CBD Massage: What to Know and Why You Should Try It
*This week's blog post does contain one affiliate link with a company I adore and recently became affiliated with. Trust me when I tell you I use products from this company every single day both personally and professionally!
CBD is super popular right now, and for good reason. New Research continuously shows that this non-psychoactive part of the cannabis plant has many healing properties. The F.D.A. has even approved a purified CBD extract for treating seizure disorders in children. You'll find CBD added to everything from candies and beverages to dog treats and bath bombs. So, it stands to reason that you've probably heard of CBD massage.
It also stands to reason that you might have questions. First, let's get the elephant in the room out of the way: no, you're not going to get high (not even a little) and no, you won't walk out smelling like you stepped off a hippie commune. CBD has been around and in use for ages. As more states move to legalize cannabis products, more and more people (and scientists!) are looking toward CBD products as a healthy, non-invasive alternative for treating chronic pain, inflammation, stress and sleep disorders.
This article will explain what CBD is, how it's used in conjunction with massage and answer some of the most common questions about CBD massage.
What Exactly is CBD?
CBD is the commonly used name for Cannabidiol, which is a Phytocannabinoid derived from the cannabis plant and the component that accounts for the majority of the plant's health benefits. CBD is non-psychoactive, non-addictive or habit forming and is currently legal in all states when derived from hemp plants cultivated to contain less than 0.3% THC.
A very long and dense report from the US National Institute of Health (NIH) delves into some exciting research into the therapeutic use of THC and CBD. Here is an excerpt:
"Cannabinoids have antinociceptive mechanisms different from that of other drugs currently in use, which thus opens a new line of promising treatment to mitigate pain that fails to respond to the pharmacologic treatments available, especially for neuropathic and inflammatory pains. The combination of cannabinoids with synergistic analgesic substances is interesting because it may improve the efficacy and safety of treatment."
A Word of Warning
Not all CBD products are equal. Pay attention to what CBD products you buy. Many CBD products on the market are found to contain a different amount of CBD than as labeled or to contain unwanted additives. Look for a product with only a few natural ingredients and pure, full-spectrum CBD. And don't bother wasting your money on gimmicky products like CBD mascara.
Health Benefits of CBD Massage
CBD is touted as a cure-all for any number of medical and health conditions, but be careful not to fall blindly into the hype. Current research into the specific benefits and most effective delivery methods is ongoing. While It's unlikely that CBD has quite the super powers many claim, there is strong science backed evidence pointing toward CBD as a powerful tool for managing chronic pain, inflammation, neuropathy, anxiety, depression and sleep troubles. These are the same issues many clients come to massage to address, making CBD and massage a potent healing duo. CBD provides a safe, non-toxic way to heighten and increase the plentiful benefits of a skilled, therapeutic massage. CBD is an incredible compliment to deep work specifically as it can reduce or eliminate that occasional post-massage soreness from some kinds of intense deep work.
Commonly Asked Questions About CBD Massage
Q Will I get high from CBD massage?
A Nope. Not even a little bit. Generally speaking, products using broad-spectrum CBD contain no traces of THC, the cannabinoid that causes a head high. Full-spectrum CBD products use full-plant extracts to offer the "entourage effect," a higher potency due to being used in conjunction with multiple compounds in the cannabis plant and can contain trace amounts of THC, up to 0.3%. In states where cannabis is legal you may find CBD products with more substantial amounts of THC, but those will be labeled. At any rate, the head high comes from THC being ingested or inhaled and then passed into the blood stream and through the blood-brain barrier where it interacts with receptors in the brain, causing the hallmark signs of being high. This process can't happen via topical applications of CBD based oils and balms.
Q Will I smell like weed after CBD massage?
A Most likely not. CBD isolate, used in broad-spectrum products, has no smell becasue it has been isolated and extracted from the rest of the plant. Full-spectrum extract might have a slight scent on its own, but when blended with high quality oil bases like jojoba, coconut, or almond oil the scent disappears. In addition, the best quality topical CBD products are either fragrance free or blended with essential oils and other natural herbs for added benefits and a pleasant scent.
Q How does CBD massage work?
A There are two ways to incorporate CBD into a massage: Full-body application or spot treatment. With a full-body application the massage is performed as usual using a topical product infused with a high quality CBD extract applied to the entire body. If you're receiving spot treatment, the CBD is applied to particularly painful, inflamed or injured areas and the product will likely be more of a balm infused with other nourishing and healing ingredients, like arnica, chamomile or menthol.
Q Will I be able to work after?
A I always recommend scheduling a massage treatment at a time when you can continue to relax and unwind post-massage, but life doesn't always make that possible. A CBD massage will not make you high and won't make you smell like you're high. There's no reason you won't be capable of working, driving or caring for children after your CBD massage other than the obvious reason - that you'll be so relaxed you might not want to. But you can hardly blame the CBD for that.
Q What does it feel like?
A Some CBD cremes on the market contain a menthol component that have a "tingling" effect. These are sold as balms and are used for spot treating areas of intense pain, inflammation or injury. CBD oils and lotions used in full-body CBD massage don't create any sensation on the skin. Instead, the oils soak into the skin and muscles to work their anti-inflammatory, healing magic. The effects feel more like an absence of discomfort after about 15 minutes from application, but individual results will vary.
Q How do I know if my therapist is using a reputable product?
A Ask! You can always reach out to your therapist and ask what brand of CBD products they use and how the company sources their CBD extracts. Or, you can research the company yourself. Ideally, the company will grow, harvest and extract their own CBD and should always use third party testing. A low quality topical CBD product won't hurt you but will be an ineffective waste of money. At Life Balance Massage, I use products from Lazarus Naturals I've used products from this company for years now, both personally and professionally, and trust them for their transparent process, organic ingredients, clear labeling and healing blends.
** I recently became affiliated with Lazarus Naturals so I do get credit if you make a purchase through the link provided)
Q Will it work for me?
A As with so many things in the wellness world, the answer is that it really just depends. Every human body reacts and responds differently to treatments, and many health and lifestyle factors can alter the efficacy of a particular treatment. What works like magic for one person might have underwhelming effects for another. There's no guaranteed way to predict what will work for you. You need to give it a try and see how you respond. One way or the other, you'll enjoy the benefits of a massage.
Giving CBD Massage a Try
CBD is overwhelming a safe and effective therapeutic adjunct to your health and wellness routine when sourced responsibly and used within the context of its proven abilities. During a CBD massage the CBD is rubbed into the skin and soaked into the soft tissues. There it facilitates the reduction of pain and inflammation from arthritis, muscle strain, muscle fatigue, injury and chronic pain. The CBD also interacts with the central nervous system, promoting a sense of calm and reducing stress and anxiety. CBD amplifies the benefits of massage by aiding in reducing pain and stress and compounding a sense of well-being.
Stay curious. Stay humble. Stay kind.