How human touch can promote relaxation
Whether you work full time, go to school full time, or maybe even do both, stress is just a part of life.
However, most people may not be aware of one particularly effective stress-reduction tool: massage therapy.
What used to be a luxury found only at spas has now become a common therapeutic tool offered just about everywhere – from gyms to hospitals to shopping malls.
Let’s look at three ways massage therapy can help alleviate stress.
Soothing the pain away
By its very definition, massage therapy is an effective stress-reduction tool. Merriam-Webster defines massage as the act of rubbing or pressing someone’s body in a way that helps promote relaxation or reduce pain in muscles and joints.
Many massage techniques are based on reducing pain and increasing flexibility. This in itself can cause a relaxation response and lower stress.
So whether it is classical massage, soft tissue, deep tissue, hydrotherapy, or any of the other types of massage, relaxation is a likely side effect that can help alleviate stress.
The power of touch
The sense of touch is an important part of any massage. According to the Mayo Clinic, massage can promote feelings of caring and comfort between the massage therapist and the client. This may sometimes leave the client feeling a sense of empowerment at the conclusion of the session.
Of course, some people may feel uncomfortable with touch at first. However, a skilled massage therapist can put the client at ease so he or she may often feel a sense of acceptance in connecting with their massage therapist. When relaxed, clients may feel more comfortable in their massage therapist’s care and relax even further to enjoy the full benefits that massage has to offer.
Settings that promote feelings of calm
Along with the variety of massage techniques and the soothing sense of touch, the massage environment may also play a part in alleviating stress
First, the use of oils and lotions that have a calming effect may provide an aura of ease and peace.
In addition, subdued lighting can create a drowsy sensation like the calm effect many people experience before falling asleep. The use of candles may be especially helpful for this.
Often times, massage therapists use music to set a calming mood. Certain types of music lend to a soothing, almost-meditative state. However, some clients may request a completely quiet room.
In any case, skilled massage therapists are able to adapt their approach and techniques to determine the most soothing and relaxing environment for their clients.