When we think of massages we think of pampering, but a visit to a massage therapist can be exactly what the doctor ordered. So what exactly is a massage and how can it benefit an entrepreneur who is too busy to breathe, let alone lay on a table for an hour?

According to the Mayo Clinic, a massage is a general term for pressing, rubbing and manipulating your skin, muscles, tendons and ligaments. Massage therapists typically use their hands and fingers for massage, but may also use their forearms, elbows and even feet. We accept and value massages for physical ailments, but we need to move to seeing massages as something that is beneficial for mental ailments as well. It's a mind-body connection that energizes, and allows the receiver to feel cared for. In fact, it is suggested that massages treat a number of psychological issues: depression, attention-deficit hyperactivity, post-traumatic stress, and more.

As the mental health epidemic continues to grow throughout the country, people are turning seeking positive outcomes from total mind and body approaches such as massage therapy.  Through the power of touch, massage has evolved into an additional treatment option for mental health conditions by reducing cortisol and adrenaline, as well as increasing serotonin and dopamine to reduce anxiety depression.

According to this site, researchers from the University of Miami School of Medicine found that the therapy lowered levels of the stress hormone cortisol by up to 53 percent. Industry research such as this continues to point toward massage therapy as an effective approach to positively affecting the body's biochemistry in order to treat mental health ailments such as anxiety and depression, as well as to complement traditional medical treatments.

You should consult with your physician if you are interested in massage therapy because certain physical ailments such as high blood pressure, poor circulation, easy bruising, and a host of other things can make a massage counterproductive. But, if there is a thumbs up to your physical health, it is highly recommended that you consider receiving massages on a regular basis for mental healing. There are many different massages--here, according to About.co, are a few that are most popular:

1. Swedish Massage Therapy

This is the most common type of massage therapy in the United States. Massage therapists use long smooth strokes, kneading, and circular movements on superficial layers of muscle using massage lotion or oil. Swedish massage therapy can be very gentle and relaxing. If you've never had massage before, this is a good one to try first.

2. Aromatherapy Massage

Aromatherapy massage is massage therapy with the addition of one or more scented plant oils called essential oils to address specific needs. The massage therapist can select oils that are relaxing, energizing, stress-reducing, balancing, etc. One of the most common essential oils used in aromatherapy massage is lavender. Aromatherapy massage is particularly suited to stress-related conditions or conditions with an emotional component.

3. Hot Stone Massage

Heated, smooth stones are placed on certain points on the body to warm and loosen tight muscles and balance energy centers in the body. The massage therapist may also hold stones and apply gentle pressure with them. The warmth is comforting. Hot stone massage is good for people who have muscle tension but prefer lighter massage.

4. Shiatsu

Shiatsu is a form of Japanese bodywork that uses localized finger pressure in a rhythmic sequence on acupuncture meridians. Each point is held for two to eight seconds to improve the flow of energy and help the body regain balance. People are normally pleasantly surprised when they try shiatsu for the first time. It is relaxing yet the pressure is firm, and there is usually no soreness afterwards.

5. Thai Massage

Like Shiatsu, Thai massage aligns the energies of the body using gentle pressure on specific points. Thai massage also includes compressions and stretches. You don't just lie there-the therapist moves and stretches you into a sequence of postures. It's like yoga without doing any work. Thai massage is more energizing than other forms of massage. It is also reduces stress and improves flexibility and range of motion.

Published on: May 13, 2015