How does your body feel when it’s time to go home after a hard day’s work?
While you’re feeling great to finally get to go home…
… I bet your body doesn’t feel as great as your feeling
Your neck is stiff from straining your head forward
Your shoulder is painful from constantly have to support your arms while you’re typing
Your eyes are tired from looking at the bright screen eight hours straight
Your back is killing from bending over from morning to evening
Your bottom is sore from sitting too long
That’s not to mention how exhausted your mind also
It must be cloudy from thinking all day about your boss’ order, clients’ demand, and coworker’s request
Also from enduring whatever anger, annoyance, sadness, surprise you felt during work
What do you wish the most at the time like this?
Alcohol? Greasy food?
While those two are probably the most seek comfort for your tiredness, they are not the best solution for your stress because in the long term they give you negative consequence.
But, what if there is a better alternative than them? One that is just as pleasuring as wine or one big beef burger but without the negative effect?
One that even give your body positive side effect?
It is one of the most pleasuring and positive ways to deal with stress: massage.
Massage is basically what you call people kneading, rubbing, or putting pressure to your skin to loosen your muscles.
It is one that you used to find only in upscale health club or luxurious spa.
But now it is one that you can find everywhere: from mall, small clinics, or maybe there is even one in your office building!
Massage has always been popular as positive ways to deal with stress, even since Roman Empire to the current 2016. In 2015, it is reported that approximately 39 million of adult Americans have received at least one massage in the past year.
No wonder it is popular. For such a simple act of lying down, you can reduce your stress, anxiety, and depression to the certain level.
Massage is loaded with many other benefits like makes you sleep easier and deeper. It also improves your mood.
There are other positive effect for your body: massage helps to reduce digestive problem, headache, and soft tissue injuries from sport or other activities.
Isn’t it a better bargain than cigarettes, drugs, or alcohol?
Massage is such a positive way to deal with stress!
The body is precious. It is our vehicle for awakening. Treat it with care. (Buddha)
Why massage is one of the positive ways to deal with stress
So, why does massage is included as one of the positive ways to deal with stress?
The easiest explanation is because massage makes people feel cared and comforted. As a social creature, human find comfort in interaction with other people. Even just exchanging greeting makes them feel better – but receiving massage is a whole different level of receiving care and comfort from other people.
Also, massage somehow also changes the hormone inside you. Study conducted by Dr. Mark Hyman Rapaport, Pamela Schettler, and Catherine Bresee from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in LA confirmed that after receiving massage, one’s cortisol (or the ‘stress hormone’ decreased significantly.
Another hormone called AVP (arginine vasopressin) that narrows blood vessels and raises blood pressure is also reduced after massage.
Reducing the stress hormone isn’t the only thing massage do. It even boosts the level of ‘feel good’ hormone that can help you fight stress: endorphin, serotonin, and dopamine.
Meanwhile, although almost all scientist and health practitioners believe in massage’s effectiveness in reducing stress, mixed opinion are found in whether massage benefits physically or not.
There haven’t been many studies conducted about stress and physical health. And from those that’s available, some scientists claim that the connection between the two is weak.
So, what to do regarding this mixed opinion?
Well, it only means one thing: massage is still not yet a substitution for medical treatment for physical illness. But, if you plan to manage your stress, don’t hesitate to use massage!
Even if massage maybe won’t affect your physical health, but it certainly positively affect your psychological health! You still can count on massage if you want to have positive ways to deal with stress.
So, where should you start your massage therapy?
A massage is just like a movie, really relaxing and a total escape, except in a massage you’re the star. And you don’t miss anything by falling asleep. (Elizabeth Jane Howard)
From where do I get massage therapy?
Like we all know, massage service nowadays is as easy to find as fast food franchise. To get a taste of this positive ways to deal with stress you don’t have to look far.
But, which one should you choose? Here’s some things to consider before jumping to a massage service.
Can you receive massage therapy?
Although massage is a kind of positive ways to relieve stress and won’t give you any negative side effect, there are certain condition when you’re not allowed to get a massage.
Those conditions are when you’re wounded or burned, get a fracture, or having other certain medical condition like thrombocytopenia or osteoporosis.
Consult your doctor whether you can get massage therapy or not.
Choose the best massage service
First thing to consider is the therapist.
Ask your therapist whether they are licensed and registered to the state. Also, find out their experience: how long they’ve been in business and how’s their review from other customers.
