Massage : luxurious – but much more than a luxury

High Resolution -97Most people can count on one hand how many times they have received a professional massage

People look toward massage only in the case of serious trauma (as in a car accident) or when “everyday” aches and pains become so severe that daily functioning is no longer possible. The only other common use of massage is on vacation or on a special occasion. While these are all valid reasons to get a massage, of course, it doesn’t unlock the true power of this critical form of healthcare.

Massage is truly remarkable

While creating a relaxing experience and therapeutic space, being massaged immediately takes one into a state of healing. Massages, while making someone feel good simultaneously remove the build up and debris of living life from your tissues! Massage works in the body to suppress inflammation and engender mitochondria. Mitochondria increase cell function and cell repair. This means simply that massage makes your body heal and recover faster. It increases your body’s resiliency and ability to respond to the stimuli that are meeting you in your daily life.

Let’s contrast this with the common Ibuprofen popping phenomenon we so often see around us

Ibuprofen also suppresses inflammation – which reduces pain. Ibuprofen does not, however, increase mitochondrial function. Suppression of inflammation without the additional increase in mitochondrial function will only increase the time it takes for the tissues to heal. By contrast, with massage we do not have to compromise healing in order to have relief from pain.

Have you ever had a professional massage?

Are you one of those people that can count how many massages you have had on one hand? You’re not alone. In fact, our entire culture tells us that we should work harder and longer, taking as little time off as possible. If you take that time off – it is seen as a “luxury.” We are all given the message that this is a luxury we cannot afford.

Through media and other forms of communication – verbal and non-verbal – we get a consistent social message:

  • You don’t have time for massage!
  • Massages are only things that people with lots of time on their hands get to enjoy!
  • You work too hard, how can you make time to get a massage if you can’t even make time to cook dinner?

This message shapes how we look at healthcare – and it creates an environment that has real consequences for our bodies.

Have you ever suffered from injuries out of nowhere? One day you wake up and you can’t move your neck? All of a sudden, your back has lost over half of its mobility? The body does its very best to maintain integrity until the bitter end. We think, “Oh I bent down incorrectly, that’s what made my back go out.” The body rightly feels insulted, “Why aren’t you considering the days and days it took for me to get to a place in which I would be compromised by something so innocuous as simply bending over?”

Instead of actually being able to have verbal dialogue, the body sends us signals of tightness, stiffness, and discomfort to try and begin a conversation. Instead of listening, we often push those things out of our awareness and continue on our day. Over time, our lack of listening to our body can result in patterns of chronic inflammation – and the resulting pain.

This is the result of that societal message communicated in so many ways in our day-to-day lives. But we do have a choice to change all of that – to engage in a healthy dialogue with our bodies through regular, preventative care.

Instead of seeing massage as a luxury or acute-care modality perhaps we should start seeing it as an integral part of our healthcare routine

You can get started on this journey at Watershed Wellness – schedule your next massage today!

Written by Amanda Barp


Regardless of whether I’m giving a relaxation massage or a more therapeutic focused massage, I emphasize a non-judgmental, safe environment for all of my clients. I enjoy sharing the knowledge of the body that I have learned in my training and hope that you will find your body and the way it works as fascinating as I do.