Body Buzz – The Healing Power Of Massage
by Sasha Kanal
Not only is massage great for relaxation, it can also have tremendous effects on our health and wellbeing. Sasha Kanal explains the additional benefits.
Massage is the art of manipulating the muscles and joints of the body with hands for therapeutic purposes. We all know the benefits of massage as an aid to relaxation but there’s a whole host of other positives associated with this therapy. As well as improving postural stress caused by bad habits and a sedentary lifestyle, massage has been proven to ease pain and has even fared well alongside other mainstream treatments in scientific studies, as an effective antidote to chronic pain.
Massage can also help to ease depression and anxiety with heart rate, blood pressure and cortisol levels all proven to be lower after a 15 minute sitting chair massage. Regular massages have been shown to boost your immune system by assisting the flow of lymph waste through the body and raising the white blood cell count. Digestion is also improved as massage techniques on the stomach area can stimulate the small intestine and digestive organs, facilitating their function as well as relieving symptoms of constipation and bloating.
It’s clear that massage therapy has an exceptionally positive effect on our health and wellbeing. But what if you have neither the time nor the spare cash to treat yourself to regular sessions?
Here are some tried and tested self-massage techniques to try at home. And relax…
- One to do at your desk. Get a regular tennis ball and whilst wearing socks or with bare feet, step on the ball whilst sitting and roll it back and forth using firm pressure. Perfect for relieving sore feet.
- Counteract a tight or clenched jaw by using the pads of your fingertips to gently massage along the jawline and apples of your cheeks. Open and close your mouth while pressing into the cheekbones. Follow this pattern and repeat to relieve tension and anxiety in this area.
- It’s hard to give yourself a neck and shoulder massage but this little exercise can help. Stand with your back against a wall, and again place a tennis ball between the wall and your shoulder. Place your arm at a right angle with your hand parallel to your head and gently turn your head from side to side, simultaneously experimenting with the ball in different positions along your neck and shoulders. Repeat with both arms.
- A lovely one for your forearms area, which tends to be neglected when it comes to massage. Hold your arm out with the palm facing up and gently squeeze (using your other hand) the flesh from the elbow to the wrist as you continue to flip your arm palm down and palm up again. Repeat both sides.
- Great for headaches or just a short relaxation technique. This replicates some of the deeply relaxing sensations of a head massage. Start at your temples and lightly use your fingertips to make small circles, increasing size and pressure as you move towards the top of your head.
CAUTION: If you are unsure of any new exercise regime please consult your GP before commencing.