How much do you know about massage therapy? Massage as a health and relaxation technique dates back thousands of years, so most people know a few facts about the practice or have even mastered some basic massage techniques. But are the facts you know actually true, or have you fallen for any of these frequently spread massage misconceptions? Read on to discover a few common myths about massage therapy — and the truth behind the fiction.
Myth: All Massage Therapy Is the Same
When you watch a massage happen, it can look very repetitive to the untrained eye, no matter what type of technique the massage therapist is using. However, this doesn’t mean all massage therapy is the same. There are various kinds of massage therapy, including deep tissue, Swedish, sports, and prenatal massage therapy, just to name a few. If you’re thinking about scheduling a massage, make sure to check out our piece on Swedish vs. deep tissue massage to learn more about the differences and similarities between these techniques.
Myth: Massages Only Target Muscles
A good massage doesn’t merely reduce soreness in your muscles. Getting a massage has many other benefits, too! Receiving regular massages will…
- Increase circulation
- Promote healing for tired muscles and joints
- Reduce or even eliminate tension headaches
- Relieve pain and discomfort caused by nerve problems (such as sciatica)
- Help reduce symptoms of depression, stress, and anxiety
- Improve sleep quality
- Improve posture
- Induce relaxation
Myth: Massages Eliminate Cellulite
In the list of all the massage benefits above, you may have noticed that fat loss wasn’t one of the perks of massage therapy. That’s because getting a massage has no effect on your body’s fat composition. However, massage therapy can be part of a specific weight loss plan when combined with a healthy diet and exercise. For instance, you might rely on massage therapy as a method of reducing painful soreness after a hard workout. Because getting a massage increases blood flow to your muscles, you’ll be able to heal faster and get back to the gym sooner.
Myth: Massages Can Worsen Cancer
One of the most perplexing myths heard by massage therapists is that some people avoid massages for fear of spreading cancer cells throughout their bodies. This myth definitely sounds scary, but thankfully, it’s a total misconception. No evidence has ever been found that massaging tissue releases toxins or cancer cells in this way; in fact, many oncologists actually recommend massage therapy for cancer patients.
Another closely related myth is that the effects of massage therapy can cure cancer. As wonderful as it would be for this to be true, it’s unfortunately false. There is a specific field of massage therapy (oncology massage) that is designed with cancer patients in mind, but it’s designed to target symptoms such as aches and pains. In addition, since getting a massage reduces stress, massage therapy can provide a mental respite from the intense and emotionally fraught process of cancer treatment.
Myth: Pregnant? Skip the Massage
Pregnant women are often in serious pain during their time carrying a child to term. This pain can present itself as neck, back, and leg pain or other difficult symptoms. However, some pregnant women are hesitant to schedule massage therapy because they fear harming their little one before he or she is born.
Here’s some good news for all the moms-to-be out there: when performed by experts, massage therapy during pregnancy can still be safe and effective. Of course, it’s important to check with your doctor before scheduling a massage if you are pregnant or have specific health conditions, but there are many benefits to pregnancy massage, and special techniques are used during the process to protect you and your baby.
Myth: Massages Are Painful
One massage myth that’s persisted for years is that massages are supposed to be painful. Because of this myth, some people worry about disrupting the process of massage therapy by requesting the therapist change or alter a technique they are using. However, if you are in pain, speak up! If the pressure your massage therapist is applying is too uncomfortable, let them know how to make you more comfortable. They’re here to help you, after all.
A massage doesn’t have to be painful the day after you get it, either. Some people use massages as a way to relieve stress and expect a feeling of post-workout soreness the morning after a massage session. But just because you aren’t sore the morning after doesn’t mean your massage didn’t work. The benefits are still there, even if you aren’t “feeling the burn.”
Stop By SV Massage Today!
Now that you know the truth about massage therapy, it’s time to schedule your appointment at SV Massage! Our talented therapists are always happy to help you find what works best for your body’s needs. Give us a call or book a massage online anytime. We’re excited to hear from you!