Needed More Reasons to Get a Massage)
By Amy Hardwick
Then there is good news. The benefits of massage therapy run so much deeper than just “a relaxing day at the spa.” As a healing modality, massage provides long-term benefits that reach beyond your time on the table.
There are the obvious benefits of massage. Massage therapy reduces stress and relaxes your muscles. But what are the more subtle side effects? How can incorporating massage therapy into your self-care routine bring more balance to body and mind?
Here Are 7 Lesser Known Benefits of Massage Therapy:
You know you feel better when you go. Sometimes you have more energy and other times you are finally ready for a good night’s sleep. But why? What is happening on the inner landscape of the body when you get a massage?
Read on for seven benefits of massage therapy that you might not know.
1. Massage Therapy Helps Reduce Anxiety and Depression
The two often go hand-in-hand with stress. And stress can be an unavoidable piece of our day-to-day lives.
Massage can help reduce cortisol (the hormone produced in response to stress). When cortisol levels decline, serotonin levels can rise. Serotonin is the “feel good” chemical that helps to regulate mood, anxiety, sleep, and depression.
2. Massage Therapy Helps Improve Sleep
Who doesn’t want that? As cortisol levels decrease and serotonin increases, the hormonal balance is more conducive to improved sleep patterns.
Couple that with the pain reduction and relaxation you get from massage and you’ll be catching your Z’s in no time.
3. Massage Therapy Can Improve Immune Function
There are times when it feels like everyone around you is coughing and sneezing. You take your Vitamin C and zinc, and try to get plenty of rest. But you still feel like you are constantly fighting a cold.
Massage stimulates the production of white blood cells which are a key factor in fighting infection. The lymphatic system, which helps to flush toxins and waste from the body, is stimulated by the manual compression of massage therapy.
4. Massage Therapy Can Decrease High Blood Pressure
There are many causes of high blood pressure. But often stress, lifestyle, and diet are the contributing factors. Often an indicator of heart disease, high blood pressure can be a serious condition.
Luckily, though, the benefits of massage therapy can help even this serious threat. Studies have shown a marked decrease in blood pressure for participants receiving massage.
5. Reduces Chronic Pain
The effects of chronic pain are real. And often debilitating. It is estimated that Americans miss 149 million days of work each year due to low back pain alone.
Massage has been shown to aid in pain management. Think of your natural response when you hit your head. You rub the spot to ease the pain. Massage helps reduce the discomfort of chronic pain.
6. Alleviates Digestive Discomfort
The National Institutes of Health estimate that 70 million people suffer from some type of digestive disorder. Food sensitivities, IBS, and acid reflux are just a few of the issues that contribute to daily discomfort.
While there are a variety of causes, and it can be different for each person, there does seem to be a common thread: Stress. It may not be the primary cause of digestive trouble but it can certainly make it worse. The stress reduction you get from massage can also signal the gut to settle down.
As massage also helps flush toxins from your body, it promotes more efficient digestion. This means your body doesn’t have to work as hard to process food and use nutrients.
7. Increases Range of Motion
Having trouble touching your toes? Tight, stiff muscles can limit range of motion both at the belly of the muscle and at the joints.
Massage can elongate the muscles, allowing for more flexibility and mobility. It provides length in the muscle tissue which can release the tension in the tendons as well.
The Benefits of Massage Therapy Are Plentiful!
Massage therapy is an incredibly beneficial complementary therapy. It can provide relief from a variety of physical, mental, and emotional conditions.
For best results, try adding massage into your regular self-care routine.
As with any alternative therapy it is advised that you consult your healthcare provider before seeking treatment.
All included information is not intended to treat or diagnose. The views expressed are those of the author and should be attributed solely to the author. For medical questions, please consult your healthcare provider.
Amy Hardwick is a passionate wellness warrior and freelance writer. As a yoga teacher, reiki master, massage therapist, nutritional therapist, and Ayurveda enthusiast, she weaves these pieces together to guide students and clients on their path to wellness. A mountain girl, she lives and plays in the Colorado high country with her husband and her dog Tashi
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