Although massage has many uses, including healing and preventing injuries, most people head to a spa to enjoy a nice, relaxing massage because of stress. Stress is associated with increasing the risk of many of the top preventable diseases plaguing the nation, including cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, hypertension, diabetes, and some cancers, according to the AARP.
Massage is an approved method for stress relief, and the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) takes the position that massage therapy is an effective stress reliever. Several studies have found that massage can decrease heart rate, lower blood pressure, and cause positive changes in psychological states, including depression and anxiety.
There are several different massage methods that can reduce your clients’ stress. By mastering several techniques, you can be sure to provide a more well-rounded approach that can be tailored to your client’s specific needs.
Aromatherapy massage has become increasingly popular. It can be incorporated into any massage modality, including Swedish, acupressure, shiatsu, and Thai massage. It utilizes different essential oils to address specific ailments of the client. According to WebMD, the oils interact with hormones and enzymes of the body in order to facilitate changes in pulse, blood pressure, and other physiological aspects of the body.
Stress causes an increased heart rate and higher blood pressure, and aromatherapy can help to mitigate these adverse effects. Certain oils can also help to lower anxiety and reduce stress, especially lavender.
Hot Stone Massage
Hot stone massage utilizes smooth stones that have been heated to help relax tense muscles, a common result of stress. The massage therapist also uses the stones to apply gentle pressure on the tight muscles, providing a more relaxing massage for those with a lot of muscle tension but who do not want to have heavy pressure in their massage.
Head and Shoulder Massage
Many people carry their stress in the head, neck, and shoulder areas. Therefore, a relaxing head and shoulder massage can provide significant level of relief, especially for those who do not wish to have a full body massage. This type of massage is often provided in chairs at airports and in malls for quick relief.
Acupressure massage utilizes certain trigger points in the body to relax tight muscles and reduce stress. The central idea is similar to that of acupuncture in that stress and other problems create blocks in the body that stop the life force from flowing, causing problems. Pressure in a certain area can free the energy and provide relief. Shiatsu and Thai massage are two massage styles that employ acupressure concepts.
Swedish massage is the most popular massage modality, and one reason it is so popular is its proven ability to relieve stress and tension.
It utilizes different strokes to stretch tendons, enhance blood circulation, lower blood pressure, and induce relaxation. Because stress causes the body to tense up and raises the blood pressure, the relaxing strokes of this massage reverse the physiological effects of stress, relaxing the body and mind.
Massage therapy is an oft-prescribed alternative complementary treatment method for those suffering from stress and stress-related conditions, including hypertension, anxiety, and depression. Almost any type of massage can help with stress, but these five are the best to counter the negative effects of stress on the body.