Massage therapy has increased in popularity over the years. However, this has not lessened the misconceptions surrounding massages and massage therapy. Busting the myths and setting the record straight are essential to getting the right type of massage and the best experience.
Here are some of the most common ones.
1. All massages are the same
There are many types of massages and each one has a specific purpose. For instance, spa massages are designed to help people relax.
- Therapeutic whole body massages such as the Swedish massage are designed to make the muscles and joints feel relaxed. It starts with general strokes which transitions to more specific ones while applying oils or lotion.
- Another popular form is the sports massage. Sports massages are not just limited to athletes. This type of massage is also beneficial for dancers and individuals who need to enhance their flexibility, athletic performance, treat or prevent injuries. The quick movements can increase the person’s range of motion, improve blood flow while keeping the muscles and joints in optimal condition.
- There is also the deep tissue massage. This type of massage utilizes slow, deliberate strokes. The aim is to address muscle knots and other problematic areas in the muscles and connective tissues. Other types of massages include the Shiatsu, reflexology, Thai, hot stone, pregnancy and aromatherapy among others.
2. Massages are only designed to soothe sore muscles
While massages do relieve tension, this is not the only benefit. Massage therapies can work side by side with a person’s regular treatment. They can be used to reduce cortisol levels in patients suffering from PTSD. For individuals with HIV, massages have also been known to give the immune system a much-needed boost.
3. Feeling pain means it’s working
Getting a deep tissue massage is often associated with discomfort. This feeling may have driven the misconception that a massage has to feel painful in order to be effective. However, this is not always true.
Deep tissue massages involve applying more pressure to certain parts of the muscle. As such, a session may feel like getting a workout as the muscles are getting stretched and worked on. However, there are other forms of massages. Massages that involve light pressure such the Swedish are not meant to cause any discomfort to the individual.
4. Pregnant women should not get a massage
Expectant women hesitate to get a massage out of fear of miscarrying. Some people erroneously believe that massages would encourage the body to release hormones that would induce labor. This is untrue. Pregnancy or prenatal massages are designed to help pregnant women feel more relaxed. This type of massage lessens the aches and pains in the body. It also reduces stress by reducing the amount of cortisol and similar stress hormones.
5. Only adults can get a massage
Babies, toddlers and older children feel stress just as much as their parents and other adults. Much like in adults, massages can also be beneficial in reducing stress levels in kids. Gentle massages have also been known to improve digestion in babies dealing with constipation. Regular sessions with a specialized massage therapist can also give the immune system a boost.
Older kids, on the other hand, are more physically active. They carry heavy backpacks to and from school and may experience back pain from spending several hours sitting down. By giving kids a massage, you can reduce their anxiety levels and lessen hyperactivity, improve blood circulation and alleviate pain. In asthma sufferers, a few sessions have also been known to clear airways and make breathing easier.
6. Massages cleanse the body
Over the years, numerous investigations have been conducted to see how massages affect the body. Massages offer a number of benefits including boosting immune function and reducing cortisol levels among others. However, these health benefits do not include ridding the body of toxins. Studies have yet to show that a massage can be used as a cleansing method. Massages can improve blood circulation in the body. This can speed up the healing process but it does not have a direct impact on how the body releases toxins.
7. Don’t distract the massage therapist
Deep tissue massages may be uncomfortable but they are not meant to be painful. Pain is an indication that something is wrong. Individuals who feel pain at any time during the massage session should let the massage therapist know right away. Do not be afraid to let the therapist know, if it means interrupting the session. Your therapist will be thankful that you let them know.
8. You need to drink water after a massage
Massages are not medically proven to cleanse the body. In addition, the body does not need any additional help in ridding itself of toxins. However, this should not prevent you from drinking water after a session. If you feel thirsty, feel free to drink a glass or two of water after having a massage.
9. Massages can help you get rid of cellulite
Cellulite is a part of life and is not an indication of any serious health issues. The chances and severity of cellulite on the body is more linked to genes. You are more likely to develop cellulite on various parts of your body if your parents or relatives had it. In some cases, the formation of cellulite occurs because of pain and stiffness in the muscles and joints. A massage can alleviate the pain. This in turn can reduce the cellulite’s prominent appearance on the body. However, massages in themselves have no direct impact on the way the cellulite looks. Neither can they be used to remove them.
These are only some of the more prevalent myths and misconceptions about massages. There are many others. If you have any questions about your massage, feel free to express them to your massage therapist before you schedule for a schedule. Your massage therapist will address your concerns and clear up any misconceptions you may have. If you feel any major discomfort or pain during the session, you should also take this up with your therapist as well. Contrary to popular belief, massages should not feel painful. Any pain you feel is a possible indication or another medical issue.