Massage Therapy for Mind, Body, Spirit
By Angela K. Cornett, LMT
While many are familiar with some of the physical benefits of massage therapy, the emotional, mental, and spiritual aspects may not be as obvious. In order to help others to better understand the holistic mind/body/spirit connection, specifically how it relates to massage therapy, those specific components are detailed below.
PHYSICALLY, massage improves circulation, helps with posture, boosts the immune system (through lymphatic stimulation), tones both atrophied and spastic muscles, increases one’s range-of-motion and flexibility, promotes the nervous system, and hydrates the skin. It also lowers blood pressure and reduces muscular/joint pain and tension. ‘Belly work’ can penetrate the abs and obliques to benefit digestion and cramping. It can be beneficial for conditions as varied as fibromyalgia, arthritis, diabetes, and headaches; always check with a doctor before getting massage if there is a condition present for which massage may be contraindicated.
MENTALLY, massage therapy can stimulate intellectual reasoning and creativity (due to increased circulation to the brain), and thereby improve job performance and output. Massage can help the mind to quiet down, and the resultant deeper breathing can benefit the mind/body/spirit connection. Consequently, one may feel more self-aware and ‘centered.’
EMOTIONALLY, clients/patients of massage have reported improved mood, decreased stress, anxiety, and depression. Depending on the type of massage and the strokes utilized, massage therapy can either calm or stimulate; one can feel more relaxed or more invigorated, or a combination of both.
SPIRITUALLY, through relaxing the body/mind/emotions, one may be better able to meditate and/or pray if they so choose. This is similar to how fasting and yoga (while physical in nature), can positively impact the spirit. As we live in a fast-faced, high-tech world (with both its pro’s and con’s), massage therapy can help get us back in touch with our very human and spiritual inner selves.
For babies (especially those born prematurely), massage can help them to survive, thrive, and gain weight. Similarly, therapeutic touch for seniors can decrease loneliness and help with aches and pains. Massage is no longer just a luxury; it can be a regular part of one’s overall health regimen. Hopefully, as health insurance companies begin to consider the benefits (financial and otherwise) of preventative care, they will become more open to covering soft-tissue therapeutic massage; many have already started to cover chiropractic care and to support wellness/fitness programs for members.
Source: www.cleveland.com, Balanced Living Magazine (Jan-Feb 2005)
Angela K. Cornett is a Frankfort, KY native and has been a practicing licensed massage therapist since Apr. 2011. A graduate of the Louisville School of Massage, she has practiced chiropractic massage, pregnancy massage, massage on bodybuilders (and office workers!), and has volunteered her services with an HIV/AIDS organization (a community in particularly need of human touch, due to unfortunate longstanding social stigmas). She has studied the energy work of ‘reiki’, and tends to gravitate towards therapeutic deep-tissue work, mixed with relaxing Swedish massage. She practices out of Fit-Time for Women in Brighton Park, 695-0705.