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Why You Should Try Massage: 10 Effective Massage Techniques and Resources

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Why You Should Try Massage: 10 Effective Massage Techniques and Resources

Recently, I had a meeting with a friend I haven’t seen in awhile. We had some pleasant time; we drank some coffee and chilled out — just regular stuff. I was little late, since my sore back got the best of me, and I had a hard time getting up from my afternoon nap.

As always, I tried to stretch a bit despite feeling sore and rushed to the meeting. We were having a nice time, but it wasn’t long before she realized I was in pain. My lower back start to hurt after an hour of sitting (you know the story: sedentary working position, not stretching, yadda-yadda-yadda).

As it turns out, my friend happened to have a degree in massage and started her own business in this field. She was on her way to becoming a certified expert, and she suggested that I come to her studio to get a proper massage, free of charge. “Why not?” I said, with a big smile on my face. “Let’s do this.” I faked the smile, because I was afraid, hoping that the massage wouldn’t be unpleasant.

Fast-forward 24 hours: I’m lying on the table, getting a full body massage, concentrated on my lower back, buttocks, and legs. My friend was really skillful. But boy, how it hurt.

I was trying to play the tough guy role for a bit of time, but at some point, the pain on my lower back was excruciating. “Breathe, and relax Dejan. Just relax,” she repeated. “Your muscles and tissues are getting repaired. Soon you’ll feel much better.” The smell of the oil in the room was great, the atmosphere was calm, and the pain slowly started to fade.

While I was on that table, I started thinking about how we neglect our bodies. We run during the day, focused on being productive, getting more stuff done, putting our body and our health behind. We sit for many hours in our chairs in front of our screens, just thinking about the numbers, the revenue, or whatever. We neglect our health until it starts to hurt. Why do we do this to ourselves?

Have you had moments like these in your life?

This experience inspired me to research massage techniques that we can have or do to help us get closer to the sensation of excruciating pain followed by heavenly relief that massage brings into our lives. It turns out that there are a lot of methods of massage and a bunch of benefits we’re totally missing out on.

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Here Are 10 Effective Massage Techniques to Try Right Now

1. Swedish Massage
Effective Massage Techniques - Swedish Massage

    When it comes to therapy, Swedish is the most popular type of massage among the people who go to the massage parlor. The goal of the Swedish massage is to relax your body and release stress. The best part is that you don’t have to go to the massage parlor to get this massage because it’s easy to perform. All you have to do is to make a circular pressure using your hands and palms, followed by firm kneading, percussion-like tapping, and of course, a lot of bending and stretching. If this is confusing for you, here’s a Swedish massage tutorial so you can learn it faster.

    The intended benefits of the Swedish massage are not only to relax your body, but also to increase the level of oxygen in your blood significantly. Also, the number of toxins in your muscles will decrease while your circulation and flexibility will improve.

    2. Aromatherapy Massage

    Effective Massage Techniques - Aromatherapy Massage

      Aromatherapy massage is the gentlest type as it requires a lot of oil and relies on intoxicating aroma and relaxation. This kind of massage is a beautiful way to express care and to relieve your loved one from everyday stress. Even though it is gentle and probably the most relaxing massage out there, you should know that aromatherapy massage can be a bit dangerous as a lot of different oils (made from various herbs) might impact the body. Make sure that neither you nor the one who’s getting a massage from you are allergic to any of the herbs that oil that you’ll be using contains.

      There are many benefits of aromatherapy massage, and they go from stress relief to the memory improvement (if the right type of oil is used). For example, if you are using calendula oil, you can improve your healing and recovery from illness. By applying citrus essential oils, your digestion issues will disappear. Check out the ultimate guide for herbal oils to find the perfect oil for the best aromatherapy massage experience.

      3. Simple Back Massage

      Effective Massage Techniques - Simple back massage

        Back massage can be done without any training at all; it is one of the easiest tissue stimulating massages. Everybody likes a good back rub. To give one, study this detailed guide on how to do it (with pictures included). Besides providing some good relaxation, this type of a massage provides some of the following health benefits:

        • Thanks to the back massage, you might get rid of the lower back pain. After a long day at the office, your muscles are most likely to be tense, so once you go home, even a quick back massage can help you remove or reduce the annoying lower back pain.
        • If you have a problem with migraines, an upper back massage can help you get rid of them. Basically, any pain that is located on your back can be easily removed or reduced with this kind of massage.

