I. What Is Relaxation Therapy?
Relaxation therapy is a therapeutic relaxation massage method that helps you calm both your mind and body to help you to fully relax. As you relax, your breath becomes slower and deeper and your thoughts will flow more smoothly. Your muscles release tension as they relax. The parasympathetic branch of your autonomic nervous system, which is responsible for “rest-and-digest” activities that occur when the body is at rest, can take over. The parasympathetic nervous system promotes digestion and the synthesis of glycogen (a substance that helps your body store glucose) and facilitates normal function and behavior.
Relaxation massage therapy is a service that will improve your mood and help you get rid of anxiety. It uses a combination of massage techniques that allow you to achieve the ultimate relaxation. To get the most benefit from these massage techniques, you should work with a good relaxation massage therapist. Your therapist will show you the most effective techniques and together you can identify which ones work best for you to develop a customized therapy regimen for your unique needs. By getting regular relaxation massage therapy, you will be able to more effectively manage pain and stress. Your overall outlook will be brighter because you will feel better.
Relaxation massage therapy helps you relax unlike anything else. Some services combine massage therapy with mindful meditation and soothing music to bring both your mind and body into a harmonious, relaxed state.
In a relaxation massage therapy session, your therapist will apply massage oil to your skin. Your muscles will be loosened by the therapist hands as they slide across your skin in long strokes of the palm or fingertips. Gradually, the massage therapist may begin to knead your muscles for deeper and more focused pressure. The therapist may use a rhythmically tap your muscles with the side of the hand to help stimulate your muscles and blood flow. Your therapist may also use heat friction techniques or vibrations to loosen tight areas. By the end of the one-hour session, you should feel incredibly relaxed and stress-free.
II. Benefits from Relaxation Therapy
You may be surprised to learn about the health benefits that relaxation massage therapy offers. Even the Mayo Clinic recognizes that many people can benefit from regular relaxation therapy. The benefits include:
- Lowering your blood pressure
- Improving your digestion
- Maintaining normal blood sugar levels
- Reducing activity of stress hormones
- Increasing blood flow to major muscles
- Reducing muscle tension and chronic pain
- Improving concentration and overall mood
- Improving sleep quality
- Reducing anger and frustration
In between your schedule massage sessions, you can do a few simple relaxation techniques on your own. They include:
- Palms on Eyes: Rub your palms together quickly for about 20 seconds. When they are warmed up, cover your closed eyelids with them as if you are hiding your eyes from the world. Enjoy the sensations of your warm palms on your eyes and the few moments of peace.
- Deep Breathing: Close your eyes. Inhale slowly through your nose for the count of four. Inhale the breath into your stomach. Hold your breath for a count of four. Then exhale slowly for a count of four. Repeat this five times.
- Progressive Muscle Relaxation: Lie down on your back and close your eyes. Focus your mind on your feet. Begin contracting the muscles in your feet and move your thoughts slowly up your body, contracting the muscles as you go. When you get to the top of your head, all of the muscles in your body will be tense and contracted. Hold for about five seconds, then breathe out and release all of the at once. Repeat that process two more times.
- Yoga: Yoga may at first be intimidating and challenging. Those who stick with it soon find it to be one of the most relaxing activities they have found. To get started, find a good yoga class and participate regularly. Many yoga instructors include meditation and various breathing techniques in their classes.
- Visualization: Sit or lie down comfortably and close your eyes. Imagine your favorite vacation spot. Maybe it’s the beach. Picture yourself on the beach. Try to recall to mind what the sounds of the waves and the birds, the salt smell, and the feeling of the sand and water on your feet.
- Meditation: Meditation takes practice but it is an effective way to learn to control your thinking and re-program yourself to dispel anxiety and negative thoughts. If you are just starting, guided meditation with an instructor is the best way to go. You will start by learning how to focus on your breath, thinking of the feelings of your body as you inhale and then as you exhale. You will release random thoughts as soon as they come into your mind. In time, you will learn to block those thoughts as you concentrate only on your breath for longer periods of time.
III. Is Relaxation Therapy Right for You?
Yes. Everyone can benefit from relaxation therapy. If you have any specific issues that are bothering you such as pain or intense anxiety, be sure to discuss those with the therapist before you start your session. The therapist may be able to specially treat the issue and help alleviate your pain.
Relaxation massage therapy is a completely natural way to release pent up stress hormones in your body, feel better, and revitalize your day.