The spa industry may have been hard hit by current global events, yet the American Massage Therapy Association reports that even in 2020, around 42% of female consumers and 40% of male consumers enjoyed a massage at a spa. Top places for treatments also include massage therapy centers, hotels or resorts, and beauty salons. If you have always loved the relaxing and beautifying effect of spa treatments and you’d like to tackle pain (such as lower back pain and headaches) as well, keep the following tips in mind.
Combining Facials and Massage
There are a plethora of anti-aging facials and laser treatments that are in vogue at top spas but on your next visit, ask for a facial or body massage as well as part of a multifaceted strategy to keep pain at bay. A 2010 study by researchers from the University of Granada found that after a short (30-minute) massage, the psychological and physiological state of people with tension headaches enjoyed significant improvements. The researchers stated that the results can be attributed to the fact that massage which involves touching trigger points (including cervical trigger points) can improve the autonomic nervous system and reduce stress and anxiety. Participants who enjoyed a short massage also reported relief from symptoms within 24 hours after their treatment.
Mani-Pedis and Pain Relief
Manicures and pedicures today are a far cry from what they were a couple of decades ago, with products such as gel and acrylic nails making for far more professional, resistant, longer-lasting results that enable beauty lovers to make the most of their precious time. Gel manicures require curing or heating, which significantly reduces drying time. Usually, curing is simple and involves placing one’s hands beneath the warmth of a LED light. Therefore, while you’re at the nail salon, go for a luxe mani-pedi by asking for a hand massage and/or foot reflexology treatment prior to your polish. One small-scale study by researchers at the University of Alberta found that shiatsu (which involves applying pressure to specific points in the body - including the hands) helped people with chronic pain fall and stay asleep. The feet also have specific points that can be pressured to help improve sleep and reduce pain.
Breathing in Pain Relief
If you enjoy soothing treatments, ask your therapist about aromatherapy massage, which involves the use of therapeutic grade essential oils such as lavender, orange, jasmine, and many other oils (depending on the desired effect). A 2016 review and meta-analysis of previous studies by S Lakhan and colleagues found that aromatherapy can be effective in treating pain for a variety of medical conditions. Researchers postulate that the reasons for their positive findings include the relaxing nature of massage and the role that pleasant scents can play in patient satisfaction. They concluded that “aromatherapy can be beneficial in treating pain when combined with standard pain management protocol.” It is also less expensive and has fewer side effects.
If you find beauty treatments relaxing, aim to make the most of them by opting for treatments that can also relieve pain. This will enable you to make the most of your leisure time and reap psychological and physiological benefits. Top choices for pain relief include pressure point massage and aromatherapy, both of which are also deeply relaxing.