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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 February 20, 2019

                        How to Get Promoted When You Feel Stuck in Your Current Position

                        How to Get Promoted When You Feel Stuck in Your Current Position

                        Are you stuck in the same position for too long and don’t really know how to get promoted and advance your career?

                        Feeling stuck could be caused by a variety of things:

                        • Taking a job for the money
                        • Staying with an employer that no longer aligns with your values
                        • Realizing that you landed yourself in the wrong career
                        • Not feeling valued or feeling underutilized
                        • Staying in a role too long out of fear
                        • Taking a position without a full understanding of the role

                        There are many, many other reasons why you may be feeling this way but let’s focus instead on getting unstuck.

                        As in – getting promoted.

                        So how to get promoted?

                        I’m of the opinion that the best way to get promoted is by showing how you add value to your organization.

                        Did you make money, save money, improve a process, or some other amazing thing? How else might you demonstrated added value?

                        Let’s dive right in how to get promoted when you feel stuck in your current position:

                        1. Be a Mentor

                        When I supervised students, I used to warm them – tongue in cheek, of course – about getting really good at their job.

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                        “Be careful not to get too good at this, or you’ll never get to do anything else?”

                        This was my way of pestering them to take on additional challenges or think outside the box, but there is definitely some reality in doing something so well that your manager doesn’t trust anyone else to do it.

                        This can get you stuck.

                        Jo Miller of Be Leaderly shares this insight on when your boss thinks you’re too valuable in your current job:[1]

                        “Think back to a time when you really enjoyed your current role. I bet there was a time when this job was a stretch for you, and you stepped up to the challenge and performed like a rock star. You became known for doing your job so well that you built up some strong “personal brand” equity, and people know you as the go-to-person for this particular job. That’s what we call “a good problem to have”: you did a really good job of building a positive perception about your suitability for the role, but you may have done “too” good of a job!”

                        With this in mind, how do you prove to your employer that you can add value by being promoted?

                        In Miller’s insight, she talks about building your personal brand and becoming known for doing a particular job well. So how can you link that work with a position or project that will earn you a promotion?

                        Consider leveraging your strengths and skills.

                        Let’s say that project you do so well is hiring and training new entry level employees. You have to post the job listing, read and review resumes, schedule interviews, making hiring decisions, and create the training schedules. These tasks require skills such as employee relations, onboarding, human resources software, performance management, teamwork, collaboration, customer service, and project management. That’s a serious amount of skills!

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                        Is there anyone else on your team who can perform these skills? Try delegating and training some of your staff or colleagues to learn your job. There are a number of reasons why this is a good idea:

                        1. Cross-training helps in any situation in the event that there’s an extended illness and the main performer of a certain task is out for a while.
                        2. In becoming a mentor to a supervisee or colleague, you empower then to increase their job skills.
                        3. You are already beginning to demonstrate that added value to your employer by encouraging your team or peers to learn your job.

                        Now that you’ve trained others to do that work for which you have been so valued, you can see about re-requesting that promotion. Be ready to explain how you have saved the company money, encouraged employees to increase their skills, or reinvented that project of yours.

                        2. Work on Your Mindset

                        Another reason you may feel stuck in a position is well explained by Ashley Stahl in her Forbes article. Shahl talks about mindset, and says:[2]

                        “If you feel stuck at a job you used to love, it’s normally you–not the job–who needs to change. The position you got hired for is probably the exact same one you have now. But if you start to dread the work routine, you’re going to focus on the negatives.”

                        In this situation, you should pursue a conversation with your supervisor and share your thoughts and feelings. You can probably get some advice on how to rediscover the aspects of that job you enjoyed, and negotiate either some additional duties or a chance to move up.

                        Don’t express frustration. Express a desire for more.

                        Share with your supervisor that you want to be challenged and you want to move up. You are seeking more responsibility in order to continue moving the company forward. Focus on how you can do that with the skills you have and will develop with some additional projects and coaching.

                        3. Improve Your Soft Skills

                        When was the last time you put focus and effort into upping your game with those soft skills? I’m talking about those seemingly intangible things that make you the experienced professional in your specific job skills:

                        An article on Levo.com suggests that more than 60 percent of employers look at soft skills when making a hiring decision.[3]

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                        You can bone up on these skills and increase your chances of promotion by taking courses or seminars.

                        And you don’t necessarily need to request funding from your supervisor, either. There are dozens of online courses being presented by entrepreneurs and authors about these very subjects. Udemy and Creative Live both feature online courses at very reasonable prices. And some come with completion certificates for your portfolio!

                        Another way to improve your soft skills is by connecting with an employee at your organization who has the position you are seeking.

                        Express your desire to move up in the organization, and ask to shadow that person or see if you can sit in on some of her meetings. Offer to take that individual out for coffee and ask what her secret is! Take copious notes and then immerse yourself in the learning.

                        The key here is not to copy your new mentor (think Jennifer Jason Leigh in “Single White Female.” Just kidding). Rather, you want to observe, learn and then adapt according to your strengths. And don’t forget to thank that person for their time.

                        4. Develop Your Strategy

                        Do you even know specifically WHY you want to be promoted anyway? Do you see a future at this company? Do you have a one year, five year, or ten year plan? How often do you consider your “why” and insure that it aligns with your “what?”

                        Sit down and do an old-fashioned Pro and Con list. Two columns:

                        Pro’s on one side, Con’s on the other.

                        Write down every positive aspect of your current job and then every negative one. Which list is longer? Are there any themes present?

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                        Look at your lists and choose the most exciting Pro’s and the most frustrating Con’s. Do those two Pro’s make the Con’s worth it? If you can’t answer that question with a “yes” then getting promoted at your current organization may not be what you really want.

                        The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why. –Mark Twain

                        Mel Carson writes about this on Goalcast that many other authors and speakers have written about finding your professional purpose.[4]

                        Here are some questions to ask yourself:

                        • Why is it that you do what you do?
                        • What thrills you about your current job role or career?
                        • What does a great day look like?
                        • What does success look like beyond the paycheck?
                        • What does real success feel like for you?
                        • How do you want to feel about your impact on the world when you retire?

                        These questions would be great to reflect on in a journal or with your supervisor in your next one-on-one meeting. Or, bring it up with one of your Vital Work Friends over coffee.

                        See, what you might find is that being stuck is your choice. And you can set yourself on the path of moving up where you are, or moving on to something different.

                        Because sometimes the real promotion is finding your life’s purpose. And like Mastercard says, that’s Priceless.

                        More Resources About Career Advancement

                        Featured photo credit: Razvan Chisu via unsplash.com

                        Reference

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