Massage for men
Reduce stress, prevent injury, boost work performance
Times have changed, but men are often still the main provider for their families and may have high-stress or physically demanding jobs. A sentiment also lingers that men should be tough enough to deal with these demands without complaint.
However, men are bucking those preconceptions and doing more for themselves to stay healthy and avoid burnout. Many are turning to massage to reduce stress levels and enjoy an enhanced feeling of well-being.
What massage can do for men
The Touch Research Institute (TRI) of the Miami University School of Medicine has completed dozens of studies on the benefits of touch. One study showed biweekly massage reduced stress hormones and blood pressure in hypertensive adults. The participants also experienced less depression and hostility.
Repetitive stress injuries are a problem for millions. The most common causes are enthusiastic participation in sports or jobs that require constant repetitive activity such as lifting or carrying, operating machinery, or keyboarding. These repetitive activities can result in muscle imbalances, for example one shoulder being much stronger and tighter than the other — a situation that leaves a person vulnerable to injury when these muscle groups are stressed.
For both on-the-job and athletic injuries, massage can reduce pain and help tissues heal by reducing swelling, and increasing healing blood flow to the area. It can also relieve contracted muscles to help rebalance chronically overworked muscle groups and improve range of motion, making it easier to handle the demands of work or sport.
Both table and chair massage offer a respite from stress and a boost to circulation, leaving body and mind relaxed and refreshed. Back on the job, a clear and balanced mind can produce better and faster work.
vChronically tense muscles can dull the awareness of pain and give the sense of being strong enough to “take it.” But constant tension also blocks the flow of energy in the body and can restrict muscle function, which can lead to pain or even injury. Tense muscles can actually be a warning that your body — and perhaps your lifestyle — needs attention. Massage is one of the best ways to relieve tension, prevent pain and tune into the state of your body and mind.
Doctor prescribes stress breaks for executives
Dr. Pamela Peeke, a professor of medicine at the University of Maryland, treats a number of Fortune 500 executives. Speaking of her clients’ need to reduce stress, she said, “It’s mental aerobics. Top athletes do stuff like this for their bodies; the highest execs need to do it for their minds.”
Her prescription to prevent the consequences of stress? Breaks every hour for stretches and deep breathing. Short naps during the day (every day). And a 10-day vacation three times a year (no excuses).
Whether or not you’re an executive, you may be a decision-maker, responsible for people or operations. Taking time to relax regularly can keep you in top condition for the ongoing demands of your work.