Massage is a broad term for many manual therapies geared towards reducing tension and mobilizing stuck places – primarily in soft tissues, like muscle, connective tissue, and digestive organs. This is most commonly done using the hands, forearms, and elbows, and uses lotion, oil, cream, or gel to glide over the skin.
There is nothing like a good massage. Truly, it’s one of life’s most lovely experiences – when it’s done well. There are as many ways a massage can be good as there are people. So communication is key. But so is experience, skill, and the ability to get and stay attuned on the part of the practitioner. Something about that process soothes the body deeply – creating a feeling of calm reassurance and deep relaxation in the body.
There are many medical benefits to receiving massage, it’s tough to list them all. Massage positively effects all body systems (circulatory, lymphatic, nervous, musculo-skeletal, etc.). And it’s medicine that feels good!
There are many ways to apply massage, and many reasons to get it for treatment of an ailment. It is also invaluable for re-enforcement of your health and wellness. Many things could be said about massage, but know this: your massage experience should be fantastic. It should be relieving, relaxing, calming, and nourishing. It should not hurt, or make you feel anxious, uncomfortable, confused, or be otherwise unpleasant. How you get to that result is up to you and your practitioner to craft the sessions that are just right for you.
Boundaries and communication are the golden keys to unlocking the comfort of massage. Your privacy will always be respected, with the practitioner leaving the room for you to undress / redress at the beginning and end of the session. Only the part of your body being worked on will be uncovered at a time (such as your arm, back, or leg). There will never be any sexual contact or conduct – at any time, or under any circumstance. The pressure, pacing, temperature of the table warmer and room, music, and amount of talking are all examples of things that can be tailored to suit your needs in every single session. And the whole session time is open for adjustment, so you are free to change your mind (like if you wanted the music louder, but realize later, you’d like it softer for instance).
We are dynamic beings with many layers of experience, and that shows up in our tissues. Massage is very specifically geared towards working on the physical body. However, the rest of us (emotions, mind, spirit) can definitely benefit from massage when it’s done well.