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Health: Get A Massage, It’s Beneficial

Body Massage

Frequent travellers will tell you that massage is virtually an integral part of life in many climes. As you wait to connect international flights at airports, you see various fliers informing you of available massage services that will not only relieve tensed muscles but will also make the remainder of your journey a pleasure.

Again, in the hotels, the aroma from luxury spas are unmistakable; and patronising one while your stay lasts can leave an indelible memory on you long after you may have returned home.

That is not to say massage services are lacking locally. Not at all. In fact, in major cities of the country, beauty routines are sometimes deemed incomplete until you cap it with head-to-toe massage that wows.

Massage types

There are various types of massages that you can get, and they range from Swedish massage to deep massage, sports massage and trigger-point massage. The pressing, rubbing and manipulation of the skin, muscles, tendons and ligaments provide the client with different experiences, but the ultimate is that they are all beneficial to health.

But then, what does massage do to your body? Experts say generally, massage relaxes and energises, while other types of massages are targeted at treating injuries or strengthening the muscles.

A masseur, Ms. Sharon Akintunde, says though many people consider a massage a pampering treat, the hard truth is that it is more therapeutic.

She notes, “Massage improves a person’s physical performance, aids recovery in case of injuries of illness, relieves the throbbing from overstressed muscles, prevents and eliminates injuries, reduces stress and even enhances metabolism and circulation.”

All-comer affair

Akintunde stresses that people of all age groups can benefit from massage, especially when performed by those trained to do it.

“The process works wonders on both the young and the old. In fact, I’d say that elderly people who are experiencing the physical effects of ageing such as thinner and drier skin, reduced tissue elasticity, loss of mobility, slower nervous system response, decreased bone mass, sleeplessness, constipation, and a less efficient immune system can reasonably reverse these trends by submitting themselves to regular massage,” she advises.

She adds that massage can improve your ability to fall asleep without much ado, make digestion stress-free and generally improve the mood.

Improved circulation

A physician, Dr. Lucy Okpalaeke, says the build-up of plaque on the insides of the blood vessels and capillaries can lead to poor circulation; and it can occur in men, women and even children. She warns that if it is neglected, it can lead to a lifetime of discomfort and serious health problems such as heart problems, hypertension, organ damage, strokes, varicose veins, kidney issues, and other blood-restriction difficulties that may develop thereby.

Experts say the blood circulation system is the main method of getting needed nutrients to the cells of the body. “If bloodflow in an area is poor, then the cells will find it very difficult to get all the food nutrients and energy they need to enable the body to operate optimally,” they warn.

However, getting regular massage — in addition to imbibing healthy dietary habits — can take care of the problem of poor circulation Okpalaeke says.

She enthuses that massage improves circulation by assisting the flow of blood from the limbs back to the heart, while it also increases the flow of fresh blood, which carries nutrients and oxygen to organs and muscles.

She stresses that massage is capable of increasing blood and lymph circulation. According to her, the lymph is a fluid that rids the body tissues of waste; and to effectively discharge its duty of fighting infection and strengthening our immunity, the lymph depends on the squeezing effects of the muscles.

She explains, “An active person has better lymph flow than an inactive person. However, stimulation from vigorous activity can lead to increased waste, which can negate the benefit. This is where massage has a huge advantage.

“Massage can dramatically aid lymph movement, which, together with blood, supplies nutrients and oxygen and rids the body of wastes and toxins. Improved circulation allows the body to pump more oxygen and nutrients into tissues and vital organs. It is, therefore, easy to understand why good circulation is so important to our health and why massage can be so beneficial just for this purpose,” she says.

Some symptoms of poor circulation include cold feet and toes (even when the weather is warm), cold hands and fingers, numbness in certain parts of the body, tiredness or lack of energy much of the time, hair loss because of bad blood flow, regular dizzy spells, dry skin though you drink plenty water, swelling and water retention (especially in the feet), blotches and blemishes in the skin, etc.

Relief from stress

Researchers say stress is your body’s way of responding to a physical or emotional demand. Everyone experiences increased stress levels at one time or another. In fact, the body’s ability to react to stressful situations and deal with threats is critical to our survival. However, when one is under long-term stress caused by ongoing situations such as work or family problems, financial concerns, etc. the body will be in a constant heightened state — a state which has harmful effects on many bodily systems, including the immune system, cardiovascular system, endocrine system, reproductive system, etc.

Okpalaeke adds that massage sometimes serves as antidote to stress and that it is a powerful way to relax. “Massage reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol; it releases endorphins that calm the peripheral nervous system, resulting in lifted spirits and often lower blood pressure.”

So, if you’ve never done so before, get a massage, and make it a regular affair!

Risks of massage

Most people can benefit from massage. However, physicians at say massage may not be appropriate if you have:

  • Bleeding disorders or take blood-thinning medication

  • Burns, open or healing wounds

  • Deep vein thrombosis

  • Fractures

  • Severe osteoporosis

  • Severe thrombocytopenia

Discuss the pros and cons of massage with your doctor, especially if you are pregnant or have cancer or unexplained pain.

Source: Punch

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