If you’re feeling stressed out, or whenever the bustle of everyday life is threatening to overtake you, there’s nothing better than a massage to ease all your tension and worries away.
According to the American Psychological Association, almost every stress symptom – from persistent headache and muscular tension to erratic moods, poor sleep and upset digestion – can be relieved by massage. Massage can also lower your heart rate and blood pressure and encourage the production of ‘feel good’ endorphins, as well as releasing serotonin and dopamine to give you a valuable feeling of calm. In fact, if you want to improve your energy levels and state of mind as well as enjoy whole-body wellbeing, massage is the perfect holistic solution.
The most beneficial massage techniques are:
Swedish massage, which uses a variety of different motions to release tension and break up knots in the muscle tissue.
Head massage, which relieves tension contained within the tiny muscles on the scalp.
Aromatherapy massage, which adds essential oils like geranium, lavender or chamomile to the massage oil or lotion, and is a powerful way to de-stress, and –
Auricular acupressure, an ear massage that encourages the release of endorphins and – thanks to the several hundred pressure points contained beneath the surface of the ear, all of which correspond to a particular location inside the body – can ease tension throughout the entire central nervous system.
But the good news is that although it’s always beneficial to visit a qualified massage therapist from time to time, or even enjoy a therapeutic massage during a restful afternoon at the spa (who doesn’t love that?!), you can immediately reduce tension by giving yourself a massage at home or in the office. Headaches can be eased by applying firm pressure, along with a tiny circular motion, to your temples and then across your forehead and scalp. You can relieve neck and shoulder pain by slowly rotating your head and neck while gently pressing your neck muscles with your thumb knuckle (remember to take all these movements nice and easily – being kind to yourself is key) and you can even relieve lower back tension by placing a tennis ball between your lower back and the wall and then gently rocking your body up and down or to left and right to work out the knots.
If you are lucky enough to have a loved one prepared to give you a massage at home, or if you’re the one doing the treatment, using massage or aromatherapy oils will enhance the benefits. Massage oils recommended by the professionals include sweet almond oil, apricot kernel oil, coconut oil and jojoba oil. Aromatherapy oils to consider are tea tree (which is a natural immune booster), sandalwood (great for relaxation) and rosemary (fantastic for headaches or cramped muscles.) Don’t forget that aromatherapy oils can also be used in many other different ways, including in the bath, as a foot or hand rub or via a diffuser. If you don’t have the time or opportunity for a massage, there’s still plenty of opportunities to stay relaxed!
And while we’re on the subject of sweet smelling substances, don’t forget that burning incense can also help induce calm and improve your mood: patchouli will lift your spirits, amber will help you sleep, and cinnamon, jasmine or rose could even kick-start the romance in your life!