The last time I had a massage was a full 19 years ago.
NINETEEN. YEARS. AGO.
I really wish I were kidding.
I remember the date vividly because it was a gift from a friend prior to my wedding. It was awkward and uncomfortable and I snuck off the first available moment I could.
It was the exact opposite of relaxing.
Since that time I’ve had babies, gone through numerous life changes, and carried more than a few stressful jobs and volunteer positions.
If anyone needed time for another massage, it was me.
Sadly, I never took it. Because my memories of the experience were not fond.
So when I was offered the opportunity to experience Signature Massage from Michelle Matlick of Seven Embers Healing, I was a tad anxious. Because frankly, I’m not a huge fan of people touching me, let alone massaging my entire body. I’m also not particularly comfortable with the thought of baring it all to a total stranger.
But she came highly recommended from a friend and it was a cool opportunity.
As it turns out, I needn’t have worried. In fact, it was one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had in a long, long, long time.
Michelle was the perfect massage therapist for me. She was calming and knowledgeable, polite and patient. She took the time to get to know me and my lifestyle as well as the activities that I regularly engaged in. She made me very comfortable in my uncomfortable situation.
(Read: balancing my over-the-top modesty with the ability to get a good massage experience.)
I worried for nothing!
My massage lasted 75 minutes (Yes. OMG!) and was a mixture of massage techniques tailored specifically to my needs. Honestly, at first I doubted her because she is a petite thing, who I was convinced would not win the battle against my years of over-the-top-stress. O contrare. She took on that massage challenge and won!
The table was heated (so relaxing) and that, coupled with the calming music and scented oil, lulled me into a wonderful meditative state. I felt like an entirely new person almost immediately.
It was glorious.
And mind-altering. I mean, even my running benefitted!
It made me realize that I had been denying myself the benefits of regular massage for all of those years because I was thinking of the time invested as a ‘treat’ as opposed to a part of my regular wellness routine.
Never. Again. In fact, the more I research working this into my life, the more benefits I find.
The Many Benefits Of Regular Massage Therapy
The notion that massage is ‘just an indulgence’ is, quite frankly, antiquated. Just as we take our cars in for regular tune-ups, we too need maintenance. Want some data to support the claim? There are reportedly over 1,000 studies and published reports that offer scientific evidence on the health effects of massage therapy including:
- slowing of heart and breathing rates
- decrease in stress hormone production
- lowering of blood pressure
- relaxation of muscles
- reduction of cortisol
- increases in serotonin levels
- increased circulation of the blood and lymph system
- improvement in sleep quality and the ability to fall asleep
Massage is not just an occasional “treat” or way to gain stress relief. It can reduce many of the other unpleasant emotions in your life as well like depression, anxiety, and anger.
Taking time to treat yourself to a massage can be a restorative, healing experience.
Disclosure: Seven Embers Healing gave me a gift certificate to try the Signature Massage; all thoughts are my own!
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