When you experience a relaxing massage, you can expect a treatment that involves: Long smooth gliding strokes that are rhythmic and flowing. Pressure that is deeply relaxing, but not painful. A treatment that is designed to soothe and relax you, not to relieve chronic pain or other underlying ailments.
A relaxing massage is a gentle Swedish massage that uses smooth, gliding strokes to help you relax. The massage therapist will move at a slower pace and use lighter pressure. In a relaxation massage, there is less emphasis on working out chronic underlying muscle tension — the adhesion’s or “knots” and muscle restrictions in the muscle tissue. That’s because deep tissue work can be uncomfortable, and during a relaxation massage you just want to drift away and feel good.
In a relaxation massage, the therapist won’t push your limits in order to get the muscle to release. You might even fall asleep! It’s a good choice for someone who is getting a massage for the first time, or someone who just wants to bring their stress level down.
Relaxation massage is also good for someone who gets massage monthly depending on your stress level. It’s not realistic to expect that you can get rid of all your knots in one massage. But to drift into a deeply relaxed state in fifty minutes — that’s doable!
The Health Benefits of Relaxation Massage
There are substantial health benefits to a relaxation massage. Gentle massage stimulates sensory nerve endings in the skin, which transmit messages through the nervous system and cause the brain to release endorphin’s. These are the body’s natural painkillers, feel-good chemicals that create a sense of well-being.
Massage further aids relaxation by stimulating the body’s parasympathetic nervous system, sometimes called the “rest and digest system.” Blood pressure decreases, heart rate slows, and digestive activity increases.
How to make your massage more relaxing
There are several things you can do to make any massage more relaxing. Most important, get to your therapist well ahead of your actual appointment.
Love to talk? Think twice about that during a relaxation massage. It keeps you mind active, inhibiting the relaxation response. Instead, focus on your breathing, or on every movement of the therapists’ hand. Sometimes when you pay close attention, it becomes a form of meditation for both you and the therapist, and you get a more mindful treatment.
Afterwards, take time to continue resting instead of jumping up and running off to some activity. It’s especially good to take a nap, which allows the body to continue receiving the benefits of the treatments. As always, drink lots of water after your treatment.
The Benefits of a Relaxing Massage
As with any kind of massage, the benefits of a relaxation massage can last for several days after your treatment. Relaxation massage – like other forms of massage – can offer the following benefits:
- Lowering blood pressure – at least for a while
- Improvements to peripheral circulation
- Improvements to skin tone and appearance
- Improvements to gastrointestinal motility (bowel movements will become more regular)
- Some reduction in muscle tension including the relief of muscle tension headaches
- Improvements to any stress-related symptoms. This can include providing a gentle boost to the immune system if you undergo regular treatments.