Second thing to consider is the cost. Massage is actually quite costly. Average massage service asks for $60 per hour or $1 per minute. Massage itself also has various therapy length. Some can be done 10 minutes while other maybe require a full hour.
Compare the price between one place and another and choose one that give the best cost-benefit service. Sometimes, they offer discount after a number of therapies or in special day, take advantage of that!
Ask whether your insurance also cover massage therapy. It depends on the state you live in, but you’ll need doctor’s prescription for massage therapy if you want it paid by insurance.
Self massage: bring that luxury home
As we’ve established before, massage is sadly not cheap.
But there is alternative for that. You can bring home the comfort and luxury from the massage therapy to your home! You can do it yourself or ask your partner to do it for you. That way, you can still receive the benefit and pleasure from this positive ways to deal with stress as often as you like.
Preparing the equipment
Actually, you can do message without any equipment at all. Just your hands and your energy is enough to create a magic that is massage.
But, if you want additional luxury to enhance your massage experience, you can add massage oil.
Massage oil help to reduce the friction between skin and skin that sometimes feel rough if your skin is tender. Massage oil also have relaxing, pleasant fragrant and some even have beauty and health benefits for your skin.
We recommend organic oil that has been known for their benefits, like olive oil, jojoba oil, or lavender oil. Our recommendation for these essential oil is Majestic Pure Lavender Oil that is non-toxin and contain no additives.
If you lavender smell too sweet for you, you can opt for Majestic Pure Coconut Oil. Switch your oil for every massage can also makes your massage feel more adventurous and interesting. We recommend you to grab Radha Beauty’s Top 6 Essential Oil Premium Kit.
If you don’t like the ‘oily’ feeling from above choices, you can substitute oil with lotion. And then, if you don’t like the ‘wet’ feeling of lotion either, you can have dry rub such as corn meal or corn starch. Dry rub is rougher than liquid based lubricant and recommended if you want to exfoliate your skin as you massage it.
Head and facial massage
Head massage is one that you can do even when you’re in public place because it doesn’t require you to make grand movement with your hands.
Close your eyes and put your finger under your eyebrows. Press it slightly for 5-10 seconds. Gradually move from the outer side of your eye to inner side.This one helps to better circulate your blood flow near the eyes, especially when you’re tired of looking at computer screen.
With your thumb, trace your jaw from your chin until it ends under your ears. Press that spot gentry and rub in circular motion. This one help loosen your jaw muscles that happened because you clench or grind your teeth – thing that you unconsciously often do when you’re stressed.
Shoulder and back massage
Your shoulder is where stress accumulate physically. There is a muscle called trapezius muscle that is often the victim of your stress. This is the part that’s especially stiff and sore after you sit on your office all day.
Trapezius muscle’s shape is a triangle facing downward. It start from your upper back at the shoulder’s length and get narrower as it goes down to your middle back.
The method to massage this trapezius muscle is easy. You can either apply pressure on its surface for 5-10 seconds each spot. You can also rub its surface in circular motion.
Your upper back should be easy to reach with your own hand and it’s usually enough. But if you want all of your trapezius area covered with massage, ask your partner to rub it for you or you can buy a massage stick – this is tools that help you reach body part that your hands can’t reach like your back. It is usually not a straight stick but have an S shape to help delivering the necessary pressure.
Your foot (and hands, actually) is known to be the end point of many nerves that connect to your entire organ. They have so many pressure point!
Start with pressing your toes: from the top to its under, the sides, and between the toe. Bend them back and forth with your finger. This feels really relaxing after a day of work where they’re constricted inside shoes.
Move to your soles. This is the part that is covered with pressure points that can make you feel especially good. Rub and press with your thumb. There is no specific rules to follow here. Just move your hands freely and when you find a spot that makes you feel good, spend time on that spot a little bit longer.
Continue to your foot’s arch and heels. Apply the same principle.
Don’t forget to rub the sides of your foot. End with a gentler massage on the top of your foot.
Massage is the study of anatomy in Braille. (Jack Meagher)
Massage your stress away right now
Massage is probably one that is most pleasuring among many positive ways to deal with stress.
It is even cheap if you self massage. Even a little touch as facial massage can give you tremendous relief from stress.
And if you want a more expensive massage from therapist, it’s still a cheaper bargain rather than other alternatives like alcohol and cigarettes if you consider the future consequence.
Do you like massage? Tell us what positive effect it gave you so far? Share your story with us, we’d like to hear from you!