Why does the Massage Therapist, Henry, incorporate breathing technique in his massages?
Amita Mirani, Sept 2016
When I first had a massage therapist, Henry, incorporate a few seconds of deep breathing into his massage, I was surprised. I have to admit, during the busy work day, I forget to get deep breaths; Breathing is a very autonomous function for me.
Henry was working my trigger points and I was in pain. I winced, flinched, and actually even held your breath, trying to just bare through it.
At that point, Henry, stills, and eases up, and asks me to breathe deeply and let it out slowly. Suddenly, the pain isn't as intense and I can glide over with only slight discomfort I had before, I was relaxed.
I was then explained to that breathing is an important part of your massage experience. One that will help you to get the best results from your session as it did for me.
Breathing during a massage does a few things for you:
Firstly, it brings oxygen into the bloodstream, with then can be transported to the muscle cells. Oxygen is very important in the healthy working of muscles. When muscles are overworked, they have run out of oxygen. This produces lactic acid and we all know how achy muscles can be when they are full of this lovely little toxin. Taking slow, deep breaths allows the body to replace the oxygen it has lost, and that allows the muscles to produce more energy, and less lactic acid. If the muscles are not straining under the load of too much lactic acid, they will be able to continue to contract and relax as they need to.
Secondly, breathing slows down your heart rate, allowing the client to achieve a deeper state of relaxation. Breathing also is the best way to affect your heart rate. During times of stress and frustration, breathing deeply helps to keep you focused and calm.
Lastly, when you hold your breath, it means you are tensing all those muscles around your ribcage up, making the therapist work over contracted tissue, which is painful. Letting that tissue relax will allow the therapist to work the affected area without having to fight the muscles themselves.
This is what I experienced firsthand, how relaxed my muscles felt even after a deep tissue massage
Controlling your breathing has been a part of many relaxation techniques. If your therapist notices that you are tensing, the first thing they should do is ease up on the pressure, check in with you and your comfort level, and then remind you gently to continue taking slow deep breaths as they address the area. So take a moment to breathe deeply right now.
Your muscles will be thankful and you will be more relaxed!