woman enjoying massage while on vacation
Health and Wellness

The Most Common Massage Myths

Oct 05, 2023

Massage myths pervade the discussion around massage therapy, but what's true and what isn't? Learning about massages helps you understand the benefits of massage and how it can impact your overall health. However, with some of these myths, there's also a little hint of truth. In this article, we'll look at some of the myths around common massage myths to show where they're right and where they're wrong.

Massage Myth 1: "All Massages Are The Same."

Many people mistakenly believe that all types of massage are created equal. This myth couldn't be further from the truth. Massage therapy encompasses various techniques and modalities designed to address specific needs and preferences, like helping to find relief for chronic vs. acute pain, for example. 

For example, Swedish massage focuses on relaxation and stress relief, and deep tissue massage targets muscle tension and chronic pain, making the differences between Swedish and deep tissue massage substantial. 

Sports, Thai, and hot stone massages also offer unique benefits tailored to individual requirements. 

Hot stone massages, for example, involve placing heated stones on the body, promoting deep relaxation and muscle tension relief. Thai massages, on the other hand, blend acupressure and assisted yoga-like stretches, focusing on energy flow and flexibility. Sports massages are highly therapeutic, targeting specific muscle groups to enhance athletic performance and aid in injury recovery. In contrast, Swedish massages are gentler and primarily aim to induce relaxation through long, gliding strokes and kneading, emphasizing overall well-being. 

Getting a massage from a massage chair can also vary in its benefits and purpose, as compared to seeing someone in person.

Knowing which massage you need will help you address your discomfort more effectively and potentially reduce your recovery time.

Massage Myth 2: "Massage Is Focused On Self-Care And Not Necessary For Health."

Contrary to popular belief, massages offer significant health benefits and aren't solely self-indulgent. As owners of massage chairs are well aware, regular massage therapy can enhance circulation, boost the immune system, and promote overall well-being. It's not merely an act of self-care; it's a valuable component of a holistic health regimen. Even though massage might seem like it's just to make the recipient feel relaxed, even relaxing has health benefits. The medical world has highlighted many cases where long-term stress can lead to dangerous health effects, such as high blood pressure, which increases the risk of stroke. Massage can help to minimize this risk by reducing stress.

Massage Myth 3: "Massage Is Unsafe During Pregnancy."

Pregnancy can take a severe toll on a mother’s body and mental state, and this myth stems from concerns about harm to either the mom or the baby. However, massages can be quite beneficial to a mother, helping her to relax during her pregnancy. 

Prenatal massage, for example, addresses the specific needs and discomforts that expectant mothers may experience. It can alleviate back pain, reduce swelling, improve sleep quality, and reduce stress and anxiety. While it may not eliminate all the symptoms of pregnancy, it will make it a little easier for the mother to alleviate some of the discomfort that comes with her pregnancy journey.

Massage Myth 4: "Soreness After A Massage Is A Sign Of A Good Session."

This massage myth is widespread, as most people use their soreness after a session to determine how good it is. 

Soreness primarily results from muscle manipulation and pressure during the massage, so a little soreness is to be expected. The effectiveness of a massage, however, isn’t linked to how sore it leaves you afterward. Even massages that don’t cause a lot of soreness can be beneficial. Many massages (such as deep tissue massage) are vital in managing pain but shouldn’t come with intense soreness. 

Just because your massage doesn’t leave your muscles in pain doesn’t mean that it’s not an effective massage. 

Massage Myth 5: "Massage Is Only for Relaxation."

Another one of the common massage myths we hear is that massages only offer relaxation as a benefit. While massages are indeed profoundly relaxing and stress-reducing, they provide a wide array of therapeutic benefits beyond this. 

Massage techniques can be used to help with issues such as chronic pain, muscle tension, and even sports-related injuries. Some of the more common injuries that massage chairs are applied to include sprains and pain from muscle soreness. Therapeutic massage, in particular, can help to improve circulation, enhance flexibility, and help with conditions such as sciatica or migraines.

In addition to these benefits, massages can also help with managing anxiety and depression. The relaxation that a person gets from a massage benefits their mental state. The benefits of massage go way beyond simply offering a relaxing escape, as these examples demonstrate.

Massage Myth 6: "You Shouldn't Get A Massage If You Have A Medical Condition."

One of the common massage myths that stands out is that medical conditions prevent you from getting a massage. 

If you have a medical condition, you could consult a qualified massage therapist for a solution, but that’s not the only way to get a massage. Modern massage chairs also deliver excellent massages for individuals who may be suffering from a chronic condition. For instance, individuals with chronic pain conditions like arthritis or fibromyalgia often find relief through tailored massage sessions. Moreover, patients recovering from surgery or injury can benefit from rehabilitative massage to speed up the healing process. You must inform your therapist about your medical condition to ensure a safe and effective treatment plan. Consulting with your doctor before engaging in massage is recommended.

Massage Myth 7: "Longer Massages are Better"

Extended massages can be pretty relaxing but are not strictly necessary to gain the benefits of a massage. 

For many, a well-executed 60-minute massage may be as effective as a 90-minute one. The key is the quality of the massage, not just the quantity of time. Skilled therapists can target specific issues and achieve desired results efficiently with having extended sessions. Moreover, overly long sessions can sometimes lead to muscle fatigue and discomfort, counteracting the benefits. Modern technology, such as AI advances in massage chairs, has even made getting short, effective massages easier, making common massage myths like this even further from fact.. Massage length isn't proportional to the benefits the massage offers the recipient.

Massage Myth 8: "Massage Chairs are Less Effective than In-Person Massages"

One of the more pervasive myths around massages is that massage chairs aren’t on the same performance level as in-person massages. So, what’s the deal with a massage chair vs. a human massage? Human massages have been around for a long time and are traditionally how you’d get a massage. However, new technologies in the most recently designed chairs have been giving traditional massage therapists some competition.

High-quality massage chairs offer a variety of techniques, intensities, and programmed routines that can target specific areas of tension and provide relaxation. Massage chairs with AI technology have made programmable massages with preset routines easy to find and use. Heat therapy and massage types like deep tissue, sport, and Thai are also options that modern massage chairs offer to their buyers.

Dispelling Massage Myths Helps Everyone

Whether it's myths about the health benefits of massage or discussions about the best massage chair you can buy, myths can make the decision-making process difficult and prevent someone from finding relief when they need it.

Hopefully, debunking these myths can help you understand the role of massage in a holistic health plan more and give you the confidence to make the right decisions about leveraging massage as an option for pain relief.

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