While I am a big believer in making every moment a fitness moment (see Creating a Fitness Lifestyle), the reality is many people don’t have even the most basic motivation to move to a healthier lifestyle. That’s where chair massage fits in because it not only requires minimal motivation, it actually provides motivation and support for getting off and staying off of the couch.
The reason why I consider chair massage foundational fitness is because, of all the activities that fall into the fitness/wellness category, chair massage is the one that requires the least time and effort, while offering the greatest value. The only motivation required for chair massage is to sit down and do nothing. The chair massage specialist does the rest.
This is one of the most unique and important features of chair massage. All other wellness modalities require high degrees of motivation, practice, support or cost, for example, dieting, exercise, smoking cessation, Yoga, meditation, table massage and Tai Chi.
The foundation of fitness is movement. It is movement that creates circulation in the body/mind and, as I am fond of saying, circulation is not optional. Without good circulation your body and your mind literally wither away and eventually die. Much of what we define as the “aging process” is simply a result of inhibited circulation/movement.
Exercise, which requires a high degree of motivation, is active movement, where you move yourself. Massage is passive movement, where someone else creates the movement/circulation within you and requires minimal motivation.
In addition, over time, as people experience regular massage, they reopen the communication links between their brains and their bodies. That is to say, massage heightens awareness of our internal sensations about what makes us feel good. As a result, recipients tend to become more motivated to lose weight, stop smoking, eat better and even develop a regular exercise program.
As lifestyle changes go, regular chair massage is a great place to start. It triggers the pleasure centers while enhancing circulation. On an ongoing basis it supports all other fitness/wellness activities and lifestyle changes. Each massage rebalances the body/mind by smoothing out the rough edges created by exercise, dieting or withdrawal from smoking and other addictive substances.
Best of all, you don’t have to be overweight or a smoker or in shape or out of shape to benefit from a chair massage. It is the most egalitarian of all wellness modalities and provides a solid foundation for fitness. Given its low cost, chair massage clearly provides the greatest value.