I’m so not cool. The same thing—”calm down”—is said to me every time someone takes my blood pressure, reads my aura, or picks up the phone to talk to my mother. My posture has deteriorated as a result of all this mental strain. When I’m in the zone, I tend to slouch over my computer with my shoulders tightened.
This is exactly what I do when I’m out and about on a bitterly cold and windy New York winter day. So, as much as I despise the advice to “slow down,” I should probably follow it. So when New York City’s Paul Labrecque Salon and Spa invited me to try out their new CBD Ritual Massage one Saturday afternoon, I jumped at the chance.
What is CBD oil?
Cannabidiol (CBD) oil, a non-psychoactive component of the cannabis plant, has been found to help relieve stress, anxiety, and inflammation. Despite the fact that CBD oil-infused products have been a major wellness and cosmetic fad in recent years, I haven’t used them regularly enough to determine which, if any, of the tinctures or candies on the market actually help my anxiety.
The CBD-infused skincare products I’ve used have done wonders for calming down any inflammation or redness my face may have experienced. The fact that massages have been shown to reduce muscle tightness had me wondering how a massage including CBD oil might feel.
“There is little reliable research when it comes to how cannabinoids are absorbed topically,” says Cindy Capobianco, co-founder, and president of Lord Jones, a leading brand of CBD-infused products. “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.”
CBD, according to Capobianco, has “analgesic and anti-inflammatory” properties and “lower pain and inflammation when taken topically.” This explains how it would be able to provide a really relaxing massage.
However, more research is needed to determine the efficacy of topical CBD and the optimal dosage for its use. If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or on any of the medications listed below, you should not use CBD. If you have any worries, consult your doctor.
What Happens During a CBD Massage?
Michael Shanahan, the director of the massage at Paul Labrecque Salon and Spa, told me that CBD massages “may be good for anyone that battles with muscle inflammation, circulation issues, chronic pain, arthritis, headaches, and so much more” before we got started on the massage.
I told Shanahan to focus on my shoulders, and he began the hour-long full-body, deep-tissue massage by spraying sage hydrosol throughout the room to clear the energy. Then, instead of using regular oil, the masseuse used CBD oil to massage my entire body.
Shanahan began by working out the knots in my back caused by stress and then moved on to my shoulders, where the majority of my anxiety is concentrated. My shoulders sounded like they were being cracked over and over as he worked out the knots. Truthfully, it did hurt a little, but damn, did it feel amazing once those knots were gone.
I was feeling pretty chill at this point because I was in the middle of a massage, but Shanahan asked me if I overthink things because she noticed that I had been hunching my shoulders the whole time. Also, Michael, I do agree with you. Because of this, I spiraled downward and started worrying about how my poor posture might affect my appearance as I aged.
Shanahan moved on to massage my arms and legs while I attempted to ignore my worries. He comforted me that my back and shoulder placement weren’t ideal when he was working on my arms by saying, “It’s not bad.” I resolved to pay closer attention to how I sit at my desk from now on.
How Does CBD Massage Oil Work?
As we discussed, preliminary evidence suggests that cannabidiol (CBD) may be an effective treatment for a variety of painful conditions. Several of these studies have focused on CBD’s effects when taken orally, but others have found that CBD applied topically has the same analgesic effects. Score!
Other studies have shown that applying CBD directly to the skin can alleviate symptoms of eczema and psoriasis. In addition, there are massage oils that have been enhanced with the addition of certain components.
- components such as arnica, menthol, and capsaicin that work to reduce pain
- Ingredients like coconut oil, which soothe the skin,
- elements such as lavender that help with stress and anxiety
After the CBD massage was over, I felt more relaxed than I had that morning. However, I didn’t notice any significant differences between the CBD massage and other massages. When I woke up and went outside, I felt completely at ease and in excellent spirits. On my way back to my flat after leaving Paul Labrecque, I stopped at Whole Foods. Visiting WF on a Saturday afternoon usually makes me very angry.
I didn’t mind that the store was a total disaster, with long checkout lines and a number of fussy infants in strollers. I took a shower that evening and realized I had forgotten to check that my underwear was on correctly all afternoon. Maybe I’d reached a new plateau of relaxation.