How to Get The Most Out Of Your Massages

Proactive Health

 

By Joy Stephenson-Laws, JD, Founder

 

It has been reported that Meghan Markle maintains her beautiful skin by getting facial massages. The Duchess is said to be a fan of the buccal massage, which involves massaging the face as well as having the inside of your mouth rubbed down.

“The buccal facial is a deep tissue massage where we lift and sculpt the face and improve its posture,” said one esthetician.

“It's fitness for the facial muscles, which are very hard to train in any other way. ‪We are restoring the clear edges of the face as well as diminishing pouches under the eyes and sagging skin. We are essentially causing a micro trauma to the skin by the repetition of the movements, enhancing the blood flow to the surface of the skin, and nourishing the cells in order to jumpstart the production of collagen and elastin.”

Also called ‘the facelift facial,” the buccal facial can cost up to $250 per treatment. A more cost effective way to perhaps get some of the supposed benefits of the buccal facial is to implement the use of a jade roller, a handheld massaging tool that you roll across your face, into your regular skincare routine at home. These little rollers are quite the beauty craze right now.

However, not all skincare professionals are convinced that jade rolling your face will boost collagen production.

“Jade rolling may increase some level of lymphatic drainage in the face, which can temporarily reduce swelling,” according to one doctor, referenced in this report.

However, the doctor also says that jade rolling will not “increase collagen stimulation, reduce wrinkles, enhance or increase the penetration of skincare ingredients, or clear acne outbreaks.”

Then there are my favorite - cryoskin facial massages. These facial massages tone and sculpt the face and are said to widen blood vessels and improve blood flow. We reported earlier that “additional benefits of this facial may include increasing oxygen supply, boosting collagen production, reducing the look of wrinkles and pores and improving the skin’s elasticity (which we naturally lose with age). Some celebrities, like Kim Kardashian, have shared their positive experiences with a good cryoskin facial. Whether you like Kim K or not, she does appear to have nice skin! “

And with all of these benefits of facial massages, it got me thinking about the potential benefits of whole body massages.

We’ve blogged about this before, debating whether getting massages should be considered a luxury or necessary part of our proactive healthcare routines. The question is: Can we actually benefit from whole body massages? Do they really work?

Those that are believers, like myself, would say there is evidence which suggests that massage therapy reduces pain, eases stress and may even help people better cope with intense medical treatments such as cancer therapy.

A recent report questioning whether massages really work suggest many uncertainty lies in the fact that it can be difficult to measure the benefits of massage, and it really all depends on the person getting the massage and the reason for the massage.

A member of a massage therapy team referenced in the report, said, "It's specific to what the situation and problem is. It could be massage for a musculoskeletal condition, pain relief, relaxation therapy; the question is, have we fulfilled the client's request for a treatment to address their concerns?"

She then said a successful massage all lies within connecting with four of the body’s major physiological systems:

  • Neuromuscular System. This system includes all the muscles in the body and the nerves serving them. “In this capacity, massage can treat muscles that are either in spasm (too short and tight) or flaccid (too stretched and weak).”
  • System of Connective Tissues (ligaments, tendons, cartilage and scar tissue). If your massage therapist taps into this system, it can help increase range of motion in a joint or “realign disorganized scar tissue.”
  • Circulatory System. The system responsible for the flow of blood, nutrients, hormones, oxygen and other gases to and from cells. According to the report, a massage that taps into the circulatory system can increase blood flow to the tissues and promote healing. This is similar to what the facial massage aims to achieve (increased blood flow to the face).

“Used with caution, massage can also help lymphatic drainage for mastectomy patients and stimulate better breathing for people with limited lung capacity or other respiratory conditions. It also improves circulation of cerebral spinal fluid, which could hold potential for treating concussions.”

  • Autonomic Nervous System. Regulates responses such as heart rate and arousal. Stimulating this system through massage is believed to relieve stress and anxiety.

So  “the physiological experience definitely has a lasting effect. Massages can't solve everything, but they can be very successful when used appropriately."

Use massage appropriately

Other than doing the legwork to find a good therapist:

  • Know what type of massage is appropriate for you. For example, deep tissue massage is only appropriate for treating a specific injury. "(When) you're dealing with a problem, there should never be a deep tissue massage without an assessment first. Otherwise the body may not need it and you may damage the tissue. No one wants to feel like they've been hit by a truck after a treatment."
  • Implement other techniques if necessary. “The massage therapist should assess the patient, get their consent and then develop a plan that could also recommend hydrotherapy and other treatments.” Cold therapy or cryotherapy might also be a good form of therapy for you.
  • Do not get a massage after drinking alcohol. Champagne and spas may seem like the perfect pair, but opt for water instead. Drinking alcohol dehydrates you. “Massage moves fluids in the body,” said one massage therapist, in this report. "If you are dehydrated, that is only going to heighten the feeling of dehydration after." You also might want to avoid a massage after a heavy night of drinking. Getting a massage with a hangover can exacerbate symptoms of your hangover. With a deep tissue massage, booze can also increase the feeling of soreness. Also avoid massages after a heavy meal.

Finally, it is very important to seek the advice of a competent healthcare professional if you are interested in massage but have existing medical issues. You also should seek advice if you are taking any medications or are pregnant.

Do you enjoy massages? Do you consider them a necessary part of your proactive healthcare routine? Please join the conversation.

 

Enjoy your healthy life!

 

The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. This team also includes the members of the pH Medical Advisory Board, which constantly monitors all pH programs, products and services. To learn more about the pH Medical Advisory Board, click here.

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