If you’ve ever had a massage, you know how glorious it feels to have your aches and pains rubbed away by a massage therapist. That hauntingly mysterious music softly fills the room and lulls you into a cocoon where your physical and emotional problems just seem to melt away.

Besides the wonderful sensations that whisk your cares away like you’re floating on a cloud, massage has countless physical and emotional benefits you might not even realize.

Here are 10 benefits of massage that you might not be aware of, courtesy of Hector Mota, Holistic Health Practitioner at Touch of Energy in San Diego, California.

  • Increases flexibility and mobility
  • Increases joint range of motion
  • Removes toxins
  • Removes metabolic waste
  • Assists delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the cells
  • Stretches and broadens muscles
  • Relieves muscle spasms, cramps and pain
  • Reduces stress and anxiety associated with respiratory problems
  • Increases T cytotoxic cells, which decrease anxiety and increase relaxation
  • Increases blood flow to the skin, which improves its health and condition

And the person performing all of these wonderful feats isn’t just haphazardly rubbing your shoulders and plastering you with exotic oils. Massage therapists go through stringent anatomical training and testing to understand all of the muscles, bones and nerves of the body and how they are connected as a whole system.

Professional programs can take up to two years of rigorous education supervised by seasoned professionals. After being certified as a massage therapist, many continue on to specialize in one particular technique or even receive advanced certification as a holistic health practitioner.

And it’s not just one style – or ‘technique’ as massage therapists call it ­– that’s right for every physical or emotional need. They also might be integrating several techniques to fit your personal situation or to help you with something you’re going through.

Here are 5 techniques that a massage therapist may be using in your time together:

Circulatory Massage – more commonly called Swedish Massage, this is a therapeutic form of bodywork that addresses the whole body using a series of hand and finger strokes with oil to reduce friction.

Deep Tissue Sculpting – a form of deep tissue massage characterized by firm, constant compressions and strokes applied parallel to the muscle fibers.

Sensory Repatterning – explores the natural rhythm and graceful motion that is inherent in every living being.

Thai Massage – involves deep pressing and stretching techniques that facilitate the smooth and constant flow of bioenergy throughout the body and mind, and has specific effects on the muscles and the structure of the body.

Neuromuscular Therapy – a science of understanding the mechanisms of soft tissue pain and the art of relieving that pain to regain balanced functioning by using trigger points and cross-fiber techniques.

Now that you understand what’s happening to you while a massage therapist performs their magic, book an appointment to cleanse away the holiday stress and start off 2014 feeling fresh and revived.





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