Massage as a self-care activity

Is having a massage a ‘treat’ that we should enjoy once in a blue moon, or could it be an integral part of someone’s self-care routine? Debbie Slater of Keheren Therapy is going to answer this question for us in the guest post below. Enjoy!

Over to Debbie…

As someone that has worked for the NHS and simultaneously run their own business for the last 11 years, I know what it is like to experience stress and overwhelm. I also know what it is like to give too much of myself to others. Being a mum can mean that you feel like you don’t have time to relax, think or take care of yourself. One of my favorite quotes is: “If you really want to make a difference in the world, put on your own oxygen mask first – then you will have far more energy and joy to share with others.” – Lawson; Bradford (2016).

Is massage a treat or a self-care activity? Mind your Mamma. Guest post

It is easy to forget the importance of taking time to nurture ourselves and indulge in our own personal interests. I hear clients say to me all the time,  “I will be back for a treat again later in the year” or “this is a real treat”. The thing is that self-care can never be about just a ‘treat’. Making an effort to care for yourself will help you to be more resilient which will put you in a much better position to handle life’s little challenges. Having regular massage doesn’t have to be days spent at a health spa (although of course, that is lovely!). A twenty or thirty-minute massage treatment can be equally as beneficial. Massage is very much a self-care activity, not just because of time out or being a treat but massage has many emotional and physical benefits too.

Promoting sleep

Massage has been shown to trigger the release of serotonin. This is a neurotransmitter that can produce calmness. As a result, regular massage sessions can decrease depression and anxiety levels. This, in turn, can improve sleep quality by helping you to switch off from those a million and one jobs on your to-do list and encourage relaxation.

There are many types of massage, and if you are searching for massage specifically to promote sleep, then I would recommend seeking a relaxation massage. Of course, it is important that the massage is right for you. Discuss the treatment with your therapist first – if you find a soft massage too ticklish then it will be
impossible to relax!

Physical benefits

Many research articles have been published regarding the benefits of massage for muscular aches and pains. Current National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines recommends massage and physiological therapy for the treatment of back pain. The majority of my clients now come to me to be ‘fixed’, making massage not a treat but an important part of keeping fit and healthy and stopping aches and pains before they get worse.

Clients visit me with the following complaints and many research articles have been published on each of them:

  • Headaches
  • Plantar fascitis
  • Shoulder pain
  • Stress
  • Neck pain
  • Back pain
  • Sciatica
  • Frozen shoulder

And many more problems.

A remedial or sports massage works on particular areas of muscle tension or chronic pain. An experienced massage therapist will perform some tests and ask you specific questions to pinpoint any problematic muscles. Some deep tissue massage may be involved in order to treat the problematic areas, but don’t worry the results will be worth
it and any good therapist will apply enough pressure to suit the individual.

Mood

We can’t neglect our own needs, passions, hobbies and favorite past times for too long. Otherwise, we become tired, grumpy, cynical, and even physically ill. Massage has been shown to reduce depression, anger, and anxiety by increasing ‘feel good’ hormones. Regular massage can reduce burnout and stress, preventing you from being tired and irritable at work and at home.

As mentioned previously, massage has been shown to increase serotonin and thereby reduce depression and pain. By receiving a massage from a trained professional, you can get back in touch with your body, be able to access any held emotions, and become more in tune with yourself.

People who suffer from chronic pain have also found benefit from massage. Suffering from pain can have a direct impact on someone’s mood and even cause depression. Massage can put you back in touch with your body again. Also, regular massage has also been shown to reduce blood pressure.

Having a massage isn’t just a treat!

It’s easy to lose touch with who we are in the world. The constant press to do life rather than experience life can consume us. Even more importantly, we need to make time for ourselves, not just for our own self-care so that we can look after others. So don’t see massage as just indulgent!

About the author

This post was contributed by Debbie Slater, who has run Keheren Therapy (Cornish for muscle therapy) in Cornwall for the last 11 years and 3 years ago opened up a second branch in Richmond Upon Thames. Debbie is passionate about promoting a strong, caring ethos, focused entirely on client well-being and condition improvement through effective treatments to the highest standards. You can find Debbie on her website, on Facebook and Instagram.

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