Do you remember studying myths in high school? Whether Roman, Greek or ancient, myths captured my imagination. The goddess Demeter for instance, was actually a lonely, angry empty-nester. Why not give her control of the seasons? Mighty Poseidon ruled all things wet and wild. He gave the sea consciousness and made it less randomly powerful. Poor Icarus didn’t listen very well. Is it any wonder he flew too close to the sun and met a tragic end? I ate up myths with my smashed peanut butter and jelly sandwich during 5th period.
As much as I love myths though, I recognize they don’t serve me well in real life. They hide potential benefits behind black and white concepts. So it is with three common massage therapy myths:
- Massage Therapy is a luxury.
- Massage Therapy isn’t necessary if you exercise.
- Physical Therapy is the first, best step to recovery after injury.
Massage is a once-a-year “treat”
Picture Cleopatra draped in jewels, being fed grapes and fanned by servants. There’s a good chance that Cleo also has someone massaging her feet, right? That’s not you! You work hard. You’re a responsible person on a budget. Your teenager needs braces. You have to pay the mortgage. You get a massage when you receive a gift certificate.
Or, perhaps you’re somewhere between. You’ll get a massage, but only when your body screams for attention. Scheduling a regular appointment seems indulgent. Well, let me assure you—while sparkling emeralds and feathered fans might be luxuries, massage therapy isn’t in quite the same category. In a 2007 article, CNN Health reported several benefits of massage including:
- Relief from Low back pain
- Boosted immunity from decreased cortisol (our stress hormone)
- Increased alertness after just 15-minutes of massage
- Reduction in PMS symptoms
Many massage therapists have over 1,000 hours of training which includes anatomy, physiology and pathology. Dedicated therapists study new techniques their entire careers. A far cry from pampering a queen, specialized massage therapy can also help with prenatal issues, reduce migraine pain and aid cancer patients as they receive chemotherapy treatment. Ask your therapist which advanced techniques he or she has studied. You might be pleasantly surprised how they can help you with regular treatment.
Next time we’ll look at myth #2 “Get off your bum and you won’t need massage therapy!”