Firstly it helps mobilise your lymph fluid, which drains toxins and dead cells from your body. The lymph system has no pump, in the way that the heart pumps blood around the body, so it relies on muscle contractions to clear it. However manual massage can do the same work and be extremely effective in clearing toxins. This is why you can feel rather groggy after a massage, particularly the next day, and that's a good sign you need to detox. If you have regular massage this should lessen with time and in the meantime schedule your massage for a weekend so you can have a good sleep without having to get up early for work.
Secondly a deep massage, of the kind that Asra does, can help manually break down fat cells, in the same way that endermology works. So if you're dieting then massage is a great complimentary therapy to use with your diet and exercise programme.
Finally it's worth emphasising the importance of human touch - babies often fail to thrive if they don't have any human physical contact, and human touch can be a very powerful emotional therapy in terms of calming the nervous system. This is why a hug can be so therapeutic and why it's great if you can enrol your partner or friend to give you a quick shoulder massage when you're tired or tense.
To make the most of your massage clear your diary afterwards and go home and relax, preferably lying down. If you're hungry eat fruit or vegetable soup or have a detoxifying vegetable juice. Make sure you also drink plenty of water.
Asra's massages are pretty deep, though not as intense as a sports massage, so you're unlikely to fall asleep during them, but you'll walk away feeling totally relaxed and confident that any toxin or fat cell that could have been dislodged will have been!
She periodically threatens to retire, god forbid, but in the meantime she's available for massage (£65 for 60mins) or fabulous facials from £55 on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays at Beauty First in Fitness First gym, 15 Thomas More Square, E1W 1YW (5mins walk from Tower Hill). Tel 02074811016