Why massage is more than just a treat

As a professional dancer, I swore by massage as effective pre-emptive treatment for muscular tension, which, if left unchecked, could result in serious injury. Regular massage helped me tune into my body, notice tension and incorporate different stretches in to my dance practice to keep it at bay. This in turn strengthened my body and helped me dance at my best.

Making time to check in with your body and recognise where it’s holding tension is something I can wholeheartedly recommend to everyone. We all hold tension in different places and stiffness can creep up on us. If you ignore a problem area, it might take several sessions to resolve when you eventually seek treatment. However, if you have regular massage, recovery times will be shorter and tension may not even arise in areas where it might have before.

Massage relieves muscular tension, stimulates blood flow, accelerates muscle recovery, reduces pain, creates physical relaxation and improves tone, posture and ease of movement. Using techniques such as deep and soft-tissue, neuromuscular release, deep pressure, joint manipulation, lymphatic drainage and Swedish, I tailor treatments around your specific needs. Years of dance training and performance have also given me a great repertoire of stretches and lengthening exercises, which can really help extend the benefits of a massage after the session.

During my travels in Asia, I noticed that massage is often viewed there as essential body maintenance, rather than as a pampering treat. I feel that it’s time that we in the West started to see it in the same way – as important to our health and wellbeing as a balanced diet and regular exercise.

By Darren Anderson – Holistic Massage Therapist at Shine, Newington Green