        4. Reflexology Therapy

        Effective Massage Techniques - Reflexology massage

          Reflexology treatment involves applying the pressure to your feet and hands with specific thumb, finger, and hand techniques. This type of massage is based on points and reflex areas on the feet and hands that reflect an image of the entire body. This basically means that a foot or hand massage can affect any health problem that you might have.

          Since this kind of therapy is mostly focusing on your body nerves, medical experts would advise you to use TENS unit — Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation Unit. There are a lot of those units available for sale. To get the best one for yourself, check out the latest and most recommended TENS units. With the proper usage, these units are life changing — from dental, back, arms, and legs pain, to hormonal disbalance change. TENS unit can change your life.

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          TNS UNIT

            If you are new to TENS units, but you would love to get yourself one and learn how to use it, check out the ultimate guide to TENS units . With a bit of research and learning, you will start to change your life. Not only that you will feel relaxation after the reflexology therapy, but it will also improve your circulation and energy levels. Reflexology treatment can improve your bladder function and reduce urinary tract issues.

            5. Deep Tissue Massage

            Effective Massage Techniques - Deep tissue massage

              Deep tissue massage is the best type of therapy when it comes to realigning deeper layers of your muscles. If you are dealing with constant pain or contracted areas such as a stiff neck, upper and lower back pain, sore shoulders or leg muscle tightness, it would be smart to get a deep tissue massage as soon as possible, since it will help you a lot.

              If you’ve never had a deep tissue massage before, it would be smart not to eat heavy meals before the massage and to avoid doing any hard activity after the massage. This is essential because your body can receive it better without a heavy load on the stomach and relaxation after the deep tissue massage.

              By getting a deep tissue massage, you can get rid of chronic muscle pain or improve your injury rehabilitation from whiplash, falls, sports injuries, etc. Also, your blood pressure and heart rate will be lowered during the treatment. Benefits of deep tissue massage are many, and there is no reason for you not to try it.

              Giving a deep tissue massage is pretty complicated technique, and it requires some practice on the massage table, so we advise you not to do it yourself if you’re not a trained professional. Because of the hard pressure involved, you might hurt the person you’re trying to help.

              6. Thai Massage
              Effective Massage Techniques - Thai massage

                It is believed that traditional Thai massage is more than 2000 years old, and that it was used by the people who didn’t use it only as a therapeutic method, but also to maintain health and well-being. This type of massage is the combination of yoga stretching, calmness of medication, exercise movement and reflexology that makes it a healing art. Unlike many other massage techniques that you would get on the table, Thai massage is done on the floor.

                Also, what makes the Thai massage even more unique is that it is not done only by the hands, but feet and the elbows as well. By getting a Thai massage, not only are you getting some physical benefits, but you’ll have some mental benefits as well. It can improve your immune system and help with detoxification of the body, and it can improve your mind and body concentration as well. There is also proof that Thai massage boosts your creativity.

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                7. Sports Massage

                Effective Massage Techniques - Sports massage

                  Athletes are the ones who use the sports massage therapy the most, and when we say athletes, we mean from world-class professionals to weekend joggers. This type of massage focuses on the area of your body that is overused and stressed from repetitive and often aggressive movements. With a careful sports massage, the sore tissues are revitalized, rested, and the recovery process is much faster.

                  One of the most crucial things about the sports massage is that if you want to get one, we would strongly advise you to find a specially trained massage therapist who has knowledge of a broad range of techniques, and knows how to use them. The reason for this is simple; getting the wrong massage can hurt your tissue and muscles and even disable you.

                  By getting a sports massage, it will help you stretch some of the tissues that couldn’t be stretched earlier, and improve your tissue elasticity. Not only will you feel relaxed, but with a sports massage, the pain in your muscles will be significantly reduced. Still, this massage could be quite painful (I felt it myself), but it’s well worth to endure it.

                  8. Hot Stone Massage
                  Effective Massage Techniques - Hot stone massage

                    An interesting fact about stone massage is that the early Native Americans used it to treat their aching muscles. In this type of a massage, hot stones are placed on your body. The heat of these stones plays a major role in this therapy because their heat will warm up some of your tight muscles, and the therapists will be able to work with them much better.

                    By getting this massage, not only will you be released of additional stress and feel relaxed, but it may also help you to fight with some of the symptoms of anxiety disorders and depression. The important thing to know is that if you have diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, or you are on some medications that thin your blood, you should avoid getting the hot stone massage. To perform this technique of therapy, special rocks and equipment are needed, of course.

