Picture the scene …
You’ve had the longest week at work – another in a long line of long work weeks.
Travelling from one office to another, leading meetings and actively participating in others.
You’ve given presentations to your superiors, managed issues in projects and put out more fires than you can count.
The end of the week arrives and more than a glass of wine, you’re looking forward to your massage.
This standing appointment, that happens every month, is your 90-minute luxury to rest and repair.
As you lie on the table under the warm blanked, gentle music allows you to mellow and relieve the stress of the week.
The scent of lavender fills the air, drawing you into a hushed calm as you feel the warm massage oil make contact with your back.
As the therapist’s hands begin massaging your shoulders, your muscles begin to relax. The pain begins to ease, and you sigh a long, deep sigh.
When was the last time you had a massage?
Not as a treat, but as part of your health regime?
To say the life of an expat in Paris is stressful is an understatement.
It isn’t just talking in a language that isn’t your mother tongue that causes stress.
It’s having to speak in this language both as a professional, when you go shopping, seeing friends or giving someone in the street directions.
You’re constantly switching from different modes. Wondering whether you should eat that baguette or give your waist line a rest. It’s metro-boulot-dodo on go go go all the time.
The pace of the city is fast, and you do everything you can to keep up with it.
Do your job and enjoy the city. Don’t be a tourist but see as many sights as you can. Exhibitions, bars, patisseries and eateries.
Life in this city never stops.
But when do you stop? Do you wait for exhaustion to set in? Or do you make a plan to relieve the stress when it rises so you’re relaxed and ready for another day?
Massage is one way to relieve this stress.
It isn’t just about relieving the stress of the day. It can also help to combat illnesses, recover from sports injuries, help you sleep better, calm down your children, improve digestion … the list goes on.
Massage and human touch is incredibly important. It has been part of growth and development for centuries, and is part of many cultures.
From sports massage for athletes, to massage being a medicinal practice in the far East, massage historically has helped us recover from specific body and health issues.
Making it part of your monthly health rituals while living in Paris (or anywhere) means you take this rich history of the practice and reap all the benefits.
Why does massage therapy work?
Here comes the science bit!
You start to feel sluggish, both in your body and mind, when toxins start building in your muscles. The muscle tissue starts to become dehydrated and deprived of nutrients and this is what causes muscle pain, muscle tension, and that achy feeling.
This is the same whether you have bad posture while sitting or standing, or whether muscle pain is caused by exercise.
When you work with a massage therapist, they manipulate the muscle tissue with their hands to break apart the muscle tissues that are stuck. Sometimes this can be painful when the toxins build up.
Eventually, when you start to feel relief, it’s because the toxins have been released and the muscles are separated again.
When I work with my clients, they sometimes start to cry or tell me they’re feeling very emotional.
Your emotions and chemicals in the body are very closely linked. Just as the muscles are being ‘unblocked’, the same impact can be had on the emotions.
Often when a massage session is over, a client can cry and not understand why. Then, days later, they will send me message telling me they figured out where the emotion came from. It’s enlightening for both them and me!
So it’s safe to say that as an expat living in Paris, massage therapy is central to your overall health and wellness.
Before we move onto the benefits of massage therapy, a little piece of advice:
Drink water before and after your massage
To put it briefly, massage increases circulation and hydrates your muscle tissue.
Whether you receive massage with a light touch or a deep tissue massage, the motion itself makes the blood flow into the muscles that need it. This releases toxins and allows your muscles to relax.
Drinking water before and after your massage therapy session means your body is able to first hydrate the muscles quicker, and secondly it can get rid of the toxins quicker.
Often if you have a massage and get a headache shortly after, it’s because your body isn’t hydrated properly and you don’t have enough water to get rid of toxins, causing the headache.
So – drink water before and after your massage therapy session to receive the maximum benefits. Allow your body to flush out the toxins so you are your most relaxed and stress-free self.
