6 Myths about Massage
Its amazing to me when I read the offerings that are out there for a variety of different treatments ho many claims, and exaggerated claims exist about massage and massage therapy. As well, there are some urban myths about do's and dont's. I can tell you there are enough positive benefits to receiving regular bodywork that one needn't exaggerate the benefits. Merely ask any of my regular or repeat clients why they come back again and again. "It feels good" Even if that were the sole benefit, wouldn't that be enough? Who doesn't want too feel good? I know I do. It is a primary motivator for almost everything we do in life. Happiness, mind and body feeling good. What else is there?
I have written about the countless ways in which bodywork can be good, but I am also careful about making any exaggerated claims. They are not necessary.
For example one thing I often hear is that I did hear that it helps flush out toxins and remove lactic acid from the body if you need to recover from a work out.
Research shows that blood lactate levels return to normal ranges within 20-60 minutes regardless of any interventions. Lactic acid is not even a waste product, but rather metabolic fuel for the muscle.
Here are just a few myths that are worth dispelling - but of course if there is evidence to the contrary, I will be happy to correct myself here.
#1. Toxins can be flushed out of the body via Massage:
This is an interesting myth as it’s probably the most popular. The body processes excess waste (by-products of food, drink, air born pollutants etc.) in a variety of ways i.e. sweat, urine, feces, or if you’re ill by vomiting. Your liver, kidneys and skin do a remarkable job of getting rid of these ‘toxins’ on a daily basis. Massage does, however, increase blood supply to various parts of the body and can regenerate a lack-luster circulation as well as stimulating the lymphatic system. This may be what is actually being referred to. Drinking water is a good and pleasant thing to do after a massage, but not in any way a means of flushing out the toxins.
#2. Massage will get rid of cellulite:
If massage therapists could really banish cellulite, we would have a line a mile long and we’d never see a dimpled thigh ever again. However, cellulite is persistent subcutaneous fat and it’s appearance, mainly in women, is determined by hormonal factors, genetics, diet and lifestyle. Eating a healthy, low fat diet, rich in fruits, vegetables and fiber and taking regular exercise is the best option to prevent and reduce the appearance of cellulite.
#3. The sign of a really good massage is that you feel quite sore the day after . WRONG
How many people come to me and talk about their massage pain experiences. Maybe it stems from the "no pain no gain" mentality ? Everyone is different and some people are more sensitive than others but just because you don’t feel sore the next day doesn’t mean you had a bad massage. In fact quite the opposite. Significant pain in soft tissue areas can be an indication that something went wrong, not right.
The sign of a good massage is that you ‘feel better’ than you did before – it may take a while to feel the full benefits but you should experience some of the following:
This one drives me a bit crazy, maybe because my specialty is a very light touch but this goes hand in hand with the above. While there is certainly an express preference for "going deep" by some clients, it is by no means a measure of the quality of a bodywork how "deep" one goes. In fact a properly applied light tough will migrate into the deeper tissues. Everyone falls victim to this myth. Perhaps because pain is measurable it seems one way to quantify the experience? Or perhaps if you have a therapist that is "too light" with their touch, it may have more to do with the fact that you have the wrong therapist. Maybe he or she is just not good.
#5. You shouldn’t get a massage if you have cancer
Massage Therapists and cancer patients have often fallen prey to this myth. Until recently, it was thought that the action of massage could actively spread cancer cells throughout the body. However, cancer cells are caused by the body’s immune system malfunctioning and cells that turn cancerous will do so regardless of massage therapy stimulus. If massage did cause cancer cells to move through the body then the same could be said of any form of exercise. I believe this stems from an over exaggerated sense of the effect that massage can have on the body.
#6. You shouldn’t have a massage if you’re pregnant
Massage Therapy does not induce an early labor and is perfectly safe for both mother and baby during normal pregnancies. It can be extremely beneficial for the Mom-to-be and offer a way to relax and unwind during a physically and mentally tiring time. Massage is also a great way to keep the muscles ready for the big day. Post-natal massage can be equally beneficial too.
Hopefully if you are reading this you are already aware of some of the benefits of routine bodywork. I encourage you to read some of those articles here as well and share this information with friends.
I write about things that I myself need to be mindful of. ways in which I would like to improve. It is not from the perspective of preaching - but rather writing helps me work out what I myself need to do - we are all in this together.