Most of us really enjoy a great massage, but have you ever stopped to think just how many benefits of massage there are?
It is beneficial in so many ways and can bring true relaxation to many parts of our lives. Are you someone who frequently gets a massage? You will want to consider just how much good you are doing for your body! Are you someone who has thought about getting a massage, but haven’t tried it out yet? You should know just what you are missing out on and what you have to gain by embarking on the wonderful journey of massage.
There are many different types of massages, though most trigger the same beneficial responses in the body.
Here are 8 scientifically proven benefits of massage:
1. Mood Lifting
Do you ever struggle with feeling down in the dumps or discouraged or disappointed? This likely will lead to feeling grumpy or out-of-sorts. It happens to all of us, so don’t feel bad. But if you’d like to turn yourself around to feeling cheerful, a massage may be just the ticket for you. One study demonstrably showed how massage increased the level of oxytocin in the body, a hormone has sometimes been dubbed the feel-good hormone. Oxytocin has shown to lower blood pressure, increases tolerance of pain, stimulates growth and lessens stress-hormones in the blood.
A massage can give you such a feeling of well-being that you can’t help but have a brighter outlook on life. It has a way of erasing the blues and lifting your mood.
2. Immunity Boosting
If you always seem to “catch” whatever is going around and tend to have a poor immune system, you’ll be glad to know that massage is an excellent antidote for this. There have been a number of studies done on the effect massage has on the immune system. One preliminary study that was done in 2011 showed how weekly Swedish massage or light touch massage increased the production of white blood cells (good for fighting diseases).
Now that is not to say that having one massage means you won’t ever succumb to a virus, but regular massages can definitely activate your lymphatic system, which helps you fight infection. The type of massage that works best for this is called “lymphatic drainage” and is performed using long strokes. Ask your massage therapist about this, so that you can boost your immunity!
Fun fact: massage boosts immunity even in mice!
3. Decreasing Insomnia
Are you tired of long, sleepless nights? Massage may hold the answer to sweet dreams and deep restful sleep. Regular massage brings with it deep relaxation that helps your body let go of the troubles that keep your mind active at night. It not only can make you feel sleepy while receiving the massage, the effects can linger long enough to allow you to get the rest when you need it most – at night.
There have been many studies done how massage can affect the sleep quality of different individuals in various stages/conditions of life, ranging from infants that were born early to individuals with narcolepsy. If it works for them, it might as well work for you!
If something as simple as massage can help you get a good night’s sleep by decreasing insomnia, then isn’t it worth it to incorporate it into your weekly routine? If you’re not keen on visiting the local massage therapist every week, have a look at a couple of self-massaging techniques you can do right before bed.
4. Anxiety Relief
When your mind races and your heart beats fast, you know that a panic attack is setting in. One way to combat the intensity of chronic anxiety is to begin a regular regiment of massage therapy. Work with your provider to give them the information they need to help you find the relief you need. Anxiety is entwined with your physical, mental, and emotional well-being, so it is important to address all of these needs. Massage can reach all three areas and thus can provide comfort and reprieve in a way that is unique and enduring.
Whether you’re dealing with generalized anxiety disorder or just “anxiety hickups” here and there, massage and self-massage can be a loyal friend to you.
5. Physical Healing
Have you had an injury of your soft tissue? Strains or sprains from a sports mishap or fall can be enough to really set you back. Sometimes there is nothing you can do but rest and wait for everything to get better, but massage can be truly beneficial to promote healing in the injured area.
Talk to your massage therapist about the incident that caused the injury and how/if it is being treated by your doctor. There is a very good chance that a few professional massage sessions could significantly decrease your downtime and get you active again much sooner. Even if you haven’t had an “injury” per se, massage provides a healing touch on so many levels that despite whatever physical issues you may have, a great massage therapist can be worth their weight in gold to your physical health and well-being.
6. Stress Reduction
We live in a world full of too much hustle and bustle. Perhaps you have personal stressors that go even beyond that. If you are feeling the weight of the world on your shoulders and need to just let go, don’t neglect the importance of massage. It will do you a world of good to find the deep relaxation and respite that a massage can bring.
As mentioned before studies have shown how massage increases the feel-good hormone oxytocin and reduces the stress-hormone cortisol.
7. Increased Circulation
A sure-fire way to promote health and general well-being is to increase your circulation. Massage is one of the best ways to get this job done. A massage therapist is trained to apply the perfect amount of pressure to your muscles and joints. This in turn brings in new supplies of blood and gets sluggish veins to revitalize. The benefits of massage to your heart are the obvious conclusion to this perk. If you leave the massage table feeling like your skin is warm and tingly, then you be assured that this is working for you!
8. Pain Management
Even if whatever ails you isn’t necessarily going to be cured, the least you can do is get some pain relief. There is nothing like a great massage to take away tension and get your muscles to relax. With that kind of promise, massage is quite frankly a foregone conclusion. Who doesn’t want less pain?
Hand and neck focused massages in particular show promising results in reducing pain and increasing overall wellbeing. Harvard published an article that mentioned people that get hand-massages feel less pain in their hands, have stronger grip strength and are less anxious, stressful and depressed than those that don’t.
Now do you see how important and wonderful massage can be? This is by no means an exhaustive list either! What benefits of massage have you noticed in your experience? Feel free to add them in the comments below!
The more we learn to care for our mind and body, the better off we will be. Anytime that we stumble on one of these tenants of relaxation, it is to our advantage to incorporate them into our lifestyle so that we, too, can enjoy their benefits! May this encourage you to give it a shot! Don’t be shy. It might just may make a world of difference for you.