Getting a good massage isn’t just about relaxing your body and soothing your muscles; a highly skilled massage therapist will use the time when you’re on their table to study your skin’s surface and pressure points in your body. What they learn about your body can improve your circulation, your sleep, and your digestion, and may even save your life!
1. That You Might Have Skin Cancer
A massage therapist will massage areas of your body that you cannot easily reach or see even in a full-length mirror, and can check your skin for irregular spots and suspicious moles. They may see something suspicious on your skin under your buttocks or inside your thighs that you might overlook when checking yourself for signs of skin cancer, and encourage you to have it checked by a dermatologist.
This is especially true if you use the same massage therapist repeatedly, as he or she will become familiar with the size and shape of moles you have and can immediately notice if one has changed color or otherwise looks irregular. Having these checked as soon as possible can ensure that if you do have cancer, you can treat it as early as possible and increase your chances of complete recovery.
2. That You Need a New Pillow, and Possibly Even a New Mattress
Your body should relax and unwind when you sleep, but if your pillow is not giving you proper support and your mattress is lumpy and bumpy, you’ll probably be twisted and turned as you sleep. This will mean a spine that is out of alignment or muscles on the sides of the spine that are overworked and cramped.
Shoulders that are stiff and neck muscles that are sore often mean that your pillow is too flat and not giving your head and neck proper support at night. If your massage therapist mentions these things to you, don’t ignore them but make changes as necessary so you get a good night’s sleep.
3. If You’re Consistently Constipated
When you’re consistently constipated, the muscles around the stomach and digestive system may be stiff and sore as they work overtime to help your body digest. A few occasional bouts of constipation may be normal, but if your massage therapist notices this problem, it may be time to make changes to your diet or even talk to your doctor about it. You might need some mild medication to help with your constipation, or simply adding more fiber and water to your everyday diet might do the trick.
4. If You’re Dehydrated
Nurses can often tell if elderly patients are dehydrated simply by touching the skin of their hand; if it stays crimped, the patient is not getting enough fluids. The skin should be springy and soft and when a person is dehydrated, it is rougher and less elastic.
In the same way, a massage therapist can tell if you’re dehydrated by the condition of your skin. Rough and scaly skin that does not feel very springy to them often signals that you’re not drinking enough water or have too many diuretics in your diet, which cause you to lose fluids. These may include caffeine, red meat, and sugar, all of which sap moisture from your system.
5. When You’re More Stressed Than Usual
You may be stressed every time you visit your massage therapist, but he or she will know if you’re feeling even more anxious than usual. Most people tense up their shoulders and neck muscles and will have knots along the lower back when they’re under extreme pressure. You may not even realize that your body is reacting this way, but if your massage therapist mentions it, you might want to think about relaxation techniques. You may need to scale back your work hours, talk to a counselor, or try yoga and meditation every day. When your tension is so pronounced that your massage therapist notices it from one visit to the next, you shouldn’t ignore this. Stress can weaken your immune system and lead to a number of other health conditions, so always listen to your therapist when he or she mentions this to you.
Consider carefully all these things about your body that your massage therapist will learn from your time on their table, and think of them a partner in your good health. Listen to their advice and address the issues they suggest. Your body will thank you for it!