Massage therapy is the process of manipulating the muscles, soft tissues of the body, tendons and ligaments by a licensed massage therapist. Massage therapy is done by a licensed professional who applies varying degrees of pressure using their hands and fingers. The benefits are to promote well being, range of motion, deep relaxation and plenty of other health benefits.
Although more people nowadays are turning to massage therapy for holistic well-being, and it’s been around for thousands of years, there are still some myths surrounding massages. In this article, we hope to clear the misconceptions that many of you may have around massage therapies so that you can get the best out of your sessions.
1. A massage is the same no matter where you go
If you have never tried a massage before, you may have this misconception that all massages are the same everywhere. You couldn’t be farther from the truth. Each massage is tailored for an individual person’s body conditions, requirements, ailments and what they expect out of their massage therapist.
Your therapist will decide which massage therapist will work best for you. There are several massage modalities:
- Swedish Massage: a gentle form of massage in which the therapist uses long, gentle strokes and performs kneading, tapping, vibration and other forms of movements to make you feel relaxed and destressed.
- Deep Tissue Massage: using slow and deliberate deep strokes, your massage therapist will target the deep layers of the muscles and the connective tissues to help you recover from muscle damage caused by injuries and improve your flexibility.
- Hot Stones Massage: Your therapist will place hot healing stones on the pain points in the body so that the heat from the stones helps your muscles recover from pain.
- Sports Massage: Sports massage is similar to Swedish massage but is more geared
- towards people involved in sporting activities. It can help sportspeople before a major event or recover after having participated in a sporting event to energize the body.
- Trigger Point Massage: Trigger point massage focuses on the tight knots that can form in the muscles either because of an injury or because of too much workload.
2. Massages are only for pampering and relaxation
Massage therapy is for more than just pampering and promoting relaxation. They are beneficial for overall health. Regular massage sessions can help the body recover from an injury and maintain fitness when you are plagued by pain. It can also reduce stress and help provide some relief from headaches and eyestrain.
If you are suffering from depression, PTSD, anxiety, or insomnia, massages in the hands of experienced therapists can have plenty of healing benefits. Frequent massages are also known to lower your blood pressure levels.
They can uplift your mood because of all the endorphins that are released during the session. If you have chronic body pain, there is nothing like massage therapy to help you obtain some much-needed relief. No wonder millions of people turn to massage therapy every year!
3. Massage therapy works on the muscles alone
It’s a common misconception seeing that typically, massage therapy involves the muscles.
- It stimulates the lymph nodes and promotes the flow of lymph throughout the body. This will not only help fight infection but will also reduce inflammation.
- It stimulates blood circulation which helps with healing as nutrients are spread all around the body.
- Helps alleviate swollen joints.
- Aids the injuries of the soft tissues to recover easily.
- Helps to break down scar tissue.
4. A pregnant woman shouldn’t get a massage
There is no truth behind the myth that massage is unsafe for pregnant women. On the contrary, pregnant women experienced feelings of reduced stress and anxiety, fewer aches and pain and felt their mood be uplifted after a good massage session. It’s best to avoid getting it done in the first trimester though.
5. Sign of an effective message is soreness the next day
Soreness is no indication of how effective or otherwise the massage has been. While some people may experience some tenderness after certain massage techniques, you don’t need to feel sore the next day.
[LEARN MORE]: Sore After Massage: Why this happens and what to do
6. A massage has to be painful for it to be effective
If you thought that a massage has got to hurt to be effective, you cannot be any more wrong. While some discomfort is quite common when you are getting the massage, you should NEVER experience any pain whatsoever!
7. The effects are not long-lasting
If you have heard naysayers who have not reaped the benefits of massage therapy saying that the effects don’t last long or are not that good for pain relief, it’s not true. A professional massage therapist can train your muscles to get more flexible thereby increasing your range of motion and also working the muscles so they become stronger. Regular massage sessions can be highly effective in reducing the amount of pain and stress it receives.
8. Never interrupt your therapist even if it hurts
Slight discomfort or even the occasional throb of pain is only to be expected during your massage session. But sharp or consistent pain is just not normal, so you should definitely speak up if you experience pain during your sessions. This way, your therapist can change how much pressure they apply and adjust their technique so you feel more comfortable.
After all, the idea behind a massage is to ensure that you feel relaxed and comfortable. So maintaining communication with them is key to getting the most out of your sessions. If all is going great and you would rather remain silent and relax, that’s perfectly okay as well. Whatever works for you!
9. I don’t have to discuss my medical history with my therapist
If you have any medical condition, had surgery done, or if you took some pain medication before your session, you need to let it be known to your massage therapist. This way, they can customize their massage technique to your needs.
Massage therapy can improve your body, mind, and emotional health in so many ways. However, there are a whole lot of myths and misconceptions surrounding massage therapy. We hope that you learn some of the common ones so that you can use massage therapy to the best benefit of your body and mind.