Remedial Massage vs. Relaxation Massage: What’s the Difference?
When was the last time you’ve had a message? If you can’t remember, book one today! This treatment method has been around for over 3,000 years, offering a myriad of benefits. A growing body of research supports its effectiveness in treating and preventing chronic illnesses. It’s not just a way to relax, but also a natural pain killer and immune booster.
Regular massage sessions can help ease chronic pain, relieve arthritis symptoms, and assist healing from injuries. This form of treatment has been also found effective in the treatment of depression, anxiety, and stress-related disorders. The key is to choose a massage style that best suits your needs.
Not all types of massage are created equal. Each has different uses and yields different results. Let’s see the two most popular massage styles and their health benefits!
What Is Relaxation Massage Good for?
Massage is often associated with stress relief. Even though most massage styles promote relaxation, some are specially designed for this purpose. As its name suggests, relaxation massage calms the mind and body.
Also known as Swedish massage, this form of therapy keeps stress at bay. It involves a systematic, specific manipulation of the muscles and soft tissues, which promotes general well-being. In the long run, it improves circulation, stimulates lymph flow, and boosts mental health.
Relaxation massage is a perfect way to unwind after a long day. It’s ideal for those struggling with acute or chronic stress, anxiety, and daily worries.
The long, flowing strokes help relieve tension and promote relaxation while increasing the release of feel-good hormones in the brain. A good massage raises dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin levels, which in turn, lifts your mood and counteracts the harmful effects of stress.
Is Relaxation Massage Really Necessary?
Contrary to popular belief, this massage style isn’t just a fad. Its health benefits are backed up by science. Stress can take a toll on your mind and body, leading to chronic illnesses, fatigue, poor mental focus, and mental ailments. A little stress is unlikely to cause any harm. Chronic or prolonged stress, on the other hand, can damage your health. Its side effects include:
• High blood pressure
• Digestive distress
• Weakened immune function
• Rapid breathing
• Migraines and headaches
• Sleep disorders
• Fatigue and tiredness
• Erectile dysfunction
• Irregular periods or amenorrhea
• Muscle pain and tension
• Low libido
• Weight gain
• Increased appetite and sugar cravings
• Hormonal imbalances
Over time, chronic stress can increase your risk of diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer. It has been also linked to hormonal disorders and thyroid dysfunction.
For instance, testosterone levels drop when you’re stressed for long periods of time. Cortisol, the stress hormone, affects testosterone production, which in turn, impacts body composition, metabolism, and behavior. You may have a hard time losing weight, crave sugary or fatty foods, and feel low on energy. The higher your cortisol levels, the less testosterone your body will produce.
Too much stress can also affect brain function and mental health. This lifestyle factor can trigger or exacerbate depression, anxiety, personality changes, and behavioral problems.
The hormones released when you’re stressed reduce the functioning of neurons in the frontal lobes and hippocampus, which affects your ability to think clearly and make decisions. You’ll also find it difficult to learn new things and process information.
Anger, irritability, risky behaviors, and feelings of guilt are common side effects of stress. Moreover, researchers have linked this factor to a higher risk of dementia and schizophrenia. Stress also appears to be the culprit behind inflammatory disorders, respiratory ailments, and cardiovascular problems.
Considering these facts, it makes perfect sense to limit stress in your life. Regular massage can help. It’s a safe, natural way to keep stress under control and prevent further problems.
What Is Remedial Massage?
Relaxation massage isn’t your only option. Certain types of massage target specific problems affecting the muscles and soft tissues. Remedial massage, for instance, is widely used in treating chronic pain, injuries, and musculoskeletal disorders.
During a typical session, the therapist will focus on body areas that hurt or don’t function optimally. The end goal is to restore their functioning and improve your health.
Let’s say you’re struggling with lower back pain. Relaxation massage can help, but it’s not as effective as remedial massage. Therapists who provide remedial massage have the skills and experience needed to identify the underlying causes of pain and recommend an appropriate treatment. They will use a variety of strokes and techniques to stretch and strengthen your muscular, correct postural imbalances, and ease pain.
Depending on your needs, remedial massage therapists may prescribe acupressure, joint mobilization, myofascial release, heat therapy, and other treatment options. They can also recommend lifestyle changes. This form of therapy causes positive changes in the soft tissues and improves your body’s own healing systems. It’s commonly used for a variety of issues, such as:
• Sports injuries
• Carpal tunnel syndrome
• Gastrointestinal symptoms
• Tennis elbow
• Muscle strains and sprains
• Clinical depression
• High blood pressure
• Prenatal care
• Respiratory disorders
• Multiple sclerosis
• Knee osteoarthritis
• Shoulder arthritis
• Myofascial pain
• Low back pain
This massage style also helps improve blood flow and rids your body of metabolic waste. At the same time, it increases the nutrient supply to your muscles and tissues, leading to better health. Studies indicate that remedial massage can boost brainpower and cognition. It’s also an effective way to relieve PMS, headaches, and sleep disorders.
Now that you know the difference between relaxation and remedial massage, choose one that’s best for you. Contact a remedial massage therapist to assess your options and make an informed decision. Massage will change your life for the better. It has both immediate and long-term benefits, and can improve your health on every level.
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