5 Health Benefits to Massage
By Lisa Smalls
Massages are soothing to the senses. They naturally relax us: we can feel pampered by treating ourselves to a massage after a stressful work week. However, massages are not necessarily an indulgence - massages are in fact demonstrated to benefit numerous mental and physical health conditions. Consequently, massages can be more than a momentary luxurious experience - they may actually be a medical necessity.
Soreness and Pain
Massages are classically known to relieve temporary muscle pulls, plus overall tightness and soreness. They can alleviate chronic pain as well, which is often treated with medications that cause unintended and adverse side effects. Consider massage instead of pills. Research shows massage effectively treats conditions such as lower back pain, migraines, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, and more. Serotonin is released to the brain during the massage, relieving discomfort because we experience pain cognitively first and then physically. If you regularly suffer from pain consider the possible causes. From injury to how you sleep, approach pain management with a holistic point of view.
Stress and Anxiety
Study shows that massages reduce stress. Avoid the emotional and physical toll that long-term stress can take on your central nervous system, cardiovascular system, and immune system. This often leads to increased illness, high blood pressure, and more. We typically carry our stress in our bodies and massages release the buildup of tension in the shoulders, back, or neck. During a massage your body to releases oxytocin and serotonin, two stress-lowering chemicals in your body. Regular massage therapy relaxes you, decreases your blood pressure, and lifts your mood.
An overwhelming number of Americans have trouble sleeping and would benefit from massage which is a natural remedy for sleep. Stress and anxiety are also the most common reason for sleep disturbance which can lead to a greater risk of high blood pressure, immunodeficiency, diabetes, weight gain, and heart disease. Your heart rate and breathing slow down during a massage session, enabling you to recreate that feeling at home on your bed through muscle memory. Research shows that massage can improve sleep in infants, children, adolescents, adults, and the elderly with diseases like cancer, migraines, breast disease, insomnia, psychiatric disorders, and more.
Quite simply, massage boosts the number of lymphocytes in your body, the white blood cells that exist to fight off disease. Massage also increases the circulation of lymphocytes, helping to fight off infections. This improves the immune systems of people infected with HIV. Massage, exercise, and a balanced diet combine to combat illness through strengthening the immune system.
Over time, if symptoms are severe enough, stress, anxiety, and depression may escalate into mood disorders: however, investigation shows that all three can be improved through massage therapy. In fact, this same research reinforces massage therapy to be as effective as psychotherapy in some situations. Depression decreases after massage therapy sessions where a nurturing touch of a therapist equates to the level of emotional comfort when receiving a consensual hug. Furthermore, massage has been shown to decrease depression in people with HIV and military veterans. Massage reduces chronic anxiety in some cancer patients, military veterans, and work-related stress for nurses.
These 5 benefits are just some of the differences massage therapy can make without side effects or long-term obstacles. Make massage a priority and be pampered for your health.
Lisa is a freelance writer from North Carolina that suffered from severe upper back/neck pain for several years until she turned to therapeutic massage to free her of her pain. Ever since she experienced the multiple health benefits routine massages offer, she has become a passionate educator on the topic.