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To Massage Or Not: Musings With Expert Khushboo Vakharia

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Massages have come a long way. What began as me-time-with-granny in our childhood days with its nourishing, healing and strengthening properties; has now progressed to being a weight loss remedy, having medicinal benefits treating major illnesses or even a luxurious indulgence. In the name of ‘Spa Days’ and ‘Spa Retreats’, the beauty industry has found its way to pamper our soul and its pocket. Sure, it releases our stress for the moment. But how legitimate are massages, have you ever wondered? Spa owner and Director of Rewa Escape – Spa By The Bay, Khushboo Vakharia, unravels the science behind massages. Scroll to get schooled.

Do massages really help?

Khushboo Vakharia: "Massages are a great way of not only getting relief from aches and pains but also improving the body’s innate healing ability. A massage improves blood circulation. As blood carries nutrients, oxygen and other positive life forces, this enhances the flow of positive energy within the body. Massages also lead to improved joint mobility through assisted stretches and movement of body parts and drain the lymphatic system hence eliminating toxins from the body. The oils or creams used during the massage nourish and tone the skin providing it with increased elasticity and hydration."

Can pregnant women have massages?

KV: "You can have a massage if you are pregnant provided your physician gives you the green signal. You should visit a therapist trained in pre-natal massage techniques. The body suffers aches and pains during pregnancy and massages can provide the mother-to-be much needed relief. However, certain things should be kept in mind. Don’t use any aroma or essential oils since they may stimulate uterine contractions. Request the therapist to only use base oils or carry your own vitamin E rich oil such as sweet almond or jojoba. These will keep your skin supple and stretch-mark free. While getting a foot massage avoid getting the region between your heel and ankle massaged as it contains the points that can trigger labor. Also, avoid full body massages after the second trimester. If you want one, ensure that the therapist is trained in pre-natal therapy. Don’t lie on your back and use a pillow to support you while you face the wall."

Can we have a massage while we’re on our period?

KV: "It’s safe to have a massage during your period if you follow some basic precautions. You don’t need to inform your therapist but you may choose to let her know so that she may focus less on the abdominal region. If you are not comfortable then you can wait till your third day before going to the spa since a massage may lead to a heavier flow."
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Is there a massage for hair growth?

KV: "A good scalp massage can stimulate hair growth. Massages increase blood circulation. A scalp or hair massage improves the circulation of blood in the scalp and provides hair follicles with more oxygen, minerals and nutrients to improve their health and spur hair growth. It strengthens the roots, thus decreasing hair fall and breakage. It also helps against dandruff and dull, dry hair."

Are there any slimming massages?

KV: "Massage therapy alone doesn’t lead to weight loss. It aids the body in losing weight by improving the metabolic rate and burning calories during certain massages. However, massages at best can simply complement a balanced diet and regular fitness regimen."
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Is there a massage for migraines?

KV: "Massages can cause pain relief for people suffering from migraines. It can be through gentle massaging of the skull bones and scalp, trigger points on the body, reflexology or deep tissue massage. Usually migraine patients use massage as one component of their pain relief plan along with medication and lifestyle changes."

How does reflexology differ from massage?

KV: "Reflexology is an ancient Chinese practice based on the premise that all vital organs have corresponding reflex points on the soles of our feet. By stimulating these points, therapists can stimulate different organs of the body and alleviate pain and discomfort associated with specific ailments. It involves pressing specific points on the foot with thumbs or with the help of reflexology sticks (blunt wooden sticks). Reflexology can be practiced in a medical treatment (be sure to go to an experienced and trained therapist for this) or in a simplified massage that boosts overall well-being of the body by stimulating the vital organs. A massage is generally performed using longer, fluid hand movement with the help of oils to ease bodily pain, improve circulation and relieve muscle tension. It can be performed on any part of the body whereas reflexology is performed only on the reflex points in the feet, hands and near the ears. While reflexology is performed to achieve balance in the internal and external body systems, massage generally leads to muscle relaxation and improved circulation."
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