If you’re reading this, you’re probably feeling sore and tired and thinking of getting a massage. Maybe you’re having a bad week and the thought of some me-time and some pampering is just what you need. Maybe you’re not sure if you should get an ayurvedic massage or a foot massage.
The many benefits of massage
Whether you’re feeling ill, tired, or low, a massage is just what the doctor ordered – literally. There are physical and emotional benefits to getting a massage, and they begin almost as soon as you lie down on the table.
The most obvious benefit of massage is that your muscles, joints, and skin will start to feel more supple and relaxed. And that’s the result everyone is looking for when they book a full body massage.
However, the hidden benefits of massage – the ones you don’t see – are the ones that help your body work better from the inside. Circulation, digestion, elimination – all these crucial functions receive a boost when you get a massage.
Most benefits last for a few days after your massage. For long-term benefits, you need to commit to a regular schedule of massages. You’ll notice enhanced immunity, better energy levels, improved sleep and appetite, and faster recovery time from sports or minor illnesses.
A quick guide to the best massage for you
A full body massage can be a quick-fix for general tiredness, or you could choose a specific type of massage to treat a specific complaint. Here’s how to choose the best massage for you:
If you’re feeling muscle soreness from a marathon, trek, or other sports activity: Book a deep tissue massage or a sports massage. A deep tissue massage uses firm pressure to treat overworked or fatigued muscles. It’s perfect for runners, footballers, anyone with an exercise routine that includes weights, or anyone who is feeling sore after heavy physical work. However, if you are very sensitive to touch, this type of massage might feel too intense for you.
If you’re feeling blocked, dull, bloated: Book a lymphatic drainage massage. The lymphatic system helps your body eliminate toxins, but it can slow down sometimes. If you’re falling ill frequently, feeling sluggish or achy, have puffiness around the eyes, or have noticed water retention in your hands, feet or around your waist, a lymphatic drainage massage could help. This is a very light massage, so is suitable for those who do not like a lot of pressure, but it could feel ticklish to those who are very sensitive.
If you’re feeling low on energy and want a quick pick-me-up: A foot massage or reflexology massage is a good way to get a boost of energy. It’s perfect for those with a busy schedule as it can be done in your lunch break, without requiring you to change or be slathered in oils. A reflexology massage stimulates the pressure points in your feet to help eliminate toxins and reduce anxiety and stress.
If you want to take some time to focus on your own wellbeing: Feeling overwhelmed and anxious is a sign that you need to slow down and reconnect with yourself. A long, nurturing ayurvedic massage will encourage focus and peace, relaxation, and higher motivation. Ayurvedic massage therapists will use aromatic oils or lotions, and may offer you a choice of massage aids like boluses or hot pouches.
If you’re feeling tired and achy for no specific reason: With hectic schedules, largely sedentary lifestyles, and higher levels of stress than ever before, stress and anxiety can manifest in lower back pain, a stiff neck and shoulders, or mild headaches. A full body massage gives you some quiet time, away from screens and diversions, and lets you focus on yourself for a short time.
How to find a massage that suits your personal preferences
There are many types of massages – Thai massage, Swedish massage, hot stone massage, ayurvedic massage – all of which have different processes, so you’re sure to find something that suits you.
- Sensitivity: For people with highly sensitive skin, a firm pressure or deep tissue massage may feel painful. A very light massage may feel ticklish. In such cases, it is best to avoid sports massage, lymphatic drainage, and foot massage. You could choose Thai massage, Swedish massage, or ayurvedic massage.
- Clothing requirements: Some people are not comfortable being undressed in front of the massage professional. In this case, you could start with a Thai massage or a foot massage. You might be more comfortable booking a home massage so that you’re in a familiar space.
- Fragrances, oils, lotions: If you do not like strong fragrance, or do not want oils to be applied to your skin, choose a massage that doesn’t involve either. A traditional Thai massage is performed dry, for example. However, many massage centres and spas have scented interiors, and if the smell is likely to give you a headache, you could try booking a home massage, where you’ll have control over the environment.
Using ayurvedic massage to cure ailments
Ayurveda is an alternative medicine that aims at prevention as well as cure. The ayurvedic approach to wellbeing is a holistic system that considers the impact of one’s genetics, lifestyle, physical condition, and emotional condition on overall health. It advises a moderate diet, physical exercise, and regular practice of yoga, massage, detoxification or cleansing, and meditation as the path to fitness and resilience.
Ayurvedic massage in itself offers many varying types of therapies, and has been reported to show significant effect on many complaints. You can choose from short, targeted treatments for specific health benefits (such as nasya or nasyam treatment for allergies or sinus problems), or longer, more general treatments for overall wellbeing (such as panchakarma treatment for detoxing and aiding elimination and digestion).
If you’re considering ayurvedic massage or other types of massage, Avaana.com can help you find a therapist close to you.