Maybe you’re like us: we’ve had a stressful week of work, housekeeping, and taking care of family and friends, and finally you think to yourself, “I need a break.” So you book a massage and think of it as your spa day, and you count down the days. When it’s over, you build up the stress again, until you reach that breaking point again, and you book another massage… again.
Massage therapy is a powerful stress reliever. There’s a reason why we leave an appointment feeling more balanced and quiet within, and to help us reap even more out of massage therapy, we spoke with Lesly Valiente, a Montreal-based massage therapist.
Here are 5 pieces of wisdom Lesly shared.
Massage therapy is more than just a spa day.
Going often and regularly reaps the most benefits because massage therapy is a preventative practice. Most of us make an appointment when our bodies need it, but the truth is, our bodies will benefit from it even before we reach that max stress point. Make massage therapy a part of your wellness routine and lifestyle, and less a reactive treatment to pain and stress.
Physical relaxation will fuel mental relaxation.
Like other forms of touch (such as a hug from a loved one), massage therapy releases feel-good hormones like dopamine and oxytocin to help us find peace, from our bodies to our minds. When your body feels good, you see things more positively.
Get to know the tension you have.
Tap into your mindfulness. Don’t deny your tension; just be aware of it, be aware of your body. Knowing ourselves is an important step in knowing how to care for ourselves, whether we’re able to provide that for ourselves or if we need to ask for it from somewhere else. Being aware of your own tension will help you to address it and work toward relaxing it.
Find the type of massage that will address your needs.
Perhaps you’re in need of comfort, so techniques like hot stones will provide what you need. Head massages can address the anxiety that may be living in your mind. Create positive moments and memories to carry forward by incorporating aromatherapy. Explore what works for you.
Start treating yourself to your own mini-massages.
If you’re not able to access massage therapy, try a quick hand, foot, or head massage of your own. Use a foam roller or tennis ball to help sink into the muscles. Breathe deep and slow. You don’t need to be an expert. Just start feeling and touching; you know best where your tension is.
Our bodies and minds are connected. While meditation and physical exercise may be methods you already use to care for yourself, don’t forget the healing power of touch as well. Our bodies need care, and in turn, they will care for us.
Here are some resources to help you explore massage therapy.
If you’re not familiar with the types of massages available, here’s an explanation of the 9 most popular ones.
11 easy ways to massage yourself, from your neck to your calves, that you can do sitting wherever you are now.
This article outlines how you can go about choosing the right massage therapist for you, including questions you should ask.
In need of massage oils? Here is a list of the best natural oils for massage therapy at home.