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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

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                        Last Updated on November 18, 2020

                        15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It)

                        15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It)

                        It’s okay, you can finally admit it. It’s been two months since you’ve seen the inside of the gym. Getting sick, family crisis, overtime at work and school papers that needed to get finished all kept you for exercising. Now, the question is: how do you start again?
                        Once you have an exercise habit, it becomes automatic. You just go to the gym, there is no force involved. But after a month, two months or possibly a year off, it can be hard to get started again. Here are some tips to climb back on that treadmill after you’ve fallen off.

                        1. Don’t Break the Habit – The easiest way to keep things going is simply not to stop. Avoid long breaks in exercising or rebuilding the habit will take some effort. This may be advice a little too late for some people. But if you have an exercise habit going, don’t drop it at the first sign of trouble.
                        2. Reward Showing Up – Woody Allen once said that, “Half of life is showing up.” I’d argue that 90% of making a habit is just making the effort to get there. You can worry about your weight, amount of laps you run or the amount you can bench press later.
                        3. Commit for Thirty Days – Make a commitment to go every day (even just for 20 minutes) for one month. This will solidify the exercise habit. By making a commitment you also take pressure off yourself in the first weeks back of deciding whether to go.
                        4. Make it Fun – If you don’t enjoy yourself at the gym, it is going to be hard to keep it a habit. There are thousands of ways you can move your body and exercise, so don’t give up if you’ve decided lifting weights or doing crunches isn’t for you. Many large fitness centers will offer a range of programs that can suit your tastes.
                        5. Schedule During Quiet Hours – Don’t put exercise time in a place where it will easily be pushed aside by something more important. Right after work or first thing in the morning are often good places to put it. Lunch-hour workouts might be too easy to skip if work demands start mounting.
                        6. Get a Buddy – Grab a friend to join you. Having a social aspect to exercising can boost your commitment to the exercise habit.
                        7. X Your Calendar – One person I know has the habit of drawing a red “X” through any day on the calendar he goes to the gym. The benefit of this is it quickly shows how long it has been since you’ve gone to the gym. Keeping a steady amount of X’s on your calendar is an easy way to motivate yourself.
                        8. Enjoyment Before Effort – After you finish any work out, ask yourself what parts you enjoyed and what parts you did not. As a rule, the enjoyable aspects of your workout will get done and the rest will be avoided. By focusing on how you can make workouts more enjoyable, you can make sure you want to keep going to the gym.
                        9. Create a Ritual – Your workout routine should become so ingrained that it becomes a ritual. This means that the time of day, place or cue automatically starts you towards grabbing your bag and heading out. If your workout times are completely random, it will be harder to benefit from the momentum of a ritual.
                        10. Stress Relief – What do you do when your stressed? Chances are it isn’t running. But exercise can be a great way to relieve stress, releasing endorphin which will improve your mood. The next time you feel stressed or tired, try doing an exercise you enjoy. When stress relief is linked to exercise, it is easy to regain the habit even after a leave of absence.
                        11. Measure Fitness – Weight isn’t always the best number to track. Increase in muscle can offset decreases in fat so the scale doesn’t change even if your body is. But fitness improvements are a great way to stay motivated. Recording simple numbers such as the number of push-ups, sit-ups or speed you can run can help you see that the exercise is making you stronger and faster.
                        12. Habits First, Equipment Later – Fancy equipment doesn’t create a habit for exercise. Despite this, some people still believe that buying a thousand dollar machine will make up for their inactivity. It won’t. Start building the exercise habit first, only afterwards should you worry about having a personal gym.
                        13. Isolate Your Weakness – If falling off the exercise wagon is a common occurrence for you, find out why. Do you not enjoy exercising? Is it a lack of time? Is it feeling self-conscious at the gym? Is it a lack of fitness know-how? As soon as you can isolate your weakness, you can make steps to improve the situation.
                        14. Start Small – Trying to run fifteen miles your first workout isn’t a good way to build a habit. Work below your capacity for the first few weeks to build the habit. Otherwise you might scare yourself off after a brutal workout.
                        15. Go for Yourself, Not to Impress – Going to the gym with the only goal of looking great is like starting a business with only the goal to make money. The effort can’t justify the results. But if you go to the gym to push yourself, gain energy and have a good time, then you can keep going even when results are slow.

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