There are so many reasons I love being able to be a massage therapist and find it so rewarding to help my clients reach their health and wellness goals. For over the past 15 years I have been able to witness some amazing stories of just how far reaching the benefits of massage and bodywork truly are. Some of the most dramatic results of pain relief, increased range of motion, and dramatic learning experiences for my clients. But over the years there have been some noticeable unintended side effects of massage, reported mostly from my regular massage clients. Even though I have not looked into any research about these side effects, they seem quite prevalent and relevant to the focus work for the different body systems that massage interfaces with. And since I am a strong believer that everything in the body and mind are connected I am not at all surprised to find these anecdotal findings to be common for my regular clients.
- Clearing of acne and better skin texture- Believe it or not this feedback comes back more than just a little, and it’s definitely a plus to your reasons for getting some massage time. One modality of massage that can help to address the internal processing of cellular and metabolic debris is called lymphatic drainage massage. Sometimes when it’s your diet that is causing inflammation and purging of toxins through your skin than lymphatic drainage could help to restore proper drainage through lymph glands and lymph nodes. A large focus area of lymphatic drainage massage is the abdominal area, where lymphatic ports are located. Also, for women who have hormonal breakouts during their PMS or menstrual cycle receiving bodywork and lymphatic drainage seems to help keep the intensity of the skin flaring up at bay. Some clients make sure to get their lymphatic bodywork one week prior to or during the menstrual cycle because they notice how it helps them improve their skin health.
- No more bad breath-Let’s just admit it, we all need a tic tac sometimes. This problem however is not always caused by that huge greek gyro or bag of onion flavored potato chips you just ate. The culprit is usually a build up of bacteria that can flow from the gut back up to the mouth when you burp and side lying during a night’s sleep. Abdominal massage can help to keep a buildup of toxins and bacteria heavy matter from sitting in the gut for long periods. In case you didn’t know, you have 22 feet of intestines that can move waste through your body, and if there is an issue with slow bowels it makes a breeding ground for bacteria filled gas. A regular massage once a week can help to combat the not so sweet smelling build up of gasses that can cause bad breath or foul smelling belches. Utilizing reflexology within a treatment also allows the body to tend to the areas of the gut, liver, tonsils, stomach, and intestines. With all this extra support being given on a consistent basis, my weekly clients can say “Hit the road Halitosis.”
- Increase in sex drive- No one feels sexy when they are stressed, tired and overworked. The more primal drives that have kept our species going for as long as it has existed don’t gel well with the feeling of burn out. Massage, acupressure and reflexology do a wonderful job supporting the restorative cycle of your body, combating the mental and physical reasons for not feeling very amorous. I tell me clients that there is no accupressure point or reflexology area on their feet that makes them feel “in the mood’ but when they experience what it’s like to have their brain go into a parasympathetic state of rest, digest, and repair then they are in a much easier starting point for romance to begin. Over many years I have had clients let me know how after a great massage they were more receptive to sex and were able to increase the connection it brought them with their partner.
- Got to work on time again- This is one that surprised me the first few times I heard it, but it makes so much sense. One amazing aspect of massage is that it can strengthen and train the brain to switch from a stressful mode to a calm and deep relaxation mode. For some clients, who were previously very chatty or distracted during their table time, it becomes easier and easier to get into a restful state. Some clients report this to be true even hours after their massage, they simply fall asleep with very little effort. They can skip the snooze button routine, you know the one that gets you to hit the button five times before you actually get out of bed, because they have success staying relaxed before they get into bed. Easy to bed and easy to rise, and all because they got used to being more and more relaxed on the massage table every week.
- Did not need the panic button-Tending to your mental health is sometimes a big motivation for my clients to book regular appointments. They may be dealing with anxiety issues, panic attacks, PTSD, high exposure to emotional triggers, mental fatigue, or other issues that leave them feeling physically and mentally exhausted. I can create a safe space and experience for them to learn to trust, relax, engage with their mental and emotional daily stress. But what happens when they get off the table and back into their daily world of stress, triggers, problems and annoyances? Well according to these clients, they keep calm, and feel more in control of keeping it all together. This can be due to the implementation of an affirmation, a spritz of their favorite essential oils, a visualization technique or even self massage that I’ve shown them. Whatever the reason, they report to me how much easier it is for them to stay relaxed.
If you have any perks that you have experienced from getting great massages and bodywork, please feel free to share. It’s always so interesting to hear new stories and know the broad range of wonderful benefits and value that massage offers. It goes to show that even if you enjoy bodywork for the components of relaxation, there is always more benefit to discover as it is incorporated into a regular health routine.