National Massage week is July 16 through July 24.
We all crave the occasional indulgence—a little treat or a mindless distraction to reward our hard work. Some people see massage as an indulgence, but the good news is that unlike many of the indulgences we crave, massage has proven health benefits. And as far as health wellness interventions go, massage is a great deal.
What is massage? Massage is a general term for pressing, rubbing and manipulating your skin, muscles, tendons and ligaments. Massage may range from light stroking to deep pressure. 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. Beyond the benefits for specific conditions or diseases, some people enjoy massage because it often produces feelings of caring, comfort and connection.
Despite its benefits, massage isn’t meant as a replacement for regular medical care. Let your doctor know you’re trying massage and be sure to follow any standard treatment plans you have.
Most people can benefit from massage. However, massage may not be appropriate if you have:
- Bleeding disorders
- Burns or healing wounds
- Deep vein thrombosis
- Severe osteoporosis
- Severe thrombocytopenia
Discuss the pros and cons of massage with your doctor, especially if you are pregnant or you have cancer or unexplained pain. Some forms of massage can leave you feeling a bit sore the next day. But massage shouldn’t ordinarily be painful or uncomfort-able. If any part of your massage doesn’t feel right or is painful, speak up right away. Most serious problems come from too much pressure during massage.
Written by LaVella Head