Massage has been around for thousands of years – every culture in the world has its own techniques. If you look closer though a lot of the elements are the same. I’m sure I don’t need to convince you to get a massage regularly, but how often should you really get one?
Benefits of massage
First, let me introduce you to some of its benefits:
- relieves stress (because of lowering of cortisol and insulin levels, lowering heart rate, increasing serotonin and oxytocin hormones for happiness) (I love difficult words)
- releases toxins from your tissues so they can be eliminated from your body
- decreases muscle tension and tension related headaches
- lowers blood pressure
- reduces anxiety
- relieves muscle and joint pains
- releases endorphins so your pain threshold gets raised
- increases circulation
- boosts immunity
- helps you sleep
- enhances athletic performance
These benefits sound logical, right? They are also very much interlinked: for instance lowering your heart rate will effectively reduce anxiety. (You can also do this by meditation or breathing exercises).
Research found some advantages that maybe you wouldn’t expect immediately:
- eases depression (those neurotransmitters again)
- eases nausea in cancer patients undergoing chemo
- positively affects dementia symptoms
How often should you get a massage?
The short answer is: every day! You may think that’s not very practical (or affordable), but please bear with me and read on!
Here’s the longer answer :)
In ayurveda – the traditional Indian science of life – massage is a part of your daily recommended routine and it is used in many different therapies to treat different diseases. The reason is that the benefits of massage accumulate over time. Let that sink in for a bit…
It means that if you wait too long to have another one, you’re basically starting from scratch. While any massage is better than none, if you’re having any troubles, your benefit will only be short-lived if you don’t also change your lifestyle (eating, sleeping, exercise habits). If on the other hand you get a treatment regularly, you will start to see your symptoms improving.
How do you get to have a massage every day?
Here are some tips to start incorporating it into your life more regularly:
- find yourself a massage buddy and exchange! Easiest is if you can do this with your life partner, but you can also get a friend or family member to exchange. All you need is a half hour massage routine, and in one hour you can both give and receive one.
- join a massage course! You’ll learn some new skills and you get free massages too!
- use a tennis ball and DIY. Um, say what? Suppose you’re watching TV, you can take a tennis ball, put it underneath your foot and roll it baby! (this is a good tip for long haul flights too). Heaven is to put it between your back and the wall, find your sweet spot and roll it – get rid of those spiders! I’m sure on YouTube you can find loads of videos on how to use a tennis ball for self massage (watch it with those key words though ;) )
- some health insurance pays back at least one “wellness” treatment (spa or massage). Mine in Belgium gets me a 25EUR refund per year, not much considering all the benefits but it is something – check yours!
When’s the last time you had a massage? And when will be your next one??