It seems too good to be true, but getting regular massages can actually improve your health! Below we’ll look at the many benefits of massages and the science behind them.
By stimulating the nervous system, massages have been shown to reduce cortisol levels, a hormone that is released in response to stress, by up to 50%. Massages also increase the levels of neurotransmitters that reduce depression.
Relieve Digestive Disorders
Massage therapists are trained to feel tightness and abnormalities in your muscles throughout the body. By massaging the abdominal area, they can also feel firmness and tightness due to congestion in the digestive tract. By massaging these areas, massage therapists can relax muscles to let the material flow naturally through the system. These massages can reduce symptoms such as: gas, bloating, cramping, and constipation.
Proactive massages can help prevent migraines and tension headaches by relaxing muscle spasms in the head, face, shoulders, and neck. These are common trigger points for headaches.
For those who are suffering from severe headaches and need immediate relief, massages can help reduce the existing pain and make the headache easier to cope with.
Reduces Blood Pressure
Studies show that a program of regular massages over an extended period of time helps reduce diastolic and systolic blood pressure. By reducing cortisol levels in the blood, massages help people reduce stress, which is a leading cause of high blood pressure.
A pinched or damaged nerve can cause a lot of pain. Though massages don’t treat the nerve itself, they can be used to relax the areas surrounding the nerve to reduce muscle spasms that may cause the pain to flare up.
Soft Tissue Strains
Muscle strains are caused by too much tension on a muscle, resulting in a tear. During the period of inactivity that is required for the muscle to heal, scar tissue forms and may cause adverse effects on the muscle, reducing its range of motion or decreasing its physical capabilities. Massage therapy can help keep the surrounding tissue stretched and active during this recuperation period so that your body heals correctly.
Massages greatly improve blood circulation. For those who suffer a sports related injury, massages of the effected region can help increase the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the recovering organs and tissue, assisting in a more rapid recovery.
Strengthens the Immune System
Stress and anxiety can take a heavier toll on your body than many realize. Stress tends to affect the sleep quality and dietary well-being of those plagued with it, which reduces the immune system’s ability to combat bacteria and infection. Getting regular massages provides more benefits than just immediate relaxation, it increases your white blood cells and reduces the number of T-cells in your system. In other words, massage helps increase the activity of your body’s fighting cells and improve your immunity overall.
There are many physical and mental benefits to receiving massages. They can be one-time massages to help you through isolated incidents, or a series of massages to work through stress and anxiety related problems. One thing is clear though, this alternative medicine is tried and true and is a risk-free alternative to drugs and other, more permanent, procedures.
Article Author: Shelly Jackson is a Registered Massage Therapist and owner of Buena Vista Massage Therapy Clinic in Vancouver, BC. On a daily basis we deal with: resolving muscle and movement stiffness and pain; injuries from vehicles or sports; post breast cancer rehab; pregnancy related discomfort; repetitive strain and overuse injuries. We work with clients to reduce their anxiety and stress, improve joint movement, sleep and quality of life. Working with qualified massage therapists is necessary for your continued health. Contact us at 604-538-7166 and we would be happy to answer any questions you have.
Photo Source: courtesy of Ambro / Free Digital Photos