This is probably more of a rant than a blog, but I feel it is important to explain the physiological effects on what really happens during a Massage. You will feel comfortable and relaxed, or your should if performed correctly, but the body does not truly relax by definition.
What do I mean by this? When an individual receives a massage there are a multitude of actions that are taking place all at the same time. Massage is actually passive exercise, and that is a primary reason you need someone that is truly educated on the workings of your anatomy. The body actually goes into a shut down mode because of fatigue, and therefore the person is tired from the activity and that is the sensation being experienced.
Lets walk through the process of this activity. After a brief interview, especially if you are a first timer with that therapist, you will go over any issues you may have at that time. As you are laying there the therapist will start with a body part and perform what is called passive touch. This touch will activate the body's awareness system or propriocpetion. When this system is activated the body shifts into its fight or flight protection until it becomes aware and comfortable with what is taking place. This will cause an increase in heart rate and breathing and your nervous system becomes hyper-irritable. The therapist will engage the skin, connective tissue and eventually the muscle that lies underneath.
What this means is that you are passively exercising by definition. To exercise is to move with a purpose and reason. During your massage session all internal systems of the body are working. So for approximately one hour all systems are go and by the end of the hour, if not sooner, your body is fatigued which gives the sensation of relaxation.
Why do I tell you all of this? Recently there have been many different people saying that they can perform "relaxation" massage. I am a member of the Massage Therapy Advisory Committee to the State of Ohio Medical Board who governs Massage Therapy in the State. In the last 15 years there has been great discussion as to what Relaxation Massage is and the need to define it. The major problem is the political agenda of many of the legislators. Now with the topic of human trafficking so prevalent and many of the under educated performing "Relaxation" Massage the subject has received more attention. Together with the Ohio Council of Massage Therapy Schools and the MTAC, the Medical Board is in the process of developing a true definition of what "Relaxation Massage" is.
The medical board requires 750 hours of study prior to being licensed in the State, there are some who are performing massage with only 8 hours of education. I presented the above information to help many knowing the importance of understanding the internal workings of the human body and the many contraindications of receiving this approach to wellness. It is definitely not a luxury to be taken lightly. Deep pressure over varicose veins could be deadly, because it increases heart rate, someone with high blood pressure needs to be treated differently. What about someone with kidney problems or is pregnant? These are all topics that are covered in massage therapy school and the student is tested on this information.
So I ask you to be very careful of who you receive your "Relaxation" massage from and ask to see their education background and in the State of Ohio they should be licensed by the Medical Board. If you have questions or any concerns please feel free to contact myself or the other licensed therapists at our office; Jennifer, Krista and Leah.
Always know there is - a Reason to HOPE!