How Often Should I Get a Massage?

That depends on the reason you are getting massage. Are you pampering yourself? That’s awesome! Get a massage however often you feel like it!

Lots of people think massage is just a luxury, but is it more than pampering? Massage research can be tricky. One type of well-respected research is double-blinded, meaning that neither the participants or providers know who is receiving the experimental treatment and who is receiving the control (no treatment or a placebo treatment.) Massage does not lend itself to this type of experiment. Research on massage is in its early stages and often shows mixed results. But research suggests that massage can help with things like stress and pain management, anxiety, and depression. It’s no substitute for medical care, and it’s always a good idea to discuss complementary treatments for any medical condition with your doctor.  Massage can be a great complement to conventional medical treatments.

Are you using massage to help improve your health? Stress and pain are serious things that can affect the quality of your life. I don’t know about you, but stress and pain make me cranky. Anything I can do to relieve them makes me happier so I can enjoy life and generally be a nicer person to be around. Getting a massage on a regular basis can help. Sure, one massage is great, but I know from experience that it won’t make my stress or that pain in my shoulders developed from years of hunching over a computer magically disappear for good.  Just because the results are short-term doesn’t mean they aren’t worth it. You brush your teeth twice a day, right? I find getting massage on a more regular schedule (for me, that’s at least twice a month) beneficial.

Whatever you decide: once a week, once a month, once a quarter. You deserve it! If you don’t take care of yourself, who will?

4 Great Reasons to Add Aromatherapy to Your Next Massage

Aromatherapy is the therapeutic use of essential oils (aromatic substances distilled from plants). Essential oils are commonly blended into massage oil or used in room diffusers. Here are a few reasons to add aromatherapy to your next massage:

  1. Massage can reduce stress, help with anxiety and depression, alleviate pain, and enhance the quality of sleep. All good things. Aromatherapy is often used to help with these same things. Some  research suggests that aromatherapy may enhance the positive effects of massage.
  2. They smell good. ‘Nuff said.
  3. The aroma can affect your mood.  There is a direct connection between the scent receptors in your nose and the part of the brain that controls your emotional responses. I know whenever I smell Bergamot (which gives Earl Grey tea its lovely aroma) it calms me.
  4. You know how your nose gets all stuffy when you get a massage? A drop of Eucalyptus or Peppermint essential oil on a cotton ball placed under the face cradle can help with that!

Pain Management: A Tale of Two Injuries

This is a story of two similar injuries and how I dealt with them. Please note this is informational only, as with any health problem you should talk to your doctor to see what is best for you.

After about a year at my desk job, the workload increased dramatically. More work to get done, in the same amount of time.  My wrists and forearms starting hurting. Just a little at first. I would try to rest after work, but it just kept getting worse. I put off seeing the doctor until I was in constant pain and my arms felt weak and shaky. It was diagnosed as tendonitis and they gave me wrist splints and sent me to physical therapy. It helped some, but I was still doing the same job, the same way. Months later, I was still in pain. They had an expert come to my office to help make my workspace more ergonomic. And one of the doctors recommended I start massaging my own hands (which eventually led me to massage school).  It was a long road, but I eventually recovered.

I’ve learned that if your body starts talking to you, you’d better listen or it will start screaming. Over the summer, the back of my right hand started to hurt. Instead of ignoring it and plowing ahead:

  • I observed what was going on with my body and changed how I was working  (I moved my computer mouse to the left side) so I could rest my hand. This was probably the most important step, just noticing what was happening and doing something about it.
  • I saw my doctor and followed her advice: rest, ice, and ibuprofen.
  • And I started a regular routine of stretching and self massage- I was in massage school at the time, so I had learned that what techniques might help. Luckily, I had only injured one hand!

Take care of yourself and be well.