TOUCH FOR HEALTH

Mas­sage can ben­e­fit the body and the mind so, go on, treat your­self

Northern Rivers Style - - WELLBEING -

Hav­ing a re­lax­ing Swedish or vig­or­ous deep tis­sue mas­sage not only re­duces stress, it calms the ner­vous sys­tem even as it in­creases blood flow to over­worked mus­cles and or­gans.

In fact, a grow­ing body of re­search sug­gests mas­sage ther­apy as an ev­i­dence-based ther­a­peu­tic modal­ity for man­ag­ing sub-acute and chronic low back pain, and anx­i­ety and stress, ac­cord­ing to the Aus­tralian As­so­ci­a­tion of Mas­sage Ther­a­pists.

We asked Caitlin Ben­netts, re­me­dial mas­sage ther­a­pist and owner of Ban­ga­low and Bal­lina Re­me­dial Mas­sage clin­ics, about the ben­e­fits of ther­a­peu­tic touch.

Q: How does mas­sage help a per­son phys­i­cally or emo­tion­ally?

A: Mas­sage is ben­e­fi­cial on many lev­els, the most ob­vi­ous be­ing ad­dress­ing phys­i­cal pain and dys­func­tion. Good re­me­dial mas­sage re­lieves tight and sore mus­cles, pro­motes phys­i­cal re­lax­ation and im­proves cir­cu­la­tion, which nour­ishes cells and im­proves waste elim­i­na­tion.

Other ben­e­fits can in­clude re­lease of nerve com­pres­sion (carpel tun­nel, sci­at­ica), greater flex­i­bil­ity and range of mo­tion, re­lief of ten­sion headaches and sore necks/backs, speed­ing up re­cov­ery af­ter an in­jury or surgery, en­hanced en­ergy and help­ing heal scar tis­sue as well as ten­don, lig­a­ment, and mus­cle tears.

Mas­sage helps on an emo­tional level as our emo­tions are stored in our body, and when we are not pro­cess­ing our emo­tions, chronic mus­cle ten­sion can man­i­fest and chronic pain can be­come present in the body.

Mas­sage also in­creases the level of oxy­tocin – the feel­good hor­mone – there­fore im­prov­ing mood, re­duc­ing de­pres­sion and anx­i­ety, im­prov­ing qual­ity of sleep, low­er­ing stress lev­els and re­duc­ing fa­tigue. Most of us can agree that get­ting a mas­sage feels awe­some. Mas­sage helps to pro­mote a pos­i­tive body im­age, self-aware­ness and self-care.

Q: Can mas­sage be use­ful for stress?

A: Mas­sage is a great stress-re­liever as it re­duces the level of cor­ti­sol – the stress hor­mone – in your body, and helps your body to switch on your parasym­pa­thetic ner­vous sys­tem – which is the rest and di­gest re­sponse.

Q: What should peo­ple look for in a mas­sage ther­a­pist?

A: A great mas­sage ther­a­pist knows the tech­ni­cal stuff, the func­tion of each mus­cle, pain re­fer­ral pat­terns, trig­ger points etc, but it is also the mas­sage ther­a­pist’s abil­ity to be able to lis­ten to what the client wants, and re­ally ‘feel’ what is hap­pen­ing in some­one’s body that is im­por­tant.

A great mas­sage com­bines a strong clear in­tent from the prac­ti­tioner with the abil­ity to ap­ply dif­fer­ent lev­els of pres­sure and us­ing a range of modal­i­ties. A good re­la­tion­ship with the client, so they can al­low their body to let go and heal, is also cru­cial.

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