                    9. Prenatal Massage

                    Effective Massage Techniques - prenatal massage

                      Now, if you are about to become a future mom, here’s an interesting thing to consider. The prenatal massage has a lot of in common with the other types of massage — to ease sore spots, to relax tense muscles, to improve your circulation and mobility, and to make you feel good. But unlike all the other massage techniques, this one is specifically tailored to the needs of a pregnant woman and body changes that you are going through.

                      Now you are probably asking yourself how to lie down on a table if you are pregnant. There are special tables with hollowed-out areas and special pillows that will accommodate your belly so you can lie with your face down without any problems at all. Also, it can be performed while lying on the floor in some specific positions.

                      This type of massage will help you reduce the swelling in your hands, feet, and ankles. Also, it can help with the relaxation and by that, it can decrease insomnia. Another great benefit of prenatal massage is that it will increase the oxygen in your blood by 10 to 15 percent after a session, and it can strengthen your immune system.

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                      10. Shiatsu Massage

                      Shiatsu Massage

                        Last but definitely not least is the shiatsu massage. This is the form of therapeutic bodywork from Japan that uses kneading, soothing, pressing, tapping, and stretching techniques, and it is performed without any oils at all; the massage is performed through comfortable clothing.

                        In the Japanese language, shiatsu means “finger pressure”; therefore, shiatsu technique includes massage with thumbs, fingers, feet, and palms. Shiatsu massage has a lot of different styles, philosophical approaches, and theoretical bases.

                        By getting the Shiatsu (finger pressure) treatment, not only will it help you to reduce the level of stress, but it will contribute to your overall wellbeing. Shiatsu therapy can reduce your muscle stiffness, stimulate the skin, help with digestion problems, and influence your nervous system. If you have problems with chronic pain such as headaches, or even problems with PMS, insomnia, stress or anxiety, getting a Shiatsu massage can help you recover.

                        My back snaps.

                        And it keeps snapping, every other day when I visit the massage parlor. Since that day, I’m not experiencing pain, my blood flow is better, and my spine is healthier. It’s a wonder how our lives can be better when we just start paying attention to our health. And getting a massage is an easy way to change your life.

                        You only need to try it once. You’re welcome.

                        Featured photo credit: Roderick Eime via flickr.com

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                        Dejan Kvrgic

                        Blogger, Writer

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                        1 8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener 2 The Art of Humble Confidence 3 How to Learn Something New Every Day and Stay Smart 4 15 Healthy Eating Tips from a Professional Health Coach 5 Back to Basics: Capture Your Ideas

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                        8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener

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                        8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener

                        How would you feel if you were sharing a personal story and noticed that the person to whom you were speaking wasn’t really listening? You probably wouldn’t be too thrilled.

                        Unfortunately, that is the case for many people. Most individuals are not good listeners. They are good pretenders. The thing is, true listening requires work—more work than people are willing to invest. Quality conversation is about “give and take.” Most people, however, want to just give—their words, that is. Being on the receiving end as the listener may seem boring, but it’s essential.

                        When you are attending to someone and paying attention to what they’re saying, it’s a sign of caring and respect. The hitch is that attending requires an act of will, which sometimes goes against what our minds naturally do—roaming around aimlessly and thinking about whatnot, instead of listening—the greatest act of thoughtfulness.

                        Without active listening, people often feel unheard and unacknowledged. That’s why it’s important for everyone to learn how to be a better listener.

                        What Makes People Poor Listeners?

                        Good listening skills can be learned, but first, let’s take a look at some of the things that you might be doing that makes you a poor listener.

                        1. You Want to Talk to Yourself

                        Well, who doesn’t? We all have something to say, right? But when you are looking at someone pretending to be listening while, all along, they’re mentally planning all the amazing things they’re going to say, it is a disservice to the speaker.

                        Yes, maybe what the other person is saying is not the most exciting thing in the world. Still, they deserve to be heard. You always have the ability to steer the conversation in another direction by asking questions.

                        It’s okay to want to talk. It’s normal, even. Keep in mind, however, that when your turn does come around, you’ll want someone to listen to you.

                        2. You Disagree With What Is Being Said

                        This is another thing that makes you an inadequate listener—hearing something with which you disagree with and immediately tuning out. Then, you lie in wait so you can tell the speaker how wrong they are. You’re eager to make your point and prove the speaker wrong. You think that once you speak your “truth,” others will know how mistaken the speaker is, thank you for setting them straight, and encourage you to elaborate on what you have to say. Dream on.

