After months of procrastinating I finally got around to using a massage voucher I had been given as a present. A massage I hoped would relieve stress and restore me to the frazzle free state of my younger self.
I had been saving the massage until I felt I really deserved it— guilt seems to appear at the most inconvenient times!
The day didn’t start well and it took about 10 minutes to find a car park. I arrived on time but gasping. The spa was lovely— soothing Thai decor, aromatherapy oils and carefully subdued lighting. And the massage, although painful really ground out the tension in my shoulders and back. On occasion my brain even drifted away from its constant exhausting cycle of analysis.
When it was over the masseur suggested I relax in the relaxation room with a soothing herbal tea. It sounded incredibly pleasant yet I knew the meter was ticking. Within seconds I was dressed and out the door, arriving back at my car two parked cars ahead of the traffic warden. As I drove away I couldn’t help wondering if all the goodness of the massage had been lost in my concern about getting a ticket and dash back to the car.
Was it worth it?
Massage is an increasingly popular method of stress relief, as it releases endorphins to calm the nervous system. According to the American Massage Therapy Association® (AMTA®) other benefits of massage range from alleviating low back pain, osteoarthritis of the knee and post operative pain to reducing cancer related fatigue, and boosting the body’s immune system functioning.
And, according to research published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, even a single Swedish massage therapy session “produces measurable biologic effects”, which may have implications for enhancing immunity.
I can only hope my immune system has improved. What is clear is that being pampered for half an hour feels wonderful. The night after the massage I slept incredibly deeply and my shoulders have felt less tight since. So, is a one-off massage worth it? Absolutely.