Giving yourself a massage can feel pretty good, but it’s never the same as going to your favorite massage studio and receiving real bodywork from a licensed therapist. Here are a few reasons why self-massage techniques will never replace the real thing.
4 Reasons Self-Massage Techniques aren’t as Effective as a Real Massage
1. You Anticipate the Sensation
Have you ever tried to tickle yourself? The funny sensation is there, but you don’t burst into laughter the same way you do when someone else tickles you.
That’s because you’re anticipating the feeling. Your brain will automatically predict the act of tickling, which lessens its sensory effect.
Massage is the same way. Since you already know your next movement, your body and brain won’t take the same pleasure as they would if a trained professional were massaging you.
2. You can’t Relax Enough
One of the best things about receiving a massage is that you can totally let go of physical tension and mental stress. Your body relaxes, your mind drifts and the massage therapist does all the work.
When you give yourself a massage, it’s impossible to completely unwind. Your brain has to actively calculate your next movement, and your body has to perform the movement. That means, no matter how hard you try, you won’t truly reach a deep state of relaxation.
3. You Could Hurt Yourself
You will probably be able to stop yourself before you cause any serious damage because you’ll feel too much pain during a self-massage. However, you’re also not an experienced, licensed massage therapist who has been trained in human anatomy and pain management. There is an increased risk that if you bruise yourself or even tweak a muscle the wrong way, it can lead to prolonged pain.
Elements of Rockville Centre recommends using caution if you absolutely must massage yourself.
4. Your Body Reacts Differently
Human touch triggers the release of feel-good chemicals in your brain such as:
- Oxytocin, which gives you that warm, fuzzy feeling you get when you’re with someone you love
- Dopamine, which promotes the feeling you get when you accomplish something
- Serotonin, which regulates mood and sleep, and also gives you a sense of overall well-being
It also balances stress hormones such as cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine.
Because even the most advanced self-massage techniques don’t involve someone else’s touch, you’ll miss out on the above benefits, making the massage much less relaxing.
Can Self-Massage Techniques ever be Useful?
Self-massage is fine for temporarily relieving moderate pain, tightness and discomfort. It’s a natural instinct to rub parts of your body that are sore. Just make sure you use light pressure.
However, Elements of Rockville Centre strongly advises against substituting a few simple self-massage techniques for actual massage or physical therapy. It won’t provide the same lasting therapeutic effects for chronic pain, and the risk of hurting yourself is much higher.
Overall, self-massage isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it can never compare to the benefits of a real massage.
Disclaimer: Elements of Rockville Centre is not an organization of healthcare professionals. All authoritative claims in this blog have been linked to their sources.