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Massage – Just a Pamper or a Health Investment?

So, you're on that beach in Bali or you're on a bonding weekend in a Brighton spa. And there are lots of massages to be had. Obviously, you have one. It's great at the time – though the sand got in the way a bit and she did pull a bit too hard and didn't speak any English, there wasn't any feedback and you didn't feel any different the next day.  This, I would suggest, is the Pamper Massage.  It's for those types of situations – it's an indulgence and a treat, but, there's  been no lasting effects.  It's  like having a really enjoyable dinner in great surroundings, but still feeling hungry the next morning.


The Health Investment Massage, on other hand, is a totally different experience. It may not be viewed as that at the time: it's often booked in desperation – to relieve acute pain, to soothe arthritic aches, to relax tight shoulders and ease restricted neck movements.  After the treatment, it's evident that a real shift has  taken place. The discussion may move on to how to prevent those symptoms from happening again, and how to maintain the progress which has been achieved with follow up advice, exercises or further treatments. Or, it may be that the focus will shift to other health issues which have become apparent during the consultation or treatment and those can  be addressed subsequently.


In summary, the Health Investment Massage  helps you to know your body better, what its messages might be, how you can better manage your conditions and reduce the causes of your symptoms.  It may be that you are advised to seek the expertise of another health professional e.g. your GP, an Osteopath, Physiotherapist, Nutritionist or Podiatrist. 


Let's just look at that word investment more closely. One dictionary definition is 'An act of  devoting time, effort, or energy to a particular undertaking with the expectation of a worthwhile result'. It is often about money, and it's sometimes about time which is invested.  When you book a massage treatment, you are investing both, and hoping – if not expecting – 'a worthwhile result'.  You want some return on your time and money!  While it may initially seem like an extravagance, why is it that so many clients do prioritise it and it becomes part of their own maintenance programme and life- work balance regime?  They must think it worth it. Don't we spend far more in a hairdressers. without questioning those high bills? Yes, hair does grow and appearances are important.  But a massage every 2 or 3 months keep you in touch with all that's going on under the surface and allows you to reflect on any changes.  These can then be addressed and equilibrium regained. And there are a range of massage therapists with specialist skills for specific conditions: for example, arthritis, asthma, fibromyalgia,  infertility, IBS,  pregnancy, scar tissue.


'I didn't know I had so many aches and pains. They are so much better now'

'I've got a much better range of neck movements now you've worked again on my neck scars' 

'You keep me going from month to month' are some of the comments I've received.  It seems to me that these gains and benefits are worth every 

penny spent."


What could be more worthwhile than feeling better, no pain or less pain, reduced symptoms, more energy? (You can arguably then become more productive and earn more money!) 


But there are  people who will simply not consider paying for a treatment.  They have an NHS mentality: first it's the GP, then it's pills, then it's a physiotherapist if they're prepared to wait for weeks. There, during the course of about 4 sessions of 20 minutes each, exercises will be demonstrated rather than applied directly. In desperation, they may well come to me at that point.  They've already suffered for weeks. Yet their cars are new, and the whole family are in profitable employment.  Health spending has not been prioritised.  Health investment has not been made.


I hope that I've persuaded you that massage can be so much more than a pamper: that it can offer you a host of benefits: not just physical but also  provide an understanding, an awareness and information, and an opportunity to self monitor. It allows you to the space to listen to your body, as it's the body which really does know what's in your best interest. And when all this happens, massage has surely become a health investment.


This article was written by Moira Johnson of Hounslow Massage Therapy