Life can come at you fast, and at times, unexpectedly.
You have the day-to-day hustle and bustle of adulting — going to work, running to the DMV on your lunch break and then to the store to pick out a card for your friend’s upcoming birthday. And, as you’re making dinner after work, you realize you’re in need of an onion — back to the grocery store it is. On top of the intricacies of everyday living, you have emotional events such as losing a pet or a loved one, sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic, or falling and breaking a leg. Resilience is demanded from us every single day, and sometimes we need to pause, take a moment and indulge in self-care.
At Escapes Massage Therapy in San Antonio, we help you carve out time and guide you towards self-care through massage. When you need a reprieve, an escape, from the fast-paced and stressful world we live in, you can rely on us to provide you with highly-trained massage therapists, hours that fit with your schedule, and unmatchable prices. Unwind and melt into self-care with us.
The Duty of Self-Care Through Massage
The narrative of self-care’s past is that it’s selfish, overly indulgent, and exclusive — but the narrative of self-care is being rewritten and it’s no longer selfish or exclusive, and everyone can practice it. The idea of self-care is no longer a calling, but a duty, to show up in this world — whole — and physically and mentally ready to practice resilience in what the days, weeks, and months throw at us.
Self-care may seem vague, wishy-washy, and even unnatural, but distilled, it’s putting energy in to yourself before releasing it. You can practice self-care with any thing that gives you life, and massage is one of many ways to revitalize and practice self-care. Be kind to yourself and gain the ability to be more productive, resist illness, know yourself better, and have more to give.
The Physical and Emotional Benefits of Massage
Massage not only feels divine, but its benefits span both physical and emotional health components.
Physical benefits of massage
Whether you suffer from acute or chronic inflammation, massage can be beneficial. If you’re often left sore after your daily run or gym sweat session, massage has been shown effective in decreasing inflammation as a result of the overuse of muscles and is extremely helpful for pain and stiffness. The science behind it all is that massage helps pluripotent stem cells — master cells that can synthesize any tissue your body requires for repair — and send them to areas in need.
If you’re reaching for the ibuprofen to soothe body aches and pains, massage is a wonderful alternative because it addresses your perception of pain by decreasing cortisol and increasing serotonin levels — the natural painkiller your body produces. While on serotonin, a decline in this neurotransmitter is linked to sleep disturbances and insomnia, and since massage helps boost these levels, it can help you get a more restful night of sleep.
Massage is also great for supporting and enhancing the immune system. The manual manipulation of tissues helps circulate the lymph and increase white blood cells, the cells that are one of the first defenses against viruses and bacteria.
If you find yourself in a midday slump or are in need of a brain boost, massage can help put a little pep in your step. Even after just 15 minutes in a chair massage, brain waves are altered and you become more alert.
Back, neck, and shoulder pain is some of the most commonly reported types of pain and they often lead to chronic headaches and migraines. Massage is very beneficial in reducing headache and stimulating the vagus nerve, typically associated with headaches.
Emotional benefits of massage
Massage not only combats physical issues, but it is brilliant for emotional health and well-being.
Stress is something we can relate to and have all experienced, and one of the best ways to unwind and melt away stress is with massage. Stress is not always a harmful or bad thing; after all, there are situations where we need the fight-or-flight response. Massage works to decrease your sympathetic state — the state that alerts your nervous system to react to stressful situations — and with a series of strokes, helps put it back into a parasympathetic state. It’s when the response is chronic and there is no relief from it where stress becomes quite harmful. Not only has massage been shown to lower your heart rate and blood pressure, it can induce a sense of calm and relaxation that can make it easier to cope and overcome stress.
The American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) has also researched depression and the role massage can play. While depression manifests differently in every person it’s often accompanied with fatigue, loss of interest, and hopelessness. Depression is exhausting, both mentally and financially, and can increase the effects of other health issues such as diabetes, asthma, and arthritis. It’s a tough cycle to manage and the CDC recommends complementary care to help deal with this multifaceted mental issue. Massage has been shown to improve mood and reduce the effects of depression such as pain and fatigue.
The Types of Massage at Escapes Massage Therapy
At Escapes Massage Therapy, we offer a wide assortment of massage and facial services including:
Swedish massage – This type of massage incorporates a set of sliding and kneading movements that produce friction and vibrations. It also includes passive and active joint movements, and lymphatic drainage.
Deep tissue massage – This type of massage does differ from Swedish massage in that is aims in stretching the fascia — a thin, connective tissue that provides supports to muscles, nerves, bones, and organs. Massage therapists use their fingers, fists, thumbs, forearms, and elbows to help stimulate the fascia.
Hot stone massage – Behind a hot stone massage is the use of heated stones into a massage and allowing them to reach a deeper layer of muscle. The hot stones also stimulate vasodilation to improve blood flow in the body.
Reflexology – Reflexology is a type of massage centered around the feet. Each part of the foot corresponds to a different system or organ in the body, and when pressure is applied to specific areas, one might find relief and healing.
Aromatherapy massage – Incorporating aromatherapy (essential oils) into a traditional Swedish massage is a great way to further aid in healing. For example, adding St.John’s Wort and lavender supports muscle recovery.
Prenatal massage – Prenatal massage is a traditional massage; however, the massage therapist has an accommodating table for a pregnant belly and other features to make it more comfortable.
Facials – We offer facials and facial massage, which can improve your skin’s tone and texture while decreasing inflammation, redness, and puffiness.
Self-care is important to your overall wellness and positively contributes to how you show up and practice resilience in the face of everyday stress, and massage benefits both the physical and emotional manifestations of stress. At Escapes Massage Therapy, we offer a myriad of massages from deep tissue to facial to help you escape and unwind.