for the best results!
What Are The Types Of Massage?
Swedish – Light flowing strokes and kneading that provide the whole body deep relaxation.
Deep Tissue – Deeper pressure and more specific muscle treatment that releases tightness and targets knots.
Trigger Point Therapy – A mixture of light and deep pressure to specific trigger points in the muscle needing treatment. More for people who have injuries or chronic pain.
Sports – Both deeper and lighter pressure depending on the event. Mostly used to prevent injury before the sport by warming up with stretches and soothing strokes or to relieve tight muscles after an event or game to assist in faster healing and prevent soreness.
Shiatsu – A mixture of massage and acupressure, using rhythmic pressure to certain pressure points. Great for a holistic affect providing mental, emotional and physical relaxation.
Gua Sha – A stone tool used to stimulate microcirculation to the skin and muscles. It is also used to move the stagnation of chi out of the body. The stone is scraped against the skin creating a bruise like redness that eventually fades. Though it sounds painful, it’s not and is actually very soothing and is known to reduce inflammation.
Cupping Therapy – Originating in china, cupping is used to facilitate healing by bringing blood flow to the surface. The cups create suction when placed on the skin, lifting muscles. Cups can be moved around to glide across larger areas of the body, or left in place for up to 3 minutes. Cupping is known to balance yin and yang energies and help with the flow of chi. It also relieves muscle retention and helps create new connective tissue.
Lymphatic Drainage – Gentle, slow strokes moving towards drainage points. A gentle massage that encourages the movement of lymph throughout the body, helping waste and toxins to leave the body. Great for someone who has poor circulation, recently had lymph nodes removed or needs assistance detoxing.
Myofascial Release – Performed without oil or lotion, working on the fascia, the layer of connective tissue that covers muscles and bones. Using various stretching and pulling strokes to specific areas needing release. Helps restore range of motion and release restriction. Great if you have scar tissue build up or are lacking proper range of motion.
Benefits Of Massage Therapy
The compression and movement of massage facilitates the movement of oxygen rich blood through congested muscles, allowing new blood to flow in, encouraging healing.
When circulation is improved so is the lymphatic system which is the body’s natural detox function. When blood and lymph efficiently move through areas of the body its able to function as it should, dumping toxins via drainage points
Tension headaches are the most common type of headache. As their name entails, they are caused by tension in the muscles that attach to the skull. Massaging the neck, jaw and upper back can relax tense muscles allowing relief from the headache.
Research has shown that weekly massage can naturally increase the activity of white blood cells which help the body fight diseases.
One of the most common benefits and obvious effects of a massage is its ability to release endorphins, serotonin and dopamine. All feel good hormones that lower the stress hormone, cortisol.
Improves Quality Of Sleep
This 2014 study shows that massage had positive affects on balancing the hormones of postmenopausal women who were suffering from insomnia, improving their sleep. The study concluded that massage has positive effects on quality of sleep.
Lowers Blood Pressure
The effects of massage can stimulate the nervous system, enhancing the vasomotor control of the brain. Which then in turn relieves contractions in the arteries, lowering blood pressure.
By relaxing overly tight muscles like the ones in our neck and upper back that are being pulled forwards, and helping tone weak muscles like the ones around our chest and shoulders, massage can have positive improvement on posture if done regularly.
Chronic Pain Relief
Massage has the ability to override pain receptors in the muscles, which lessen overall pain. This theory is called the Gate Control Theory Of Pain.
A lot like yoga, massage can assist in flexibility when done regularly. Releasing tight muscles, as well as blood flow and movement to ligaments and tendons allow for a more elasticity.
Massage Therapy For Self Care
With its many benefits and effects to all body systems, it would be safe to say that massage should be part of everyone’s regular upkeep whether you go out to pay for one or find ways to get the benefits of massage at home.
The same way we get oil changes and other work done on our vehicles. We should be getting massages regularly to keep our lymph moving, muscles relaxed and hormones balanced.
Getting a massage isn’t the easiest thing to do these days. And even then they can be costly and most insurance doesn’t cover them.
So how can we ensure we are getting these benefits of massage therapy at home?
Below are 10 ways I advise my clients to keep up with massage when they can’t come in for an appointment.
