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Friday, September 23, 2011

Benefits Of Massage

Yesterday was a very hectic day.  I was up at 5 a.m., feeding animals, making lunches and taking Grace to swim at 5:30.  Back to the house to fix breakfast, finish lunches, clean the barn and make sure Cameron was up.  Then back to pick up Grace and drop her off at school.  Home again, where I got in a quick workout, showered and rushed off to pick up groceries.  After a fast lunch, I was off running errands: picking up laundry, fulfilling my duties as swim team treasurer, dropping off a T-shirt for my son at school and putting up flyers for Bark in the Park for my daughter.  I picked Grace up from school, then took her back to afternoon swim practice.  I raced home and threw together dinner (tortellini soup, recipe on the blog), fed horses and went to a 2 hour meeting about scholarships and financial aid at the high school.  I missed dance class but got home at 7:30 finally.  Worse than my days usually are but it explains why I didn't write yesterday.

I left out one thing: I squeezed in a massage between the workout and grocery shopping.  OMG!  I took an hour for myself, how selfish and wasteful!  How decadent!  But with today's post, I hope to change opinions that massages are just expensive self indulgences to massages can be part of your health care plan.  

Yes, massages can be a wonderful treat but more and more, people realize that they can be good for your health.  Studies have shown that massages can help with stress, anxiety and depression, stiffness, lower blood pressure, help with low back pain, sports related injuries and cancer treatments, boost immunity, release endorphins (the body's natural painkiller) and improve circulation.  People often report having more energy, reduced fatigue, improved concentration and better sleep after massages.  Does that sound good to you?

There are several types of massage so if you plan to have one, consider which one may be best for you.  Here are some of the more common ones.
1.  Swedish - a gentle massage to relax and energize you.
2.  deep tissue - a more forceful massage to target deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue, usually to recover from injuries.
3.  sports - like a Swedish massage but geared to help prevent or treat sports injuries.
4.  trigger point - focuses on trigger points or sensitive areas of tight muscles that form after injury or overuse.

If you have certain conditions such as blood clots, cancer, fractures, rheumatoid arthritis, severe osteoporosis or are pregnant, you should talk with your doctor before getting a massage and certainly you should inform your massage therapist.

There are sure to be many options for massages at many price points near you.  Ask your friends for references or check the yellow pages.  Remember that if you don't particularly like something such as you feel the therapist is too rough, speak up.  Try several places till you find someone who suits you too.  I think you find a massage to be very beneficial.  I know it helps me with stress, stiffness and sore muscles from workouts.

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