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

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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                        Last Updated on March 25, 2020

                        How to Take Notes: 3 Effective Note-Taking Techniques

                        How to Take Notes: 3 Effective Note-Taking Techniques

                        Note-taking is one of those skills that rarely gets taught. Almost everyone assumes either that taking good notes comes naturally or, that someone else must have already taught about how to take notes. Then, we sit around and complain that our colleagues don’t know how to take notes effectively.

                        I figure it’s about time to do something about that. Whether you’re a student or a mid-level professional, the ability to take effective, meaningful notes is a crucial skill. Not only do good notes help us recall facts and ideas we may have forgotten, the act of writing things down helps many of us to remember them better in the first place.

                        One of the reasons people have trouble taking effective notes is that they’re not really sure what notes are for. I think a lot of people, students and professionals alike, attempt to capture a complete record of a lecture, book, or meeting in their notes — to create, in effect, minutes. This is a recipe for failure.

                        Trying to get every last fact and figure down like that leaves no room for thinking about what you’re writing and how it fits together. If you have a personal assistant, by all means, ask him or her to write minutes; if you’re on your own, though, your notes have a different purpose to fulfill.

                        The purpose of note-taking is simple: to help you work better and more quickly. This means your notes don’t have to contain everything, they have to contain the most important things.

                        And if you’re focused on capturing everything, you won’t have the spare mental “cycles” to recognize what’s truly important. Which means that later, when you’re studying for a big test or preparing a term paper, you’ll have to wade through all that extra garbage to uncover the few nuggets of important information?

                        What to Write Down

                        Your focus while taking notes should be two-fold. First, what’s new to you? There’s no point in writing down facts you already know. If you already know the Declaration of Independence was written and signed in 1776, there’s no reason to write that down. Anything you know you know, you can leave out of your notes.

                        Second, what’s relevant? What information is most likely to be of use later, whether on a test, in an essay, or in completing a project? Focus on points that directly relate to or illustrate your reading (which means you’ll have to have actually done the reading…). The kinds of information to pay special attention to are:

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                        1. Dates of Events

                        Dates allow you to create a chronology, putting things in order according to when they happened, and understand the context of an event.

                        For instance, knowing Isaac Newton was born in 1643 allows you to situate his work in relation to that of other physicists who came before and after him, as well as in relation to other trends of the 17th century.

                        2. Names of People

                        Being able to associate names with key ideas also helps remember ideas better and, when names come up again, to recognize ties between different ideas whether proposed by the same individuals or by people related in some way.

                        3. Theories or Frameworks

                        Any statement of a theory or frameworks should be recorded — they are the main points most of the time.

                        4. Definitions

                        Like theories, these are the main points and, unless you are positive you already know the definition of a term, should be written down.

                        Keep in mind that many fields use everyday words in ways that are unfamiliar to us.

                        5. Arguments and Debates

                        Any list of pros and cons, any critique of a key idea, both sides of any debate or your reading should be recorded.

                        This is the stuff that advancement in every discipline emerges from, and will help you understand both how ideas have changed (and why) but also the process of thought and development of the matter of subject.

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                        6. Images

                        Whenever an image is used to illustrate a point, a few words are in order to record the experience.

                        Obviously it’s overkill to describe every tiny detail, but a short description of a painting or a short statement about what the class, session or meeting did should be enough to remind you and help reconstruct the experience.

                        7. Other Stuff

                        Just about anything a professor writes on a board should probably be written down, unless it’s either self-evident or something you already know. Titles of books, movies, TV series, and other media are usually useful, though they may be irrelevant to the topic at hand.

                        I usually put this sort of stuff in the margin to look up later (it’s often useful for research papers, for example). Pay attention to other’s comments, too — try to capture at least the gist of comments that add to your understanding.

                        8. Your Own Questions

                        Make sure to record your own questions about the material as they occur to you. This will help you remember to ask the professor or look something up later, as well as prompt you to think through the gaps in your understanding.

                        3 Powerful Note-Taking Techniques

                        You don’t have to be super-fancy in your note-taking to be effective, but there are a few techniques that seem to work best for most people.

                        1. Outlining

                        Whether you use Roman numerals or bullet points, outlining is an effective way to capture the hierarchical relationships between ideas and data. For example, in a history class, you might write the name of an important leader, and under it the key events that he or she was involved in. Under each of them, a short description. And so on.

                        Outlining is a great way to take notes from books, because the author has usually organized the material in a fairly effective way, and you can go from start to end of a chapter and simply reproduce that structure in your notes.

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                        For lectures, however, outlining has limitations. The relationship between ideas isn’t always hierarchical, and the instructor might jump around a lot. A point later in the lecture might relate better to information earlier in the lecture, leaving you to either flip back and forth to find where the information goes best (and hope there’s still room to write it in), or risk losing the relationship between what the professor just said and what she said before.

                        2. Mind-Mapping

                        For lectures, a mind-map might be a more appropriate way of keeping track of the relationships between ideas. Now, I’m not the biggest fan of mind-mapping, but it might just fit the bill.

                        Here’s the idea:

                        In the center of a blank sheet of paper, you write the lecture’s main topic. As new sub-topics are introduced (the kind of thing you’d create a new heading for in an outline), you draw a branch outward from the center and write the sub-topic along the branch. Then each point under that heading gets its own, smaller branch off the main one. When another new sub-topic is mentioned, you draw a new main branch from the center. And so on.

                        The thing is, if a point should go under the first heading but you’re on the fourth heading, you can easily just draw it in on the first branch. Likewise, if a point connects to two different ideas, you can connect it to two different branches.

                        If you want to neaten things up later, you can re-draw the map or type it up using a program like FreeMind, a free mind-mapping program (some wikis even have plug-ins for FreeMind mind-maps, in case you’re using a wiki to keep track of your notes).

                        You can learn more about mind-mapping here: How to Mind Map: Visualize Your Cluttered Thoughts in 3 Simple Steps

                        3. The Cornell System

                        The Cornell System is a simple but powerful system for increasing your recall and the usefulness of your notes.

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                        About a quarter of the way from the bottom of a sheet of paper, draw a line across the width of the page. Draw another line from that line to the top, about 2 inches (5 cm) from the right-hand edge of the sheet.

                        You’ve divided your page into three sections. In the largest section, you take notes normally — you can outline or mind-map or whatever. After the lecture, write a series of “cues” into the skinny column on the right, questions about the material you’ve just taken notes on. This will help you process the information from the lecture or reading, as well as providing a handy study tool when exams come along: simply cover the main section and try to answer the questions.

                        In the bottom section, you write a short, 2-3 line summary in your own words of the material you’ve covered. Again, this helps you process the information by forcing you to use it in a new way; it also provides a useful reference when you’re trying to find something in your notes later.

                        You can download instructions and templates from American Digest, though the beauty of the system is you can dash off a template “on the fly”.

                        The Bottom Line

                        I’m sure I’m only scratching the surface of the variety of techniques and strategies people have come up with to take good notes. Some people use highlighters or colored pens; others a baroque system of post-it notes.

                        I’ve tried to keep it simple and general, but the bottom line is that your system has to reflect the way you think. The problem is, most haven’t given much thought to the way they think, leaving them scattered and at loose ends — and their notes reflect this.

                        More Note-Taking Tips

                        Featured photo credit: Kaleidico via unsplash.com

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