No longer considered only an indulgence, true massage therapy is recognized as a healing art. While many people treat themselves when they are particularly stressed or more active than usual,
maximum benefits can be achieved through a consistent and personalized massage therapy program.
Think you don't have time or energy to fit in a regular trip to your local therapist? These five steps will motivate you to hop on the table and take a step towards a healthier life.
Repeat after me: "I am worth it."
For many women, time isn't the major factor preventing them from enjoying a regular massage. Unfortunately, many of us are so accustomed to putting the needs of others in front of our own, that we don't see it necessary to schedule "me time".
It's been said before, but bears repeating: you cannot take care of your family unless you first take care of yourself. When you are stressed out, distracted by chronic pain or suffering the effects of a lack of sleep, it is extremely difficult to adequately address the needs of your family.
When you are feeling overwhelmed or depleted, know that a good massage therapy session will help revitalize your mind, body and spirit, leaving you ready to tackle the many challenges of motherhood.
Join the club
Many massage therapy studios offer membership options, allowing you to pre-pay for your regular sessions. While many people will shy away from this type of commitment, consider it an investment in your health.
Usually, signing up for a membership allows you to enjoy a monthly massage at a discounted rate. An added bonus: each time you see your account debited, you will be reminded to make your appointment.
Find your soul-mate
Finding a massage therapist is quite similar to finding a doctor or a babysitter. You aren't going to click with every one of them. Each therapist has his/her own technique and it sometimes takes a couple of tries to find the technique that matches your needs.
There are also a variety of massage types, including Swedish, Deep Tissue, Trigger Point, Prenatal, Hot Stone and Sports massage. When booking your appointment, find out if your therapist has a particular specialty. If you are expecting a relaxing Swedish massage and your therapist is skilled at Trigger Point, you are not going to enjoy your experience unless you are crystal clear about your expectations.
Once you find a therapist who suits you, he/she can be a valuable part of your health maintenance plan. Exceptional therapists will be able to determine where stress and anxiety are manifesting in your body and will craft a therapeutic game plan to address your specific issues.
Allowing a therapist to become familiar with your aches and pains also helps them make the appropriate recommendations if, for instance, you are experiencing a condition out of their realm of expertise.
Track your progress
Another benefit to finding and sticking with a skilled therapist is the ability to track your progress. People who visit a massage therapist once or twice a year have difficulty seeing results because they are not on a regular program and they aren't seeing a difference from one session to the next.
Reputable therapists will keep detailed notes documenting their findings after a session. Referencing these notes before each additional session allows them to accurately check on areas of concern and tailor their approach appropriately. This is especially helpful when dealing with chronic pain.
Take a dip
While the goal of massage is to help you feel relaxed and rejuvenated, many often complain of feeling sore and tired afterwards. Sometimes this soreness can feel like the day after an intense workout. You are sore because your muscles were pushed a little beyond their everyday routine. This soreness should not last longer than a day or two, if the therapist's pressure was appropriate.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to minimize this soreness. Help rehydrate your muscles and flush toxins by drinking plenty of water in the days following your massage. It is also helpful to take a warm bath with Epsom salt (if you don't have an allergy).
If you take it easy after your massage and allow your body to embrace the benefits, you are more likely to come back the following month.
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