The Glory of Massage Therapy

I love massages and for good reason. Most importantly, they feel nice. Human touch is a necessary part of our general well-being. A loving massage from a friend or partner feels nice and is a nice gesture to give.

The world of massage has come a long way from the casual massage. Expert research has shown many benefits directly related to massage therapy. These benefits include

  • Reduced stress
  • Increased circulation
  • Pain alleviation
  • Enhanced immune system function
  • Decreased anxiety and depression
  • Faster recovery for athletes
  • Increased joint flexibility
  • Reduced muscle cramping and spasms

The above list is by no means exhaustive, but you get the general idea. Massage from a qualified massage practitioner can offer a lot, and it is all natural.

I only had experienced a handful of massages before moving to Asia. One common barrier to getting massage therapy is cost. As a young man I did not have a lot of extra cash to throw at massages. I hadn’t directly experienced the benefits of massage either, so I wasn’t motivated to seek this out. This all changed while living in Thailand.

Thai massage is famous throughout the world and has been practiced in the region for centuries. A good Thai massage can be very reasonable in Thailand. I used to pay about $5 plus a dollar or two tip for an hour massage in Thailand. This price point is easy to find although the quality can vary widely. Fortunately at that cheap price you can afford to shop around for the best massage therapist.

I am naturally a fan of massage and had no problem with another person touching me. This was not always the case with my friends and co-workers in Thailand. It kind of shocked me that they would take advantage of such a great and easy thing, but I have found this to be common with many people when it comes to massage.

I have some advice for those of you new to massage in regard to how to find a good massage therapist and what to expect. First I would like to encourage athletes especially to explore the benefits of massage therapy. Olympic, amateur (which I realize are technically amateurs) and professional athletes rely on massage extensively to help their bodies recover faster and work through soreness, injury and fatigue.

Office workers, those that use their bodies a lot at work and people who engage in a great deal of repetitive motion are also great candidates for massage therapy.

If you do not have a great deal of money to spend on massage therapy you can get relatively cheap massages at a massage school. These masseuses there will vary in quality depending on where they are in their training and how many hours they have already put into their practice. If you find a good on though, you can arrange to have them work on you many times while they are learning. After they graduate you may be one of their first consistent customers and they will likely offer you a discount.

Many foreign countries, namely the ones in Asia, are a great place to experiment with massage due to the reasonable price and variety offered. Quality can vary here too. You should not be afraid to speak up about any injuries you have or when the massage therapist is using a bit too much pressure.

A typical massage should not hurt. If the therapist is working out a knot, you will feel some discomfort and pain. This is normal. Otherwise you need to practice good communication with your therapist so they can get to know your body and how you react to the massage.

A good way to get a discount on massages in the west is to buy in bulk. This is a common practice with massage therapists in the west. Again, wherever you end up getting a massage, make sure to communicate to the therapist your needs and wants. Ask the therapist questions as well and experiment with the different styles of massage. A good therapist will likely know several styles of massage so you can experiment with the same person.

As someone who is quite active, I try to get a massage once a month. I do not exercise after getting a massage. I prefer to not be too sore from working out on the day of my massage. I have also found it useful to learn some massage techniques so I can use them on myself and on my girlfriend. Massage is a great activity for lovers!

Good luck with your journey into the wonderful world of massage.