Take a lap around the mall or flip through a holiday catalog in your mail pile, and you’ll quickly notice a saturation of massage products in the market right now. While some of these gadgets are gimmicks, some are definitely not. Just like the recommended 150 minutes of weekly exercise, massage is crucial to your health and fitness. But the key to massage is consistency. One massage every 6 months when you happen to get a gift card isn’t going to cut it!
Okay, I know exactly what you’re thinking now. Massages are expensive. Massages are time-consuming. Consistent massages just aren’t possible, Chris! This is where I need to stop you. You can reap the benefits of massage by self-massaging at home for just 10 minutes a few days a week. Why stay tight, stressed, and inflamed when you can find relief without booking an hour-long appointment? Like a set of crunches at the end of a workout, massage should become part of your health routine. I’ll be honest, it’s a work in progress for me, but I’m trying to be more consistent on stretching and massage and I’m definitely noticing improvement in my range of motion and pain level.
Want to know more why you need massage too?
1) Relieves Muscle Tension and Pain
We have all had those days when simply reaching down to lace up a pair of tennis shoes is a task too painful to complete. An athletic injury, sleeping in the wrong position, or lifting a heavy box can all cause havoc on your muscles and stop you dead in your tracks for days. Thankfully, a continued massage regimen can help relieve this muscle pain, tension, and soreness.
According to a 2011 study, massage therapy can be an effective short-term and long-term treatment to help people with chronic back pain. If you’ve experienced the sweet relief that comes with putting a heating pad on a painful area like the back or if you’ve had the luxury to try a hot stone massage, what about trying a heated self-massager? When I’m experiencing pain in my lower back (a common trouble spot for me), I use my Wahl Hot/Cold Therapy Massager because the heat therapy attachment increases blood flow which causes my tight muscles to relax. For me, heat is key because my back pain is chronic. However, when you feel like you just need a little relief after a tough workout or rough day, cold can reduce swelling and inflammation. I have popped out the hot attachment and popped in the cold therapy attachment on occasion. The combo of a massager, mixed with a cold pack, is pretty cool!
2) Improves Sleep
If catching a few zzzzz is easier said than done, give massage a chance. According to a study at the Touch Research Institute, massage increases delta waves, a type of brain wave that is linked with deep sleep. Sleep is an extremely important part of a healthy lifestyle. Harvard Health reports that chronic sleep deprivation can lead to weight gain, mood changes, hypertension, and can alter our immune function for the worse. So stop counting sheep and start relaxing with massage!
3) Reduces Stress and Anxiety
An hour-long session sprawled out on a table with candles, essential oils, and light instrumental music playing in the background is extremely zen, but luckily for you, you don’t need to book an appointment to de-stress and relax. A study published in the International Journal of Neuroscience found that a 15-minute chair massage two times per week for five weeks lowered anxiety and job stress levels for the massage group versus the control group. Many other studies have backed up the fact that a massage can reduce stress and anxiety and improve mood in addition to increasing serotonin and dopamine, which can reduce depression. So enlist a partner or grab a handheld self-massager and start.
4) Decreases Inflammation
Inflammation of our muscles occurs as a reaction to an injury or infection. While the basis behind inflammation is to protect our bodies, chronic inflammation is never a good thing, and this is where a massage can step in. A study published in the Science Translational Medicine found that massage reduces the production of compounds called cytokines, which play a role in causing inflammation. Massage also decreases inflammation by activating genes that naturally reduce swelling. Whenever I book a massage, first thing I ask for is someone who can give me a “deep tissue” massage. I’m not one for light and fluffy when it comes to massage. I like to get in deep, find my trigger points, and try to knead out the knots. For me, finding the Wahl Deep Tissue Percussion Massager has been a lifesaver. Deep Tissue massage attacks muscle pain that hides deep below the surface, reducing inflammation while increasing levels of protein that ensure muscles recover more quickly. The handle is longer than normal self-massagers, so I’m able to reach my entire back without help from my husband…because let’s face it whenever I even ask a family member to massage my shoulders, they seem to be busy. Can you relate? Better to take control yourself!
If you want more info about self-massagers, WahlMassagers.com is a great site to check out. They make great gifts for your loved ones or better yet, for yourself. If you want to learn massage techniques and tools for specific body parts, their “Where Does It Hurt?” page is an awesome resource!
This is a sponsored post, but all opinions are 100% mine.