I like to consider myself an evidence-informed massage therapist. In reading 100’s of research articles, I have found that, depending on the research quality, the conclusions can be interpreted differently. What I have found in my own personal experience, is that people who receive massages on a regular schedule, are generally happier, and, overall, have less tension and chronic pain. What is “regular,” however, is determined by who you are and what you do in your life.
I propose to you, “How do you handle stress?” Individuals handle stress differently. For example, while many people think of stress as an emotion, I think of stress as a result of emotions. Intense emotions often result in stress, which, in turn, affects our body’s ability to defend itself. Because of this, although my training is in clinical rehabilitation for pain and injury, I incorporate relaxation into all my sessions in order to assist one’s healing process.
In my experience, Americans typically are not in touch with their emotions, and don’t always handle them in healthy ways. For example, many of us use food, smoking, alcohol, drugs, over working, or sex, as a coping mechanism for any intense emotion we experience. While I think this is an option when done in moderation, it can have long term consequences.
As I stated in previous posts, anxiety, depression, irritability, and insomnia are some other results of stress. Massage therapy helps people relax, which can help address these issues. Many of my repeat clients really look forward to their massage sessions. (www.humantouchmassagemn.com). I’ve had client’s say to me that “getting a massage is their only way of really relaxing.” Others have said that “it’s the only time that is really about them” and “they can’t wait until they get their next massage.”
To me, while many people recognize the value of massage therapy, there are still significant populations who don’t seem to prioritize it in their wellness plan, whether by choice, or by life circumstance. If we as Americans are so stressed out, and since research shows getting a massage can be beneficial, (even if only for a short time), then, I think, including massage as part of your wellness makes sense.
Next month is Mental Health Awareness Month, so I’ll be writing anxiety, depression, trauma, and addiction. Until then, I wish you health and wellness. Please feel free to contact me with any questions, or if you would like to learn more about my massage, or health coaching, practice.
American Massage Therapy Association www.amtamassage.org
American Psychological Association
“Stress in America 2019”
McLoeod, S.A. (2010). “Stress, Illness and the Immune System.” www.simplypsychology.org/stress-immune.html
“Stress Weakens the Immune System” (http:www.apa.org/research/action/immune.aspx)
The Conversation March 11, 2020
“How Chronic Stress Changes the Brain and what you can do to reverse the damage”
The American Institute of Stress
“42 Worrying Workplace stress Statistics”
Touch second edition Tiffany Field
Touching: The Human Significance of the Skin Ashley Montagu