                        Disagreeing with your speaker, however frustrating that might be, is no reason to tune them out and ready yourself to spew your staggering rebuttal. By listening, you might actually glean an interesting nugget of information that you were previously unaware of.

                        3. You Are Doing Five Other Things While You’re “Listening”

                        It is impossible to listen to someone while you’re texting, reading, playing Sudoku, etc. But people do it all the time—I know I have.

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                        I’ve actually tried to balance my checkbook while pretending to listen to the person on the other line. It didn’t work. I had to keep asking, “what did you say?” I can only admit this now because I rarely do it anymore. With work, I’ve succeeded in becoming a better listener. It takes a great deal of concentration, but it’s certainly worth it.

                        If you’re truly going to listen, then you must: listen! M. Scott Peck, M.D., in his book The Road Less Travel, says, “you cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time.” If you are too busy to actually listen, let the speaker know, and arrange for another time to talk. It’s simple as that!

                        4. You Appoint Yourself as Judge

                        While you’re “listening,” you decide that the speaker doesn’t know what they’re talking about. As the “expert,” you know more. So, what’s the point of even listening?

                        To you, the only sound you hear once you decide they’re wrong is, “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!” But before you bang that gavel, just know you may not have all the necessary information. To do that, you’d have to really listen, wouldn’t you? Also, make sure you don’t judge someone by their accent, the way they sound, or the structure of their sentences.

                        My dad is nearly 91. His English is sometimes a little broken and hard to understand. People wrongly assume that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about—they’re quite mistaken. My dad is a highly intelligent man who has English as his second language. He knows what he’s saying and understands the language perfectly.

                        Keep that in mind when listening to a foreigner, or someone who perhaps has a difficult time putting their thoughts into words.

                        Now, you know some of the things that make for an inferior listener. If none of the items above resonate with you, great! You’re a better listener than most.

                        How To Be a Better Listener

                        For conversation’s sake, though, let’s just say that maybe you need some work in the listening department, and after reading this article, you make the decision to improve. What, then, are some of the things you need to do to make that happen? How can you be a better listener?

                        1. Pay Attention

                        A good listener is attentive. They’re not looking at their watch, phone, or thinking about their dinner plans. They’re focused and paying attention to what the other person is saying. This is called active listening.

                        According to Skills You Need, “active listening involves listening with all senses. As well as giving full attention to the speaker, it is important that the ‘active listener’ is also ‘seen’ to be listening—otherwise, the speaker may conclude that what they are talking about is uninteresting to the listener.”[1]

                        As I mentioned, it’s normal for the mind to wander. We’re human, after all. But a good listener will rein those thoughts back in as soon as they notice their attention waning.

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                        I want to note here that you can also “listen” to bodily cues. You can assume that if someone keeps looking at their watch or over their shoulder, their focus isn’t on the conversation. The key is to just pay attention.

                        2. Use Positive Body Language

                        You can infer a lot from a person’s body language. Are they interested, bored, or anxious?

                        A good listener’s body language is open. They lean forward and express curiosity in what is being said. Their facial expression is either smiling, showing concern, conveying empathy, etc. They’re letting the speaker know that they’re being heard.

                        People say things for a reason—they want some type of feedback. For example, you tell your spouse, “I had a really rough day!” and your husband continues to check his newsfeed while nodding his head. Not a good response.

                        But what if your husband were to look up with questioning eyes, put his phone down, and say, “Oh, no. What happened?” How would feel, then? The answer is obvious.

                        According to Alan Gurney,[2]

                        “An active listener pays full attention to the speaker and ensures they understand the information being delivered. You can’t be distracted by an incoming call or a Facebook status update. You have to be present and in the moment.

                        Body language is an important tool to ensure you do this. The correct body language makes you a better active listener and therefore more ‘open’ and receptive to what the speaker is saying. At the same time, it indicates that you are listening to them.”

                        3. Avoid Interrupting the Speaker

                        I am certain you wouldn’t want to be in the middle of a sentence only to see the other person holding up a finger or their mouth open, ready to step into your unfinished verbiage. It’s rude and causes anxiety. You would, more than likely, feel a need to rush what you’re saying just to finish your sentence.

                        Interrupting is a sign of disrespect. It is essentially saying, “what I have to say is much more important than what you’re saying.” When you interrupt the speaker, they feel frustrated, hurried, and unimportant.

                        Interrupting a speaker to agree, disagree, argue, etc., causes the speaker to lose track of what they are saying. It’s extremely frustrating. Whatever you have to say can wait until the other person is done.

