She Kneads: Whatever You’re Going Through, Massage Helps That
Health & Fitness//Lifestyle

She Kneads: Whatever You’re Going Through, Massage Helps That

Did you know that getting a massage could fix a world of problems? It can, and it does. Discover how right here!

Words by Giada Labrecque of She Kneads.

Who am I? My name is Giada, I am a holistic massage therapist, and have been for nearly a decade. What does “holistic” mean? Well, to me, it means I treat the person not just physically, but emotionally, mentally, spiritually and energetically as well. I offer my clients to share all their pains. I want to know not just about their sore shoulders, but also their burdens, responsibilities and sources of tension. This way we can effect some real change.

You would not believe the extremes of people I have treated. From professional athletes to expecting mothers, motor vehicle accident survivors to postoperative patients. I have treated just about every size and shape of person, with just about every ache, pain, stress, strain and personal problem.

Few things surprise me these days, and fewer things leave me stumped. Why? Because I know message helps that!... Whatever “that” is.

Let’s start with the obvious…

Physically, massage works absolute wonders. From your chronic headaches to your aching feet, and everything in between. Massage helps that!

For instance, massage therapy can promote circulation, which is essential to every single organ and function of your body. Having better circulation means everything from optimal oxygenated blood flow, to a healthier complexion, mental clarity, to happier muscles. Your circulatory system affects just about everything, even your hair and nails, so believe me when I say, massage helps that!

What else does massage help with physically?

Your lymphatic system greatly benefits from a massage. Why? Because your lymphatic system, unlike your circulatory system, does not have its own pump and therefore requires a bit more assistance to make its way around the body.

What is the lymphatic system, and why is it important?

Your lymphatic system is a significant part of your immune system. It has hubs, known as “lymph nodes” spread throughout the body in strategic places to catch and dispose of any foreign bacteria and viruses that could put your health at risk. The lymphatic fluid contains white blood cells, which are key players in your immunity. This topic is actually really in-depth and quite interesting, so if you want to know more about it, you can always do your own research.

Ever heard of the Golgi Tendon Organ? If not, don’t worry, most haven’t.

Your Golgi Tendon Organ, or GTO for short, is a big reason why massage helps so much on a physical level. It lives at the “musculo-tendinous junction” of every muscle in your body, and its main job is to monitor the tension of the muscle it inhabits. When you get a massage, especially a deep tissue massage, tension is increased in the muscles when they are pressed into. This causes the GTO to fire up and inform the brain that the muscle has in fact too much tension, which is bad news if sustained long-term. The brain registers this SOS from the GTO, and sends an impulse down the spinal cord to the muscle, to essentially relax it. And this, ladies and gentlemen, is really how massage helps that.

Ok, that’s the muscles. What about digestion?

Yep! Massage helps that too! In fact, there is an abdominal massage technique that is specifically designed to assist and improve digestion. The basics of it are as follows: massage your abdomen with clockwise circular motions. That’s it. Do that and wait a bit, nature will soon make its call.

Okay, but what about mentally and emotionally?

Mentally, mmm, just thinking about how massage can help mentally makes me feel at peace.

In fact, massage therapy has this wonderful nearly intoxicating effect on most people. I call it the “massage high”, or “massage brain”. It is basically a natural high one experiences after a treatment, and it is just so delicious.

As a massage therapist, I have noticed over the years many ways to help or hinder this effect, and I’ll share a bit of them with you here.

To sustain this “massage high”, I would certainly recommend choosing a massage therapist that does not rush you out the door. Personally, I can’t stand being hurried and time pressed after a massage. I think it defeats the purpose, and that all massage therapists should have a healthy buffer between clients so no one feels like they are being hastily pushed back into the real world.

Other ways to maintain this floaty feeling, is to choose a therapist who has a warm and calming presence with a matching treatment space. Dim lighting, ambient music and soothing smells are a great added bonus.

Lastly, achieving this high depends greatly on the final techniques used by the therapist. I find that ending the treatment on the scalp, neck and shoulders is the best for this. So be sure to mention it to your therapist that that is how you’d like to finish your session.

If, however, you don’t want to feel that lofty scrumptiousness after treatment, and would rather be alert and get on with the day, you can always ask your therapist to end the treatment with your feet, helping you ground. You can then turn on the bright lights, do a few full-body stretches and wash your face with cold water. That’ll surely snap you out of it.

Either way, many types of massage are great at mitigating uncomfortable emotions and mental spaces like stress, anxiety, worry, bother, distress, heartbreak, loneliness, grief, anger, depression, depletion, exhaustion, frustration, agitation, overwhelm and sluggishness. Honestly, pretty much whatever you are feeling, if it doesn’t feel great, massage helps that.

How does it help that? I think it’s an energetic thing. I think it is about feeling cared for and nurtured. Getting a good massage from a decent therapist can help you feel listened to, supported, comforted, “held”, accepted, catered to and safe.

Closing thoughts on massage…

Sometimes, getting a massage can be the break that you just so desperately needed. It can be the sanctuary you seek when all you want to do is throw away the phone and hide away for a day. It can be the staycation you can afford, or the sweet treat to celebrate a big win.

A massage can be a ritual part of your self-care routine, or it can be a once and a while splurge to make yourself and your health a priority. It can be a post-event recovery, or a pre-event de-stress. Heck, it can even be a middle-of-the-road pit stop.

While, yes, massage is basically a luxury, it is also a necessity. So few things can do so much for you on so many personal levels. So whatever it is that you're going through, always remember or at least never forget that… massage helps that!

If you enjoyed this article, and would like to know about how massage can help you specifically, or which type of massage therapy you should be seeking, please the link below to schedule a one-on-one consultation. We can discuss what it is you need, the DIY self-care to resolve it, the therapy or therapies you should be looking for, and who in your town or city would be most appropriate to attend to your needs.

This article was originally published as part of Brainz MagazineTo book in for a massage with Giada at She Kneads, please tap here.

All photo courtesy of She Kneads

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