Now that we’ve covered the background to why massage therapy is important and why it works, let’s move onto the benefits of massage therapy to an expat living in Paris.
1. Too much sitting
Hands up if you have an office job or spend the majority of your day sat on a chair.
Sitting puts pressure on your lower back, especially if your posture is not correct.
By massaging muscles, the tension in the lower back is relieved. Often, this can lead to the real root of the problem, which could lie in your bones.
2. Eases anxiety and depression
I talked earlier about how some of my patients become emotional and cry after a massage therapy session. Because toxins in the body and emotions are linked, massage has been known to help people fight anxiety and depression.
3. Reduce Stress
It is estimated that between 80 and 90 percent of disease and illness is stress related.
Massage reminds us to relax, and helps us to that. The massage motion lowers blood pressure and increases blood circulation.
The 1-1 attention, just for you, can feel indulgent.
But taking this time out to clear your head helps your body relax and find ways of combating illness and disease before it starts.
4. If you’re single
This is a hot topic in the City of Lights !
One of the joys of being in a relationship is physical touch. If you find yourself without anyone around to hug, it can add to the feeling of loneliness and depression.
Massage works with your body’s chemicals to help you with the feeling of closeness through physical touch.
5. The physical and medical benefits
In an age where the first thing most people do is run to the médecin for a quick fix, massage offers a free-from-drugs solution to use your body’s own natural ways to heal itself.
Whether it’s because you sit at a desk all day, walk around in heels, or have digestive issues, here is an entire list of surprising benefits of massage therapy:
- Increasing blood circulation, which allows the body to send more oxygen and nutrients to your muscles, keeping you alive!
- The body’s natural defense system relies on the flow of lymph. Massage stimulates the flow of nymph, which increases defense against toxins. In some cases, massage therapy for breast cancer patients has shown an increase in cells fighting the disease.
- If you’ve injured yourself, massage reduces recovery time after tough workouts, or sports
- It’s good for your skin! Fewer toxins means brighter color and fewer (or no!) spots
- The relaxation relieves overused or sore muscles
- If you have muscle spasms or cramping, massage helps with this
- Since flexible muscles don’t pull, massage helps improve flexibility
- Your body has a painkiller it uses to reduce pain – endorphins. Massage release endorphins, which helps reduce muscular pain
- Since it increases blood flow, it can help to reduce scaring on the skin
- If you have lower back pain, releasing muscle tension means you can sit, walk and stand with ease, as well as increase your range of motion
- Some headaches are linked to pain in the back muscles. Massage not only relieves pain in the back, but also headaches linked to it
6. Removes toxins
If you find yourself having frequent headaches, try massage therapy. Some headaches are linked to toxins in the body, while others are linked to muscular pain in the back that leads up the nerves in the neck.
By releasing toxins and tensions in the muscles, headaches can also be cured.
7. Take time out … for you
There are many physical benefits to massage (listed above), but one of the major benefits to an expat in Paris is taking time out, guilt free, just for you.
Image that once a month, you had a full 90 minutes of a full-body massage to help you relax and recover from your busy life? It’s possible! And here’s how
So now you know the benefits of massage therapy, where do you go to get a massage?
At Quintessences Wellbeing Centre on December 11th 2016, you’re invited to an exclusive massage therapy workshop hosted by me, Teresa Savoie.
In this workshop, I will teach you how to give shoulder and back massage to someone else by demonstrating on each student in the class.
This means that as well as learning how to massage, you will receive a shoulder and back massage too!
Seats are reserved to six people only at a discounted rate from 75€ to 40€ only.
Reserve your spot by clicking this link: http://www.elle-soin.com
Teresa Savoie is a deep-tissue massage therapist living and working in Paris (4th Arrondissement). Her specialty is a 90-minute full-body massage (that often lasts much longer) for stressed-out expats looking for stress relief. Find out more here: http://www.elle-soin.com/pricing.html
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