Body Sense

Autumn | 2014

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} When we think of massage, most of us think of quiet music, a darkened room, and extreme relaxation. That said, relaxation is not required to enjoy a great massage. We know relaxation is good for the body. But some massage is about treating pain or dysfunction, and the technique may require lots of feedback from you as the therapist works. For example, in Active Isolated Stretching, a technique useful for relieving pain and treating many types of injuries, the client and therapist work together to target specifi c muscles and coordinate breathing with stretches. The client is actively involved in movement and stretching, and, without that collaboration, the technique would not be effective. In Ashiatsu treatments, the therapist uses his or her feet and body weight (and bars attached to the ceiling) to provide very deep pressure. It's important for the client to provide feedback about depth and sensation, so that the massage is both effective and safe. There are plenty of benefi ts of massage that don't require you to sink into a meditative state. Massage can be useful in reducing the thickness of scars and improving the elasticity of skin around them. Just 15 minutes of hand massage once a week may decrease pain and increase grip strength in people with arthritis or carpal tunnel syndrome. And massage is a great tool to increase range of motion, By Allissa Haines To R elax or not to Relax? That is the question! Get the Best Massage For You reduce spasms and cramping, and release endorphins—the body's natural painkillers. Even if you're not addressing a specifi c condition or injury, perhaps your massage is a middle-of-the-day break and you don't want to go back to work groggy. It's perfectly OK to get a massage and not treat it like an ultimate relaxation session. DETERMINE YOUR GOALS Everyone seeks massage for different reasons. What are yours? Discussing your goals will help your therapist create the right massage for you. Perhaps that nagging hamstring is slowing down your softball game. The types of massage and stretching appropriate for this treatment may not be conducive to relaxation. In fact, a massage-induced catnap could make it harder for the therapist to isolate the offending muscle and treat it effi ciently. For many people, their massage appointment is the only time they can shut their phone off and truly disconnect from the world. In this situation, relaxation is appropriate. It's also possible that the type of massage you want will combine just the right amount of communication and still allow you to rest. For example, the complexities of prenatal massage demand great communication to ensure positioning is comfortable and stays that way through the massage. Likewise for oncology massage, when frequent communication will ensure the client is at ease and feeling well during the session. 4 Body Sense By Allissa Haines }

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