Chair Massage: Using Pain to Release the Pain

You might have seen them at conventions and special events: people sneaking off into quiet corners for a quick chair massage. Leaning in at a forward angle, they undergo mini 15-minute massage sessions. These relaxation areas are usually fringed with onlookers who may be skeptical about how effective the massage is compared to lying on a traditional table.

chair massageBeing808 went poolside at the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel to speak to Linda Enos, a massage therapist and aesthetician with Abhasa Spa. Enos said one convenience of chair massage is that it can be done through clothing. The chair itself is portable, making it easy for therapists to come to their clients. The angle of the chair allows the therapist to focus on the head, neck, shoulders, back, arms and hands.

Some other benefits:

–          Reduces of muscle tension
–          Increases circulation
–          Calms the nervous system

Clients can choose the amount of pressure used and the area of focus. Enos suggests low pressure for those with high blood pressure to prevent disturbing circulation. One of the light pressure styles is called Reiki, where the heat and energy from the therapist’s hand is believed to release tension. Others can decide based on their pain threshold, using pressure point methods such as Shiatsu. Enos says it’s important to remember that “you need pain to release the pain.”

Even if a chair massage isn’t an option, there are massages you can do unassisted. One method is to do a shoulder massage by draping a towel over the shoulder and pressing against a corner. While driving, you can massage your neck and shoulders, addressing areas of need. For those on their feet all day, Enos suggests sitting down and rubbing different areas of the foot. “Do what feels good,” she says.

The pain-releasing process causes the body to release toxins and other cellular waste. After a massage, Enos says the only ways to cleanse are to drink lots of water or to take a dip in the ocean for a detox.

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