For a nurse, whose job is both physically and psychologically demanding, a periodic massage treatment can be the very thing to restore mental and physical well-being.
The Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals organization thinks massages are so important that it has instituted an EveryBody Deserves a Massage Week, which occurs every July.
There are numerous types of massages available. MassageTherapy.com lists many of them, from abhyanga (oil massage) to Zen shiatsu. But which one is right for you?
Here is a rundown of some of the most popular massages and how they can help relax and invigorate your body and mind.
This type of massage is one people often think of as the luxurious, only-for-those-who-can-afford-it massage. But even on a nurse’s salary, a Swedish massage is worth considering, either after a particularly stressful time or even before one that you anticipate. Its goal is to relax you and make you feel as if you could just sink into the massage table and sleep away the rest of the day. The massage therapist uses a combination of kneading, rolling, vibration, percussion and tapping motions, usually with a relaxing and/or scented oil.
Medical, sports and therapeutic massages
Because of the physical nature of nursing, many nurses have physical problems, such as shoulder injuries or back problems. With a doctor’s approval, a massage therapist will work the muscles, tendons and other body parts that are used over and over in your job, which will stimulate healing, reduce inflammation and help you regain overall better health.
Be warned: These massages aren’t exactly what you would call relaxing. A massage therapist who performs these must be trained and certified in her techniques. The masseuse often will ask for a doctor’s prescription so she can see what the doctor wants done. If the massage is prescribed, there is a good chance that your insurance may cover at least part of the treatment.
Abhyanga massage is an herbal oil massage that can be integrated into your daily routine, ideally in the morning (or evening, if you work nights) before you start your day with a shower or bath. The self-massage increases circulation, tones muscles, calms your nerves, increases mental alertness and helps you sleep better at night.
This type of ritual is calming and a great way to prepare for a day of working with patients and all of their needs.
If you’ve ever had your hair washed at a salon, chances are you’ve experienced the Champissage massage. The motion on the scalp is soothing and invigorating at the same time. Based on head massage, Champissage is an old form of massage from India that includes massage of the shoulders, upper arms and neck, and face and ears. The benefits include relief from eye strain, headaches, insomnia, lethargy and lack of concentration. And honestly, what nurse hasn’t experienced at least one of those problems, if not all?
How to find a good masseuse
Once you’ve decided on the massage that’s right for you, finding a practitioner may involve some detective work. If it’s a sports massage or medical massage you want, ask your doctor or contact your local clinics. Your own facility may even work with massage therapists. Be sure to check credentials so you know the therapist is trained as a professional masseuse.