Benefits of Massage Therapy and How It Will Improve Your Wellbeing

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Benefits of Massage Therapy and How It Will Improve Your Wellbeing

Massage therapy is the manual manipulation of soft tissues to help reduce tension in muscles, eliminate pain, and relieve stress and depression.[1] Many of us associate a massage with relaxation or luxury, but it is really so much more than that. There are, in fact, many health benefits of massage therapy!

These benefits not only uplift the body, but the mind and spirit as well. The following are just a few of the many ways massage will provide benefits to you physically and mentally, as well as increase your health and wellbeing.

Physical benefits:

Back pain relief. Almost everyone experiences back pain from time to time, which can interfere with work and routine activities. One study found that those who received a one-hour structural massage once a week for ten weeks felt better and experienced significantly improved function compared with those who had standard medical treatments.[2]

Help with osteoarthritis. Further research has found that routine massage can even help ease the symptoms associated with osteoarthritis, particularly in the knee joints.[2]

Alleviation of illness-related pain. One study of more than 300 hospice patients with advanced cancer found that massage helped relieve pain related to their illness as well as improved their mood.[3]

Health benefits:

Heart health. One 2008 study, conducted among 263 volunteers, found that those who received a 45–60 minute massage experienced a reduction in blood pressure at an average of 10mg Hg with a drop in heart rate by ten beats per minute.[4] And this happened after only one treatment! Some experts believe this may have a similar benefit as a prescription of new blood pressure medication![4]

Circulation. Another study found that massage has an impressive benefit to your blood circulation.[5] The study divided participants into two groups: one who received massage-only treatment and the other who had a regime of massage plus physical exercise, which is known to improve blood flow. The research found that the participants who received only massages experienced the same circulatory benefits as their counterparts who both exercised and received massage therapy.[5]

Mental benefits:

Relaxation. Massage is commonly viewed as an incredibly relaxing experience and this is indeed one of its main benefits. A massage helps with the release of endorphins, which are neurotransmitters that can help produce feelings that promote wellbeing.[6]

Stress reduction. Massage also helps with feelings of stress by reducing responsible hormones, such as adrenalin, cortisol, and norepinephrine.[5] Research suggests that these types of hormones not only increase stress but can also impair your immune system function.

Ease symptoms of depression. Serotonin and dopamine, two chemicals in the brain the help reduce feelings of depression, were found to decrease with routine massage.[7]

Now that you understand better the health aspects of getting massage therapy routinely, you’re probably biting at the chomp to schedule an appointment! Remember to speak openly with your masseuse, letting them know particular areas of concern. Don’t be afraid to let them know if the pressure they are using is suitable, as well as your particular comfort level. By viewing massage as more than an unnecessary luxury, you will begin to experience and appreciate the many benefits of massage therapy.

 

[1] Special to the Plain Dealer (2013). Therapeutic benefits of massage: NetWellness. Accessed December 11, 2015. Retrieved from http://www.cleveland.com/healthfit/index.ssf/2013/06/therapeutic_benefits_of_massag.html.

[2] USA Today (2013). The benefits of massage therapy. Accessed December 11, 2015. Retrieved from http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/weekend/health/doctors/2013/12/20/benefits-of-massage-therapy/4137819/.

[3] MedicineNet. (2013). Massage therapy. Accessed December 11, 2015. Retrieved from http://www.medicinenet.com/massage_therapy/article.htm.

[4] Kahn, Dr. J. (2013). Why massages really do keep you healthy: a cardiologist explains. Accessed December 11, 2015. Retrieved from http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-11315/why-massages-really-do-keep-you-healthy-a-cardiologist-explains.html.

[5] Science Daily (2014). Massage therapy improves circulation, alleviates muscle soreness. Accessed December 11, 2015. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140416125434.htm.

[6] Better Health Channel. (n.d.). Massage. Accessed December 11, 2015. Retrieved from https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/massage.

[7] USA Today. (2013). The benefits of massage therapy. Accessed December 11, 2015. Retrieved from http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/weekend/health/doctors/2013/12/20/benefits-of-massage-therapy/4137819/.

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