“I’m not having some stranger rub my naked body for an hour. That’s just weird!”
This was my response to a work colleague over a decade ago when she was trying to convince me that I needed to start getting massages as it would help “relieve my stress”. I wasn’t stressed. My body felt fine and I was in good shape. I didn’t need a massage. And, I couldn’t imagine anyone touching me that way. But like the old saying goes…you don’t know what you don’t know. I finally succumb.
I booked my first appointment at a local spa near downtown where I worked. I must admit, I was nervous but that quickly faded away. As I arrived, everyone was professional and courteous. Before it began, I filled out some forms including reasons for my visit. They asked lots of health questions and even had me circle areas of a body outline diagram showing where I felt I needed the most work.
They showed me to the room and my RMT (Registered Massage Therapist) came in to review everything with me and the type of massage I was looking for…relaxation, therapeutic, or deep tissue. Relaxation is a lighter touch, therapeutic is deeper, and deep tissue is exactly as it states. Deep tissue can be a bit painful but the next day and even the day after that, you will feel like a million bucks. For my first time though, I chose relaxation and told her to work any other areas harder that she felt needed more work. She left and told me to disrobe and get under the blanket on the table. For your information, you can keep your underwear on as it your choice.
The next hour was like nothing I had ever experienced. I never realized what rough shape my body was in. Between exercise and work, my whole body was on big knot. I also realized, and was told, that I carry most of my stress in my back. When I left this place I literally floated to my car. I felt amazing and I slept so well that night and for weeks to come. I try to schedule one every quarter now and have rotated between all three types of massage types based upon how I am feeling. The more massages I got, the more I began to understand the type of massage my body required. There are also many benefits of receiving massage therapy.
Here are just seven benefits of massage that have affected me and others, postively over the years:
- Sleep more soundly – when your body feels less tense, you just plain sleep better. Take my word on it.
- Relieve exercise soreness – whether you practice regular exercise or not, regular massage will not only relieve soreness but will also aid in speeding up muscle recovery.
- Boost your mood – after a hard day/week, a good massage will lift your spirits and comfort and peace.
- Ease depression and anxiety – speaking as a man who has suffered from depression, I have used massage often to help heal my body and mind. It has allowed me time to ponder, meditate, and even helps me feel better about myself.
- Improve range of motion – as exercising tends to make muscles retract and tighten, massage can help muscles relax and heal faster.
- Improve the condition of your skin – another side benefit that I didn’t expect was how the consistent massaging of my skin, coupled with the use of very good massage oil, helped my skin feel more firm and moisturized. And yes, a guy is saying this.
- Enhance your immune system – massage stimulates lymph flow which is the body’s natural defence system.
To say I’ve been converted to the benefits of massage is an understatement. And when you find a great RMT, never let them go. Some people say that massages can also be expensive, typically $80 – $100/hour. However, if you are working full time, check your benefits because often a certified RMT will be covered under your plan. If you’re not covered, I can promise you that it will be worth every penny.
If you live in Edmonton, Alberta, I would like to highly recommend you visit:
Aurora Yoga & Spa
Suite 200, 11209 Jasper Avenue NW
Jamie McKeag Reber is not only the owner, but an amazing massage therapist, esthetician (with extra courses in chemical peels and skin care), but also a Yoga Teacher. She and her staff are dedicated to the health and wellness of the individual and I believe you will leave there a better than when you came.
So, ask around to find a good RMT and enjoy every minute of your appointment. A regular massage will change your life forever! And, if you’re in Edmonton, go see Jaime and her staff. You will definitely not be disappointed.
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