How CBD Can Make Your Massages So Much More Relaxing
I have zero chill. Whether I'm getting my blood pressure checked, my aura read, or on the phone with my mom, I'm always told the exact same thing: Calm down.
Physically, this mental stress manifests itself in my posture. When I get really in the zone at work, I'm often hunched over my keyboard with my shoulders all tensed up. I do the exact same thing when I'm trying to stay warm walking outside on a cold, windy New York winter day.
So, as much as I hate being told to "calm down," I probably should. That's why I was down when Paul Labrecque Salon and Spa in New York City offered me the opportunity to try their new CBD Ritual Massage one Saturday afternoon.
CBD oil (or cannabidiol) is a non-psychoactive component of the cannabis plant that has been reported to help reduce stress, anxiety, and inflammation — but no, it won't get you high.
Even though CBD oil-infused products was one of the biggest beauty and wellness trends of 2018, I haven't used it consistently enough to know whether or not any of the tinctures and gummies out there have any effect on my anxiety. In terms of skincare, the CBD-infused products I've tried have worked wonders for reducing any inflammation or redness I'm experiencing on my face.
Since there's research that massages can relieve muscle soreness, I was curious about the effects of a massage with CBD oil thrown into the mix.
"There is little reliable research when it comes to how cannabinoids are absorbed topically, but since the skin is the biggest organ, it makes sense that so many users cite the benefits of CBD when the ingredient is applied to multiple parts of the body," explains Cindy Capobianco, co-founder and president of Lord Jones, a leading brand of CBD-infused products.
She says that CBD acts as an "analgesic and anti-inflammatory" and has been known to "reduce pain and inflammation when used topically." This explains why it could create a soothing and relaxing massage experience.
Before my actual massage started, Paul Labrecque Salon and Spa massage director Michael Shanahan explained to me that CBD massages "can be helpful for anyone that deals with muscle inflammation, circulation issues, chronic pain, arthritis, headaches, and so much more."
The hour-long, full-body, deep tissue massage started with Shanahan asking what areas of my body have been feeling tense (I told him to go hard on my shoulders) and cleansing the room's energy with a sage hydrosol spray. A typical massage followed — except CBD oil was rubbed all over my body.
Shanahan started with my back, getting out all of the stress-related knots and then moved onto my shoulders, where I hold all of my tension. When he was getting all of the knots out of my shoulders (and there were a lot) it sounded like someone repeatedly cracking my knuckles. It hurt a little, tbh, but damn — did it feel good once those knots were out.
At this point, I was pretty relaxed because I was in the middle of a massage, but then Shanahan asked me if I tend to overthink things because there's a belief that people who do tend to hunch their shoulders — which I had apparently been doing throughout the massage so far. Um, yes, I do.
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This led me into a downward spiral where I began stressing over what I'm going to look like when I'm older if I continue on with this bad posture. As I tried to relax again after getting lost in my own thoughts, Shanahan continued the massage, moving onto my arms and legs. When he was working on my arms he reassured a little bit by telling me that based on how I was laying on my back, my shoulder placement wasn't great, but it wasn't terrible. I made a mental note to start being more mindful of how I'm sitting at work.
Once the massage was over and done, I did feel more zen than I when I woke up that morning, but not any different than I've felt after regular massages — or so I thought. When I got up and outside I felt loose and just good overall. After I left Paul Labrecque, I hit up Whole Foods on the way back to my apartment. Normally a trip to WF on a Saturday afternoon makes me rage-y. Even though the store was a hot mess with long checkout lines and a handful of crying babies in strollers, I wasn't phased by any of it.
When I took a shower later that night, I discovered that I had put my underwear back on inside-out and hadn't noticed all afternoon. I guess I was on another level of chill.