Having a massage can do you a world of good. And frequent massage is even better. This month, our editor Fernanda Langhammer was introduced to the body massage universe, here are her findings!
When we hear the word massage we immediately think of relaxation and pampering time. However, there are more benefits behind regular massage therapies than we think (that’s what I actually found out). A therapeutic massage can reduce muscle tension, relieve chronic pain, improve circulation and help lymphatic drainage. In general, frequent massages enhance our overall sense of emotional and physical being. Some of the techniques have been used since ancient times to relieve pain and promote healing. They are not a replacement for other types of medical care, but are usually used alongside other methods for the best results.
There has been a wide variety of research proving the advantages of massage therapy for various conditions. Some are well-known such as sports injuries, back pain and post-surgical rehabilitation. However, some treatments are good to fight headaches, depression, asthma, insomnia and tendonitis. If you have any specific illness, consult your doctor and a licensed therapist to see which massage can help your condition. Therapists have a well-developed knowledge of physiology and anatomy and they can combine traditional and modern techniques to fit your needs.
Experts estimate that almost 90 per cent of certain diseases can be trigged by stress. Nervousness, anxiety and agony can have different sources, but end usually with the same symptoms. We age faster, lose interest in life and start feeling pain in different areas of our bodies. Regular massage can help manage stress by decreasing anxiety, enhancing sleep quality, improving concentration and reducing fatigue. We should leave behind the idea of massage just for aesthetic purposes and a reward after a tiring week. A massage can be the connection between your body and soul. Combine it with exercise and healthy diet to transform your physique and improve your mood.
Type of Treatment
There are different types of massage in the market and sometimes it is difficult to pick if you don’t have some orientation. I selected the most common ones, so you can have an idea of what to look for.
Swedish Massage uses long smooth strokes, kneading and circular movements on superficial layers of the muscle using massage lotion or oil. “This therapy works on muscles and improves blood circulation,” says therapist, Joy Sunga, from Al Bander Hotel & Resort. If you’ve never had massage before, this is a good one to try first.
Hot Stone Massage uses heated, smooth stones in certain points of the body to warm and loosen tight muscles. Good for people with specific tensions and for those who prefer lighter pressure.
Shiatsu is a form of Japanese bodywork that uses localised finger pressure in rhythmic sequence in acupuncture meridians. Each point is held for two-to-eight seconds to improve the flow of energy and help the body regain balance.
Thai Massage aligns the energies of the body using gentle pressure in specific points. You don’t just lie there; the therapist moves and stretches you into a sequence of postures. This massage is more energising than others and also reduces stress and improves flexibility.
Reflexology is sometimes called foot massage, but it is more than simple massage. It applies pressure in certain points that correspond to organs and systems in the body.
TRIED AND TESTED
I was raised with the idea that massages are only done for relaxing purposes and for people with free time. How wrong was I? It’s a shame I took so long to find out that actually the benefits of massage go beyond the calming affects, and discovered that, yes, I should add massage time to my ‘to do’ list.
When I was invited by Al Bander Hotel & Resort to try the massages in the health club, I was really excited and of course very curious. I have to confess that I didn’t know what to expect. Actually I thought I was going to just relax (I could definitely benefit from that on press week!). To my surprise, it was much more than just a cool off moment. I was indulged with three massages.
The therapist started with reflexology and it felt like a blessing to my tired feet so used to high heels. The Thai massage, which I didn’t expect would be so intense, showed there were areas of my body that were not awake until then. My lack of regular stretching was obvious. My session was finalised with a relaxing Swedish massage.
I could perhaps have had a fuller experience rather than trying them all in one day, but I felt the Swedish massage was a great complement to the Thai, which makes you feel energised, and left my joints with a welcome soothing final touch. I believe I’m much more conscious of my body after the treatment and aware of the benefits a massage can bring. So, would I recommend it? Oh yes! 100 per cent!
What: Reflexology, Thai and Swedish Massage
Where: Al Bander Hotel & Resort
How to use the health club: To use the facilities of Al Bander Hotel & Resort health club you have to be an in-house guest or a member. You can apply for membership at www.website.albander.com or visit the hotel for more information.
Favourite feature: Despite the soft pain, discovering some parts of my body that I would have never dreamt I had!