Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Massage Therapy

There is a reason why it is called Massage Therapy - it is extremely therapeutic, and you shouldn't just take my word for it, you really should try it for yourself.

Wiki says:
Massage is the manipulation of superficial and deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue using various techniques, to enhance function, aid in the healing process, decrease muscle reflex activity, inhibit motor-neuron excitability, promote relaxation and well-being, and as a recreational activity.
Of course, it was a very long time before I found the courage to try it. I always wanted to, but it seemed such a personal intrusion and I am not a touchy feely type of person. I have more personal space than most, well, whether I have it or not, I need it. I was in my fifties before I finally gave in and then only because we had a couple of Massage Therapists come into the office, armed with massage chairs, once a week. I spoke with colleagues who regularly indulged and discovered exactly what a chair massage was and decided to give it a try.

What is so good about chair massage for the novice massagee is that it is performed fully dressed, the massagee that is, naturally the Massager is always fully dressed (assuming you are going to a reputable Massage Therapist - and for the purpose of this blog I am assuming that).

When I changed jobs, my new company also had a visiting Massage Therapist, the amazing Shelly Baldwin and I was quick to sign up. That 15 minutes on a Wednesday afternoon was the highlight of my working week. I mentioned before that I am a worrier, as a result my shoulders and upper back get knotted, add to that the fact that I work at a computer all day and everyone knows what stress a keyboard can cause to arms and shoulders. In fact I soon got in the habit of indulging in double sessions. It costs approximately the same as a pedicure and is as relaxing and much more beneficial. Of course, I do also have a pedicure fairly regularly.

Unfortunately, for whatever reason, partly the economy causing layoff and economic stress, the demand for our chair Massages wained and eventually it was not viable for Shelly to make the trip to our offices any more.

As a result I did get brave enough to try a full body massage, and discovered that, at least with our skillful and highly trained Shelly, despite the absence of clothes (mine that is) there was no sense of embarrassment, and at no time was I, nor did I feel, exposed.

My husband, on the other hand, had no interest in even attempting to submit to a simple chair massage and after my first suggestion was shot down without pause, I didn't mention it again for a number of years. When he got stiff and sore I, untrained and ignorant as I was, attempted to massage away the knots. But it was hard on my hands. I suffered some permanent damage to my hands many years ago, due carpal tunnel syndrome which I had before it became fashionable, and so was neglected by the medical experts for so long that the nerves never recovered after they finally operated. So, finally Larry agreed to give a chair massage a try if, as I suggested, Shelly would bring her chair to us.

I was more than willing to have a double session, and I convinced Larry that he should too, and with my mother in law agreeing to a single 15 minute session, I was sure that if I offered to cover mileage costs, Shelly might oblige. And she agreed!

We don't have a regular arrangement, but as soon as Larry gets to a point where he has to ask me more than once in a week to massage his shoulders, I call on Shelly and arrange a session. Now, I hasten to add, Shelly does this as a favor for me, but I strongly recommend you contact her and, if you are not ready for a full body massage, arrange for her to come to your place of work with her magic hands and chair. I promise you, the benefits are well worth it, and your colleagues will thank you too!. Check out her website here. Or visit her Facebook page here.

If you are still not convinced, the Mayo Clinic says about the benefits of massage:
Massage is generally considered part of complementary and alternative medicine. It's increasingly being offered along with standard treatment for a wide range of medical conditions and situations.  
Studies of the benefits of massage demonstrate that it is an effective treatment for reducing stress, pain and muscle tension. 
While more research is needed to confirm the benefits of massage, some studies have found massage may also be helpful for:
  • Anxiety
  • Digestive disorders
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia related to stress
  • Myofascial pain syndrome
  • Paresthesias and nerve pain
  • Soft tissue strains or injuries
  • Sports injuries
  • Temporomandibular joint pain