What Is Massage?
The body can produce an unhealthy buildup of hormones when we’re stuck in traffic or meeting a work deadline. Pent-up levels of the “stress hormone” cortisol can lead to sleeplessness, headaches and even digestive problems. Enter massage therapy. Massage has been shown to decrease cortisol in the body. This allows the body to enter a relaxing rest-and-recovery mode: an effect that lingers long after the massage is over. In fact, massage triggers a host of brain chemistry responses that can result in lasting feelings of relaxation, lowered stress and improved mood.
Beyond Zen's Offerings
Deep Tissue Massage
Deep tissue massage is a type of massage therapy that focuses on realigning deeper layers of muscles and connective tissue. It is especially helpful for chronically tense and contracted areas such as stiff necks, low back tightness, and sore shoulders.
How Does Deep Tissue Massage Work?
When there is chronic muscle tension or injury, there are usually adhesions (bands of painful, rigid tissue) in muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
Adhesions can block circulation and cause pain, limited movement, and inflammation.
Deep tissue massage works by physically breaking down these adhesions to relieve pain and restore normal movement. To do this, the massage therapist often uses direct deep pressure or friction applied across the grain of the muscles.
Relaxation massage is essentially the same as a gentle Swedish massage that uses smooth, gliding strokes. The primary purpose will be to help you relax, and the massage therapist will probably move at a slower pace and use light pressure.
During a relaxation massage there is less emphasis on working out serious adhesions or knots in the muscle tissue and the therapist won’t push your pain limits in order to get the muscle to release. Sometimes people even fall asleep during a relaxation massage.
There are still substantial health benefits to a relaxation massage, including calming the nervous system, promoting a sense of well-being, improving blood circulation and stimulating the body’s lymphatic system, which carries away waste products.
Massage is not recommended for certain people:
infectious skin disease, rash, or open wounds
immediately after surgery
immediately after chemotherapy or radiation, unless recommended by your doctor
people with osteoporosis should consult their doctor before getting a massage
prone to blood clots. There is a risk of blood clots being dislodged. If you have heart disease, check with your doctor before having a massage
massage should not be done directly over bruises, inflamed skin, unhealed wounds, tumors, abdominal hernia, or areas of recent fractures.
don’t eat a heavy meal before the massage
if it’s your first time at the clinic or spa, arrive at least 15 minutes early to complete the necessary forms. Otherwise, arrive 10 minutes early so you can have a few minutes to rest and relax before starting the massage.