When I have the opportunity, I absolutely love indulging in a deep tissue massage session. The health benefits alone certainly make it a worthwhile expenditure and help bridge the gap between luxury and necessity.
In fact, it was during a particularly necessary massage that I was inspired to write this article.
On this occasion, I went because my body was especially sore after a workout that week, and I also found my knee and shoulder giving me a bit of a twinge. A little background on me – for years now, my shoulders (rotator cuffs) have been susceptible to bouts of tendonitis and will flare up when I give them the slightest opportunity (e.g. sleeping in odd positions, reaching into the backseat of the car, etc). The only thing that I’ve found to work in relieving this pain and inflammation is topical magnesium.
And yes, before you ask, I did all of the stretching, menthol rubs and icing… I even finally broke down at one point and received a cortisone shot. All for naught! No matter what I did, it would come right on back and I would be struggling to even put on a shirt in the morning.
Okay, enough about me and my tendonitis. Where were we… ah yes, massage therapy.
So, I’ve gotten into the wonderful habit of always bringing a bottle of magnesium lotion with me when I treat myself to a massage. Why is this habit wonderful? Because there are just so many benefits to using transdermal magnesium during a massage that I’m astonished that this hasn’t become more of a trend. Or, at the very least, that massage therapists haven’t adopted this far and wide.
Since spa’s, therapists, and patients alike seem to not have caught wind of all of these benefits, I felt it my duty to lay some of them out. So here are a mere 9 of the many reasons why you should incorporate magnesium into your massage:
The number one reason why people receive a massage is for relaxation. And honestly, who doesn’t find a massage relaxing, right? Well… unless you’re getting some really deep tissue work done and you find yourself performing Lamaze breathing to get past the pain (that’s happened once or twice to me).
What is relaxation but the easing of muscle tension, the dissolving of stress, and the uplifting of mood? All of these factors are in perfect synchronicity with magnesium’s capabilities. In fact, magnesium can be used in your day to day routine to help mitigate stress and better your mood – it’s so powerful, that studies have shown that it’s a viable treatment in cases of major depression.1 This wonderful mineral has displayed an uncanny ability to calm and neutralize negative emotions and better equip the body to rationally deal with an onslaught of stresses.
2. Loosen Knots & Ease Spasms
Another very popular reason for people to seek massage therapy is to loosen knots throughout their body. Those painfully tightened balls of muscle wreak so much havoc on our health and well-being, making us constantly roll our shoulders, dig our thumbs into our lower backs, and uncomfortably shift in our seats. Whether they’re from stress, poor ergonomics, exercise, or otherwise, magnesium can penetrate on a level that mere fingers… or even elbows… are unable to reach.
If we drill down to a foundational level, magnesium content inside your cells is what keeps calcium at bay. Why is this important?
In muscle tissue, sufficient magnesium levels will mean the difference between you controlling your muscles, and them seeming to have a mind of their own. Twitching, cramping, and [yes] even knots can be a sign that your muscle cells do not have enough magnesium to keep calcium from taking over and spontaneously causing contractions. So, as your therapists digs their thumbs and elbows into that tensed gristle you call a back, you can make their job a little easier by adding a natural muscle relaxer to the mix. That way, shorter massages will bear more fruit, and longer massages will have a much more lasting effect.
3. Deep Tissue & Detoxification
Speaking of digging elbows into knots – how many of you go straight for deep tissue massages, raise your hand. (I’m raising mine, you just can’t see it)
Deep tissue massages can be extremely painful, albeit well worth it, depending on the therapist and the extent of your need. Not only do they break up those troublesome knots mentioned above, but they have a detoxifying effect on the tissues and usually a profound benefit to total body relaxation that is realized the following day. When it comes to the pain as well as the detoxification, magnesium has both of those well in hand.
Since magnesium plays a role in so many metabolic processes, fueling enzymatic reactions, it naturally facilitates cellular detoxification – which is why there are those whom, when using it for a magnesium deficiency, will initially feel detox symptoms. You can expedite detoxification by utilizing magnesium whether it be oral, topical, or both – but by using it directly surrounding your massage, you are supplying your body with the tool it needs, when it needs it, fueling your detoxification.
Bonus: You’ll also be bringing your pain threshold up a bit since magnesium acts as a natural nerve calmer and pain reliever. Now, when your therapist gets overly enthusiastic with that elbow in your shoulder knot, you can just take a deep breath and thank your lucky stars [and me] for remembering to bring your Ancient Minerals along.
4. Dermatitis & Acne
At last check, statistics were showing a significant rise in various types of dermatitis and skin issues – so I know there are plenty of you out there that this is applicable to!
Magnesium – more specifically, topical magnesium – has been shown to have a regenerative and healing effect on the skin. The act of applying minerals topically has been done for thousands of years as a means of soothing skin disorders. To this very day, people still pay to travel all the way to the Dead Sea just to sit in the magnesium-rich waters!
So, rather than flying why not use this information and combine it with your massage treatment?
5. Sports Injuries & Muscle Recovery
Are you an athlete or fitness enthusiast? Do you find yourself sore after hard workouts… maybe even rubbing out a strain in your calf or shoulder? Well then #5 is certainly for you…
Pulled muscles and ligaments, stressed joints, bruises, shin splints, “charlie horses”, or just general wear and tear from high impact training – all of these can benefit from the addition of magnesium and it’s natural anti-inflammatory, pain relieving, and muscle relaxing properties that I mentioned above. But here’s a critical factor for athletes looking to build and maintain muscle – magnesium is an employee at the protein production warehouse (a.k.a magnesium is used for protein synthesis in the body).
And for those of you that get your massages on-the-go in between competitions, topical magnesium is fast acting and makes those few moments of downtime count!
6. Daily Magnesium Dose
Let’s imagine, for an instant, that none of the above listed items apply to you – however unlikely that is. We’ll set aside the relaxation, pain relief…etc., and simply focus on the detail that by adding magnesium into your massage you are, in fact, dosing yourself with a nutrient that your body requires. If you find that you haven’t had the time in your day to obtain sufficient levels of magnesium, this is an easy way to get your massage therapist to do what you were unable to do yourself – rub on your magnesium.
And that, folks, is why you should seriously contemplate adding magnesium the next time you find yourself on the receiving end of a massage!
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- Eby George A., Eby Karen L. (2006). Medical Hypotheses, Rapid recovery from major depression using magnesium treatment, Vol. 67, No. 2, pp. 362-370 [↵]