Yes, a Relaxation Massage is still therapeutic, and here’s why!
In our bodies we have 2 sets of nervous systems. The first one is called our “Sympathetic Nervous System” or SNS. This is our “fight or flight” system, and is responsible for keeping us moving throughout the day. The second one is called our “Parasympathetic Nervous System” or PNS. This is our “rest and digest” system, and is important for proper digestion and sleep.
Now more than ever, we are seeing an increase in what’s called “Sympathetic Overdrive”, where our bodies are, more or less, unable to relax, thus causing lowered immune function, poor digestion and sleep patterns, lack of concentration/focus, muscle fatigue, and tension related headaches; sound familiar?
We can not directly increase PNS firing, but by adding relaxation into your regular massage treatments, we can help decrease SNS firing, which in turn, allows your PNS to become more active. There are 4 things we look for when determining whether a massage has had an effect on our nervous systems, (1) stomach sounds, as if you are digesting or getting hungry, (2) a cooling down of the body, compared to when we started, (3) thirst, and (4) sleepiness. If you experience any of these symptoms during or after a massage, then we know we’ve achieved some sort of relaxation.
So remember, even if you enjoy light, medium, or deep pressure when you get a massage, there should still be an element of relaxation!
Kristin Annett-Kofsky, RMT