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Health, The massage, Wellness

Emotional benefits of massage

When we read about what massage is good for, the majority of focus is placed on physical benefits. This is easy to study and research scientifically, as it can be weighted and measured. There is another aspect to massage which is rarely mentioned. The emotional benefits. How massage affects our feelings, our mood and emotional well-being.

Shama from ThaiHealingMassage wrote an article about The Benefits Of Massage And Our Feelings where he brings up the Western tendency to only focus on the physical aspect of massage. As a massage practitioner working in France I can directly relate to his article. As we are not allowed (legally) to treat injuries or do treatments, our focus automatically changes towards the more emotional aspect.

Emotions have a huge impact on our lives and can influence our physical well-being. Just think about how nervousness can give stomach-ache, how happiness makes us energetic, how a bad mood makes pain intolerable, how stress makes our muscles tense up and ache. We have all experienced how our feelings can influence how we feel physically.

Stress is probably the emotion most of us experience which has the largest impact on our health. Numerous scientific studies have mapped the connection between stress and our physical well-being. I have in the past written several articles about stress. Other studies show a connection between our mental health and our physical health. And over and over again placebo effect is shown to be real.

Every time I give a massage, I see the connection between emotional and physical well-being. People come in feeling tired and stressed, their mood is a bit low and the discomfort they experience from muscular tensions affect them. When they get off the table, they are smiling and feeling great. Releasing the physical tensions helps them release some of the emotional tensions as well.

I have first hand seen how powerful a massage can be. One client even started crying after a massage, releasing a lot of pent up emotions that she as a new mother hadn’t been allowed to express.

What I see is clients build confidence and emotional strength over a series of massages, enabling them to face their challenges and deal better deal with life. I see clients gain insights into themselves and the massages be indirect reasons for them to change their lives and embark upon new paths and adventures. I see clients overcome nerves and stress and pass a difficult test or exam.

I have also first hand experienced how powerful a massage can be on my own body. How due to the massage, hidden and pent up emotions were released, I healed old wounds and sores, and emerged stronger and more balanced. All this enabling me to better deal with the challenges of life.

It is important not to ignore the emotional aspect of massages. Not only because of the emotional influence to our physical health, but also for the improved life quality massage provides, on all levels. Touch is essential to our well-being, not only physically, but also emotionally. The importance of touch for our physical and mental health cannot be underestimated.

Please listen to yourself, not only your physical being but also your emotional being. Both need to be taken care of and healed for you to live in balance with yourself. Consider a massage next time you face challenging times and your emotions are unbalanced. You will literally feel the difference.

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About Pia Poulsen

Pia Poulsen is educated as a wellness massage therapist at Institut FIGARI in Paris, from where she passed her certification exam in January 2008. Since then she has expanded her skills to become the first Advanced LaStone® practitioner in France as well as a certified LaStone® instructor.

Discussion

3 Responses to “Emotional benefits of massage”

  1. I started out getting massages because I was exercising a lot. Now, I would say that I get massages to decompress.

    When I'm stressed out, I have intense (but not necessarily painful) sensations or hot-like spots that feel uncomfortable and sometimes feel like a tug, believe it or not.

    When the intensity hits the side of my neck and extends to my shoulder, I know it's time to do something and a massage usually leaves me peaceful and cheerful.

    Posted by 'Drea | 21 April 2011, 2:23
  2. Dear 'Drea,

    Thank you for sharing your experiences. Yet another example of how stress also influence our physical well-being and how massage can help dealing with stress.

    Cheers,
    Pia

    Posted by Pia | 21 April 2011, 7:50
  3. Thanks for mentioning my article! I am glad to see that we are seeing eye to eye and enjoyed reading about your experiences.

    Posted by Shama Kern | 15 July 2011, 20:28

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