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For many years, massage therapy has been used as a healing and relaxation method, and sometimes even used as an  alternative treatment to healing illnesses such as  frequent headaches, back stiffness,  alcohol withdrawal symptoms, unbearable pain and boosting the immune system to mention but a few. In our society; getting a massage can be presented as a luxury and something we can splurge on every once in a while but studies prove that getting a massage frequently can bring great benefits to our wellbeing. The pressures of life can take a huge toll on our bodies and mental wellness and taking the time to get a frequent massage treatment can help decrease our stress hormones and reset our minds and bodies to help us face another day with confidence. There are over eighty types of massages and below are my favourite five along with their benefits.

  1. Thai Massage: Thai massage uses passive stretching, traction, compression and assisted yoga postures to help reduce inflammation in the body, increase blood flow and oxygen supply to our muscles and decrease anxiety while improving sleep.
  1. Swedish massage: Also known as a classic massage, it deals with a relaxation technique and light stroke that helps promote relaxation, decrease stress and increase blood flow.
  1. Cupping Therapy:  Cupping utilizes a flame which goes inside of a glass cup to create a vacuum on the inside, it is then placed on the skin for suction. It can help with menstrual, hormonal and insomnia issues, fatigue, removes blockages and improves general circulation of the blood throughout the body.
  1. Acupuncture: A centuries old practice originating in China that involves the gentle insertion of thin sterile needles into the skin at various muscle points. Acupuncture stimulates the nervous system and helps to promote physical health and mental wellbeing.
  1. Hot Stone Massage: The hot stone massage involves the placement of heated or cooled off stones to the body for pain relief. The use of applied heat to alter the temperature of the body for healing is a long standing benefit of the hot stone massage. It is deeply detoxifying and relaxing.

In order to learn more about the importance of massage therapy; I reached out to Simone Edkins who is a science based personal trainer and sports therapist whose passion is to assist her clients to live their lives ‘pain free’. Simone’s ultimate goal is to become a Chiropractor and one of her biggest talents is to tailor make each session to suit the individual client’s needs, she adores her daily practice and does not consider her work a job.

Q. What makes a sports massage unique to other massage therapy treatments?

Because sports massage is considered a more painful yet effective massage according to textbooks, it’s not always the first choice for an individual (especially because of fear), however, the healing factors and recovery aids it delivers makes it one of the most effective practices used by a practitioner. From an athlete to someone who sits behind a desk everyday – Sports Massage therapists have techniques that aid any kind of pain complaint or recovery need. If you’re looking for a relaxing massage experience I would not suggest you booking a Sports Massage. However, if you are looking to address a certain ailment or are recovering from an injury or illness, I encourage you to look into Sports Message as it’s medically driven and extremely purposeful.

Q. How would a person know that they need to opt for a sports massage specifically?

The best way to know this is when an injury/pain complaint or ‘niggle’ is RECURRING. A Chiropractor or Physiotherapist will often recommend a sports massage alongside their treatments because muscle mass, soft tissue and fascia can be the cause of a recurring pain complaint. It’s not only for athletes, sports massage is for anyone experiencing pain!

Q. Why should we consider getting massages frequently as opposed to seeing it as a luxury?

I always measure this according to my patients physical demand, scar tissue caused by neglect and their immediate pain relief needs. 

Most jobs require us to be seated for extended periods, so our bodies are having to endure different types of stressors that impact our nervous system and health. So it’s extremely important that we stop viewing health practices that improve our quality of life as a luxury.  I would encourage people to consider a massage as part of their health maintenance – for the body and mind. Some people may need more maintenance than others, but getting that service is important. No matter the person.

Q. How can massages improve our overall quality of life?

Being in pain is one of our biggest hindrances. It can interfere with so many activities that make our lives worth living, such as playing with our children.

Sports Massage/Therapy has proven to relieve pain and also decrease stress (release of the cortisol hormone). Many of my client’s have also expressed that they have noticed their anxiety levels drop.

Q. How often would you suggest people get massage therapy treatments and is lifestyle and age a factor?

This area is where a Sports Therapist needs to be extremely honest. There are so many factors that change the outcome of what we recommend.

For example – A patient with Tech Neck will need weekly massages for only 6 weeks. The therapist then needs to recommend strategies to prevent this syndrome from becoming a recurring problem (such as elevating a computer screen and strength training). Then the patient will only need a massage when they feel a slight amount of pain.

BUT. A professional athlete like a soccer or rugby player needs weekly massages to assist in recovery and prevent potential injuries caused by repetitive training regimes and games.

Lifestyle is a very big factor. Cigarette smoking and excessive alcohol drinking can impact the amount of time one heals from a massage and can also easily cause bruises. I have to take these factors into consideration while I administer treatment. The only age bracket a Sports Therapist is not allowed to massage is infant to toddler. Children from the ages of 12 years (permission from a parent or guardian is needed) and upwards, will benefit from massage.

Q. Would you recommend that people give treatment to themselves, a partner or an elder at home? If yes, what oils would you recommend they use?

Ethically I cannot recommend this action due to the amount of dangers this holds. Allergies to anti-inflammatories and wintergreen are extremely common so I have a very wide range of oils and creams I use to ensure each need is adhered to.

There are also a lot of ailments that people may have that will prevent a massage, therefore I don’t recommend deep tissue massage or sports massage being done by someone who isn’t qualified.

If you have any further questions or concerns you can email Simone Edkins – info@trainon.co.za