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The benefits of giving a massage

Most of us know the benefits of getting a massage, but what are the benefits of giving a massage?

When I was in massage school I began to notice a very interesting phenomenon. What I noticed was that when I finished doing a massage I had more energy than before giving the massage. It wasn’t really apparent at first because I was concentrating so much on trying to remember everything and get it right, but after a few months it became apparent that I was getting as much benefit from the massage as I was giving it.

I spoke with my teachers to express my concern that perhaps I was somehow absorbing energy from my clients. They assured me that this was not the case. Once I realized this blessing of massage, I began to pay more attention to it. What I noticed was that the more massages I was giving, the more I came out of those massages.

What I have come to realize over the years is that giving a massage is something of a meditation. When I work, I am totally focused on that person and particularly that body for at least an hour. Sometimes when I am working, if there is a loud noise or something, it usually wakes me up more than the person at the table due to the level of concentration I put into a massage.

I started asking to see if other masseurs had this same type of experience with massage. What I have found is a resounding yes. That’s exciting. In our massage school we run weekend classes once a month for the general public to learn basic Swedish massage. Over and over again we have students comment that they cannot decide whether they prefer to give or receive the massage.

Here are the findings of a TRI study on this. Elderly Retired Volunteers Giving or Receiving Massages

The retired elderly volunteers were tested after massaging the babies for a month compared to receiving massages themselves. The results were: 1) they reported less anxiety and fewer depressive symptoms and improved mood after massaging the babies; 2) his pulse decreased; 3) their cortisol levels decreased; and 4) reported better self-esteem and lifestyle (eg, fewer doctor visits and more social contacts) after the one-month period. These effects were stronger for massaging infants than for receiving them themselves, suggesting that the massager may benefit from simply massaging.

“Retired elderly volunteers benefit from giving massage therapy to babies”, Journal of Applied Gerontology, (1998), 17, 229-239

So, as you can see, it wasn’t just me! I asked some massage therapist friends about the benefits they felt they received from giving massages. The list looked like this.

1. People are happy to see you

2. I love hearing that people do better thanks to massage

3. I don’t have to sit while I work

4. I feel like I am promoting healthy life choices.

5. Frequent general congratulations on my work

6. Being able to negotiate with other people for massages, haircuts, waxing, working with the computer …..

7. Teach people about the body

8. Be able to offer advice or referrals, ie: certain doctors for MRIs or X-rays

9. One of uninterrupted time, no phone, email, knock, etc.

10. I am going to work to relax.

One therapist mentioned that she was always a little jealous that she wasn’t the one at the table! I guess we are all human after all.

I think this is a pretty impressive list of benefits for any job. The next time you decide to get a massage, perhaps you should ask your therapist what you get out of it. Hopefully your response will be very enthusiastic: TONS!

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