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                        Be polite and wait your turn!

                        4. Ask Questions

                        Asking questions is one of the best ways to show you’re interested. If someone is telling you about their ski trip to Mammoth, don’t respond with, “that’s nice.” That would show a lack of interest and disrespect. Instead, you can ask, “how long have you been skiing?” “Did you find it difficult to learn?” “What was your favorite part of the trip?” etc. The person will think highly of you and consider you a great conversationalist just by you asking a few questions.

                        5. Just Listen

                        This may seem counterintuitive. When you’re conversing with someone, it’s usually back and forth. On occasion, all that is required of you is to listen, smile, or nod your head, and your speaker will feel like they’re really being heard and understood.

                        I once sat with a client for 45 minutes without saying a word. She came into my office in distress. I had her sit down, and then she started crying softly. I sat with her—that’s all I did. At the end of the session, she stood, told me she felt much better, and then left.

                        I have to admit that 45 minutes without saying a word was tough. But she didn’t need me to say anything. She needed a safe space in which she could emote without interruption, judgment, or me trying to “fix” something.

                        6. Remember and Follow Up

                        Part of being a great listener is remembering what the speaker has said to you, then following up with them.

                        For example, in a recent conversation you had with your co-worker Jacob, he told you that his wife had gotten a promotion and that they were contemplating moving to New York. The next time you run into Jacob, you may want to say, “Hey, Jacob! Whatever happened with your wife’s promotion?” At this point, Jacob will know you really heard what he said and that you’re interested to see how things turned out. What a gift!

                        According to new research, “people who ask questions, particularly follow-up questions, may become better managers, land better jobs, and even win second dates.”[3]

                        It’s so simple to show you care. Just remember a few facts and follow up on them. If you do this regularly, you will make more friends.

                        7. Keep Confidential Information Confidential

                        If you really want to be a better listener, listen with care. If what you’re hearing is confidential, keep it that way, no matter how tempting it might be to tell someone else, especially if you have friends in common. Being a good listener means being trustworthy and sensitive with shared information.

                        Whatever is told to you in confidence is not to be revealed. Assure your speaker that their information is safe with you. They will feel relieved that they have someone with whom they can share their burden without fear of it getting out.

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                        Keeping someone’s confidence helps to deepen your relationship. Also, “one of the most important elements of confidentiality is that it helps to build and develop trust. It potentially allows for the free flow of information between the client and worker and acknowledges that a client’s personal life and all the issues and problems that they have belong to them.”[4]

                        Be like a therapist: listen and withhold judgment.

                        NOTE: I must add here that while therapists keep everything in a session confidential, there are exceptions:

                        1. If the client may be an immediate danger to himself or others.
                        2. If the client is endangering a population that cannot protect itself, such as in the case of a child or elder abuse.

                        8. Maintain Eye Contact

                        When someone is talking, they are usually saying something they consider meaningful. They don’t want their listener reading a text, looking at their fingernails, or bending down to pet a pooch on the street. A speaker wants all eyes on them. It lets them know that what they’re saying has value.

                        Eye contact is very powerful. It can relay many things without anything being said. Currently, it’s more important than ever with the Covid-19 Pandemic. People can’t see your whole face, but they can definitely read your eyes.

                        By eye contact, I don’t mean a hard, creepy stare—just a gaze in the speaker’s direction will do. Make it a point the next time you’re in a conversation to maintain eye contact with your speaker. Avoid the temptation to look anywhere but at their face. I know it’s not easy, especially if you’re not interested in what they’re talking about. But as I said, you can redirect the conversation in a different direction or just let the person know you’ve got to get going.

                        Final Thoughts

                        Listening attentively will add to your connection with anyone in your life. Now, more than ever, when people are so disconnected due to smartphones and social media, listening skills are critical.

                        You can build better, more honest, and deeper relationships by simply being there, paying attention, and asking questions that make the speaker feel like what they have to say matters.

                        And isn’t that a great goal? To make people feel as if they matter? So, go out and start honing those listening skills. You’ve got two great ears. Now use them!

                        More Tips on How to Be a Better Listener

                        Featured photo credit: Joshua Rodriguez via unsplash.com

                        Reference

                        [1] Skills You Need: Active Listening
                        [2] Filtered: Body language for active listening
                        [3] Forbes: People Will Like You More If You Start Asking Follow-up Questions
                        [4] TAFE NSW Sydney eLearning Moodle: Confidentiality

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