Massage is usually associated with self-care and relaxation — the ultimate way to treat oneself and unwind. But massage also has many other benefits.
- Stress relief.
In addition to helping people relax mentally, massage can also help our bodies release physical pressure.
“Massage is shown to help decrease stress, pain and muscle tension by increasing relaxation and circulation,” says Frisk. “It also helps reduce anxiety, lower blood pressure and can boost your immune system.”
Massage can help speed up the healing process for people who have recently had surgery by increasing circulation, which helps relax the muscles and surrounding tissue. In fact, the Sewall Healthy Living Center recently started a program to provide massage therapy for people with breast cancer after surgery.
“Patients who have undergone a mastectomy, lumpectomy or reconstruction surgery can have decreased range of motion and increased pain, which make everyday tasks more difficult,” says Frisk. “We work to find the barrier or adhesions within the tissues and gently release them, giving our patients better range of motion, less pain and improved appearance of scar tissue.”
- Improved physical and mental health.
Massage therapists often incorporate clinical aromatherapy into their treatments, which can have many health benefits. By using natural essential oils, clinical aromatherapy can help to ease pain, anxiety, nausea and depression.
“Essential oils affect the olfactory (smell) pathways that are closely related to the brain,” says Frisk. “This can help control your heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate, memory and hormone levels.”
If you have never had a massage before, you may be a little nervous before your first treatment. However, the massage therapists will guide you throughout the process.
Upon arrival for an appointment, massage clients are usually asked to fill out an intake form that goes over health history, medications and areas they would like addressed during the session. Then, the massage therapist creates a personalized treatment plan.
“We allow our clients time to get comfortable on the massage table and can modify their comfort with pillows, bolsters and blankets, if needed,” says Frisk. “Once we start our session, their only job is to relax and let the healing begin.”