I just returned from a massage therapy session with the beautiful Caroline. We had a little chat beforehand, and then I was able to listen to soothing music while completely falling into relaxation mode for a full hour. And as a mom, business owner, employee, student and human living in today’s crazy world, I realized I really need to treat myself to this more often than once or twice per year. My last massage with Caroline dated back to March of 2021, and who knows when beforehand.
I’ll say this, if you have never gone for a massage, you are missing out! And if you only go once a year, it’s important to increase the frequency of times you are going per year! There are so many benefits to massage therapy, so I’ll go through some of them below. Also, there are numerous types of massages, ie: deep tissue, lymphatic, Swedish, acupressure, etc., that you’ll want to discuss the options with your massage therapist to find what is right for you.
First and foremost, what is massage therapy? Massage therapy is defined this way: “Massage therapy consists primarily of hands-on manipulation of the soft tissues of the body, specifically, the muscles, connective tissue, tendons, ligaments and joints for the purpose of optimizing health”.
According to the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario, “Massage therapy treatment has a therapeutic effect on the body and optimizes health and well-being by acting on the muscular, nervous and circulatory systems. Physical function can be developed, maintained and improved; and physical dysfunction and pain and the effects of stress can be relieved or prevented through the use of Massage Therapy.”
Some of the many benefits from massage therapy include: relaxation, lowering high blood pressure, helping with lower back pain, helpful in relieving arthritis and joint pain, helps decrease symptoms of depression and anxiety, can be helpful with diabetes and hormone regulation, reducing cortisol levels as well as helps to raise immunity. There are definitely a lot more benefits to massage therapy that I haven’t named here in this list as it would take too long to name them all.
I want to focus on cortisol in the rest of this article. Cortisol is your main stress hormone and acts like an alarm clock in the body. We need cortisol at healthy levels to keep us going steady, but too much can be problematic. It works with your brain to produce and control feelings regarding your moods, your motivations and your fears. Your adrenal glands, who sit right atop your kidneys produce cortisol. Generally we like for cortisol levels to be higher in the morning and to gradually decrease as the day goes on so that by night time we have reached our lowest levels of cortisol allowing us to sleep peacefully. Unfortunately this is not the case for everyone, which causes wake/sleep cycle disruptions. Symptoms of too much cortisol include the following: anxiety, depression, headaches, heart issues, memory and concentration issues, problems sleeping, problems digesting properly and weight gain being very problematic for some people. If you are dealing with any of these issues, you’ll definitely want to look at reducing cortisol levels to get to the root cause of your issues. Massage therapy will definitely offer you some advantages.
To finalize, I’d say, pick up the phone, contact your massage therapist and make that appointment. If you don’t have one, ask a friend. If you live on Montreal’s South Shore, contact Caroline Boucher at firstname.lastname@example.org, she is outstanding, friendly and so kind. Once you’ve had your massage, make sure to drink a lot of water during the day following your session!