Most of us know about the benefits of getting a massage but what are the benefits of giving a massage?
When I was in massage school I started to notice a very interesting phenomenon. What I noticed was that when I finished doing a massage I had more energy than I did before I gave the massage. It wasn’t really evident at first because I was concentrating so hard on trying to remember everything and getting it right, but after a few months it became apparent that I was receiving as much benefit from the massage as I was giving.
I talked with my teachers expressing concern that maybe I was somehow sucking energy from my clients. They assured me that this was not the case. Once I became aware of this blessing of massage I started paying more attention to it. What I noticed was that the more massages I was giving the more I was getting out of those massages myself.
What I have realized over the years is that giving a massage is somewhat like a meditation. When I work I am totally focused on that person and particularly on that body for at least one hour. At times when I am working if there is a loud noise or something it usually startles me more than it does the person on the table because of the level of focus that I put into a massage.
I started asking around to see if other massage therapists had this same kind of experience with massage. What I have found is a resounding yes. That is exciting. At our massage school we teach weekend classes once a month for the general public to learn basic Swedish massage. Again and again we have students commenting that they can’t decide if they would rather give or receive the massage.
Here are the findings from a study from the TRI about this. Elderly Retired Volunteers Providing Versus Receiving Massage
Elderly retired volunteers were assessed after giving Infants massage for a month versus receiving massage themselves. Results were: 1) they reported less anxiety and fewer depressive symptoms and an improved mood after giving infants massage; 2) their pulse decreased; 3) their cortisol levels decreased; and 4) they reported improved self esteem and a better lifestyle (e.g. fewer doctor visits and more social contacts) after the one month period. These effects were stronger for giving infants the massages than receiving massages themselves, suggesting that the massager can benefit from simply giving massages.
“Elderly Retired Volunteers Benefit from Giving Massage Therapy to Infants”, Journal of Applied Gerontology, (1998), 17, 229-239
So as you can see it was not just me! I asked some massage therapist friends about the benefits they felt like they receive from giving massages. The list looked like this.
1. People are happy to see you
2. I love hearing that people are doing better because of massage
3. I don’t have to sit while working
4. I feel I am promoting healthy life choices
5. General frequent compliments on my work
6. Being able to trade with other people for massage, haircut, waxing, computer work…..
7. Teaching people about the body
8. Being able to offer advice or referrals ie: certain doctors for MRI or X rays
9. One of uninterrupted time, no phone, email, knocking etc.
10. I go to work to relax.
One therapist did mention that she always felt a little jealous that it was not her on the table! I guess we are all human after all.
I think this is a pretty impressive list of benefits for any job. Next time you decide to receive a massage maybe you should ask your therapist what he or she getting out of it? Hopefully their answer will be a very enthusiastic- TONS!