Ever hear of the mind-body connection?
It’s the concept that your mind and body are intrinsically connected.
A healthy body equals a healthy mind.
And a healthy mind equals a healthy body.
You can spot this connection playing out in your everyday life.
For example, if you eat healthy, nutritious foods, exercise consistently, and treat your body right, your mood will automatically improve.
Case in point: psychologists have proven that depression symptoms diminish when you cut out sugars & processed foods, and incorporate physical activity into your life.
You know those little mood-boosters called endorphins, right?!
When you are inherently happy, you will consequently make better choices when it comes to your body.
It’s a positive reinforcement loop.
The same concept is at play when it comes to massage therapy.
Massage helps alleviate physical pain, which in turn lowers your stress levels and improves your overall mental wellbeing.
It’s a win-win-win!
Let’s take a closer look at some of the mental and physical ailments that can benefit from massage therapy:
- Increases relaxation
- Reduces stress
- Alleviates depression
- Multiple sclerosis
- Sleep disorders
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- High blood pressure
- Digestive illnesses
- Back pain
- Soft tissue injuries
- Nausea caused by Chemotherapy
It’s pretty clear: massage can be a helpful technique in alleviating both the physical and emotional symptoms of many illnesses.
If you’re wondering about the science behind it, the act of massage lowers your cortisol levels while simultaneously boosting your oxytocin levels.
Cortisol is the famous hormone that comes into play during the fight or flight response.
You know that heart-racing, jittery feeling you get when you’re in a terrifying situation, like a car accident for instance?
You probably refer to it as an adrenaline rush.
But in scientific terms, that’s cortisol in action.
Oxytocin on the other hand is that feel-good hormone that’s released during sexual stimulation.
Besides providing all the feels, oxytocin has also been linked to improving the emotional wellbeing of people struggling with disorders like PTSD and schizophrenia.
It’s no wonder why massage has been turned to since the beginning of time.
This age-old form of therapy has been practiced for thousands of years in ancient cultures of Egypt, China, Greece, and Japan.
Before there were physicians prescribing medicine, human touch was the method of choice for healing people with physical pain.
There are a vast number of massage styles that you can choose from based on your target area or individual needs.
Here are some of the most common ones:
The most requested type of massage in America, Swedish massage is geared toward relaxation and stress relief.
It consists of light kneading and stroking of the topmost muscles of your body.
Just like its name indicates, this therapeutic massage technique involves the use of aromatic essential oils to help you relax or enhance your energy, depending on your current needs.
Hot Stone Massage
Your massage therapist will heat up smooth stones and apply them to pain points along your body to help relieve tight muscles. Sometimes pressure will be applied to the stones for an even deeper impact.
Deep Tissue Massage
This massage technique is very intense, catering to people with extremely tight muscles and connective tissue that tend to be much deeper and closer to your bone.
Reflexology believes that the root of your physical ailments start and end in your feet. And since your feet have several pressure points that connect to various organs, your massage therapist will focus on targeting these areas depending on the physical symptoms you struggle with.
Reflexology is also applied to the hands and ears. We point in those areas that correlate with our organs and when palpated or pressed for a short period of time, can activate or stimulate the organ in question.
Shiatsu, a Chinese massage method, focuses on your body’s chi, which is essentially your life force energy.
By applying pressure to certain points along your body, your therapist can move stagnant energy along interconnected pathways, known as meridians.
In Chinese medicine, stagnant or “blocked” chi is at the root of all illnesses
Once these meridians are opened up, relief and balance take over.
Your massage therapist will devise a customized plan to address your unique needs.
How do you choose the right massage therapist?
Since massage is a very intimate experience, it’s important that you feel calm and at ease around your therapist.
It’s also important that their massage style and strength is the right fit for you.
Some massage therapists have a stronger hand than others, so it’s helpful to schedule an initial appointment to get a sense if they meet your expectations.
Although we wouldn’t necessarily recommend massage therapy as your only form of therapy, especially when it comes to mental health disorders or issues like addiction and trauma, it’s a great add-on to provide extra relief.
At My LA Therapy, we have trained massage therapists that are incredibly skilled, approachable and comprehensive, and will meet you at a level that is most comfortable for you.