10 Tools You Need To Get The Benefits Of Massage Therapy At Home
#1 Massage Gun
A great way to target deeper muscles in half the time. Massage guns are simple to use and are very powerful.
I love mine and would not know what I’d do without it.
My favorite feature is that it vibrates so it’s also working on moving lymph.
I use mine the most after waking up from sleeping without my pillow positioned correctly. It will leave me with tension on my neck and shoulder. Just a few minutes of using the gun will release it.
Here’s the one that helps me achieve the benefits of massage therapy at home.
Cups are also simple to use and quite inexpensive considering their amazing benefits. You can find great instructions online showing you how to use cups.
I use this set on my clients but also use for myself when i want the massage benefits at home.
My favorite tool is the smaller cups that can be used for facials.
#3 Foam Roller
Using a foam roller is a great alternative to sports massage as it works great for warming up and cooling down. It also works similarly to myofascial releases improving flexibility and range of motion.
This lightweight one is highly rated and only $17.99
#4 Lacrosse Ball
Similar to a foam roller you use a lacrosse ball to roll to find tender spots that need release. Unlike a foam roller it can target more specific areas as the ball is smaller. You can also use a tennis ball for lesser pressure.
#5 Frozen Water Bottles
Known best for treating plantar fasciitis, frozen water bottles are probably the best way to get relief as it can be done with items you already have at home.
Cryotherapy (cold therapy) is great for alleviating inflammation.
You can make these yourself and use them for your feet, neck and back to ease overworked muscles.
#6 Gua Sha Tool
These have become more popular in the self-care/ beauty community so you might already have one of these at home.
However you can use a Gua Sha tool on more than just your face to achieve a natural glow.
You can use it on your whole body, anywhere you are feeling tension or restriction.
You can find tons of videos on YouTube with great instructions on how to properly use a Gua Sha tool.
This one on amazon has amazing reviews and even comes with a beauty skin roller!
#7 Trigger Point Massage Hook
This massage hook is great for targeting trigger points in hard to reach areas. I’ve used this tool to quickly target trigger points in my upper back with great relief.
It has various nodules perfect for targeting anywhere from your neck to your feet.
This would be a great way to address trigger points at home.
#8 Acupressure Mat
An acupressure mat is probably the easiest way to obtain massage like relaxation at home.
An acupressure mat contains several hundred plastic points which apply pressure when laid on. In just 10-30 minutes of laying on the mat your body begins to release endorphins that help block pain, and bring on relaxation.
This acupressure mat on Amazon is only $21.99 and has over 16,000 positive reviews.
#9 Massage Roller
There are many different types of massage rollers, wooden, rubber, plastic, for your feet, back or legs.
However they all serve similar purposes and that’s to bring blood to the surface to facilitate healing and to relax tense muscles.
Wooden massage rollers are known to rid cellulite!
Massage rollers can also be inexpensive and easy to use. Just think of rolling out dough!
Here are a few I recommend.
This one is a #1 Best Seller on Amazon and is very simple and easy to use.
This wooden one has plenty of benefits however one of my favorites is its ability to get rid of cellulite after consistent use.
I also love the ergonomic design allowing you to easily target your full back. Just hold each end and pull back and forth like you’re drying your back with a towel!
This roller is compact and also easy to use. It comes with a steel ball that can be frozen to add cryotherapy effects.
#10 Dry Brushing
Dry brushing is another easy, low cost way to achieve the many health benefits of massage. One major benefit being moving lymph.
Dry brushing assists in removing toxins, helping your body fight off infections. And it’s super simple. The idea is that the coarse bristles remove dead skin and bring blood flow to the surface.
Here’s a dry brush that’s only $5.99!
Dry brushing also helps break down cellulite, exfoliates the skin and increases circulation.
Go get you a dry brush and see for yourself.
Massage therapy has many positive benefits that can help everyone. It can also serve as a holistic approach to healing.
And while getting a message may not be the easiest option you can get some of the benefits from your home with the right tools.
Have you ever gotten a massage? What major benefits did you notice?
If you’ve never had a massage before, what’s holding you back?
Will you take advantage of these amazing tools and achieve the benefits of massage therapy at home?