Wednesday, April 16, 2014

What massage can do for you

Is it safe to assume that anyone who has ever had a massage has loved it? Sure, anyone who visits a massage parlor on a regular basis has probably had a massage that wasn't "deep" enough, or was too rough, or may not have hit the "spots" that you were hoping would get worked on. If you find a massage therapist who you really like, then I highly recommend sticking with them and to pay them a visit on a somewhat regular basis. Let's take a quick look at a few types of massages and what kind of benefits you might enjoy from them.

Deep Tissue Massage
This type of massage targets deep, chronically tight muscles and connective tissue. If you are generally tight, have postural issues, or are in recovery from an injury, then this could be the massage for you.

Hot Stone Massage
Just as it sounds, smooth, heated stones are placed on the body in way to help relax and comfort a person. You might seek this type of massage if you have tension but prefer a lighter-touch massage, or have poor circulation and are generally a cold person.

Swedish Massage
Otherwise known as the classic massage, Swedish massage uses five different strokes to help relax and energize you. It's been shown that Swedish massage can increase the amount of oxygen in the blood, decrease toxins, and decrease the stress hormone known as cortisol.

Sports Massage
Sports massage is just that -- a sports specific massage. Whether you're a weekend warrior or a professional athlete, any athlete can benefit from a sports massage. Specifically designed sports massage has been shown to promote flexibility, reduce fatigue, and reduce recovery time within athletes.

Trigger Point Therapy
This type of massage can help deactivate trigger points that cause localized pain, such as headaches, by releasing distal pain that may be occurring in other parts of the body. For instance, your headache may be caused by neck pain. By alleviating any knots in your neck, your headache may also disappear as a result.

Obviously this is a short list of all the many types of massages that are out there. My point is to go schedule yourself a massage with your local spa or massage parlor and to take care of yourself! Groupon often has massages at reduced rates, so that could be a good place to start. Personally, I enjoy Hara here in Portland, Maine. I try to visit Kellie at Hara a couple of times a year, especially after long training cycles for a sports/Swedish combo-type massage. It's simply an essential part of my training, like hitting the reset button for my legs and lower back.

Resistance training, cardio training, flexibility training -- it's all absolutely necessary, but sometimes the body requires just a little more. Don't be afraid to pamper yourself!

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