Is there something to massage therapy beyond the fact that it feels good?
The foundational goal of massage therapy is to help the body heal itself and promote health and well-being. But what if I told you there were some surprising health benefits of massage that you may not have realized before? Would you be surprised?
Yes, massage therapy can be a means of pampering oneself, but there are much more substantial health benefits of massage aside from its calming effects. (you may even be interested in learning why our massage services are so beneficial)
One 2010 study revealed that participants who had a Swedish massage with moderate pressure experienced decreases in stress hormones and increases in white blood cells, indicating a boost in the immune system. Volunteers who had a “light touch” treatment showed higher levels of oxytocin, a hormone that promotes bonding. And there have been several more studies devoted to identifying the various health benefits of massage therapy.
Other research has suggested that massage therapy has health benefits including:
- Relieves pain
- Relieves headaches
- Helps manage anxiety and depression
- Helps control blood pressure
- Improves flexibility
- Improves posture
- Improves rehabilitation after sports-related injuries
- Improves rehabilitation after surgery
- Strengthens the immune system
- Aids cancer therapy
- Aids physical therapy
The following article from MassageTherapy.com dives deeper into the health benefits of massage therapy. You may be surprised how good massage is for your health!
The Benefits Of Massage
What exactly are the benefits of receiving massage or bodywork treatments? Useful for all of the conditions listed below and more, massage can:
- Alleviate low-back pain and improve range of motion.
- Assist with shorter, easier labor for expectant mothers and shorten maternity hospital stays.
- Ease medication dependence.
- Enhance immunity by stimulating lymph flow—the body’s natural defense system.
- Exercise and stretch weak, tight, or atrophied muscles.
- Help athletes of any level prepare for, and recover from, strenuous workouts.
- Improve the condition of the body’s largest organ—the skin.
- Increase joint flexibility.
- Lessen depression and anxiety.
- Promote tissue regeneration, reducing scar tissue and stretch marks.
- Pump oxygen and nutrients into tissues and vital organs, improving circulation.
- Reduce postsurgery adhesions and swelling.
- Reduce spasms and cramping.
- Relax and soften injured, tired, and overused muscles.
- Release endorphins—amino acids that work as the body’s natural painkiller.
- Relieve migraine pain.
A Powerful Ally
There’s no denying the power of bodywork. Regardless of the adjectives we assign to it
(pampering, rejuvenating, therapeutic) or the reasons we seek it out (a luxurious treat, stress relief, pain management), massage therapy can be a powerful ally in your healthcare regimen.
Experts estimate that upwards of ninety percent of disease is stress related. And perhaps nothing ages us faster, internally and externally, than high stress. While eliminating anxiety and pressure altogether in this fast-paced world may be idealistic, massage can, without a doubt, help manage stress. This translates into:
- Decreased anxiety.
- Enhanced sleep quality.
- Greater energy.
- Improved concentration.
- Increased circulation.
- Reduced fatigue.
Furthermore, clients often report a sense of perspective and clarity after receiving a massage. The emotional balance bodywork provides can often be just as vital and valuable as the more tangible physical benefits.
In response to massage, specific physiological and chemical changes cascade throughout the body, with profound effects. Research shows that with massage:
- Arthritis sufferers note fewer aches and less stiffness and pain.
- Asthmatic children show better pulmonary function and increased peak air flow.
- Burn injury patients report reduced pain, itching, and anxiety.
- High blood pressure patients demonstrate lower diastolic blood pressure, anxiety, and stress hormones.
- Premenstrual syndrome sufferers have decreased water retention and cramping.
- Preterm infants have improved weight gain.
Research continues to show the enormous benefits of touch—which range from treating chronic diseases, neurological disorders, and injuries, to alleviating the tensions of modern lifestyles. Consequently, the medical community is actively embracing bodywork, and massage is becoming an integral part of hospice care and neonatal intensive care units. Many hospitals are also incorporating on-site massage practitioners and even spas to treat postsurgery or pain patients as part of the recovery process.
Increase the Benefits with Frequent Visits
Getting a massage can do you a world of good. And getting massage frequently can do even more. This is the beauty of bodywork. Taking part in this form of regularly scheduled self-care can play a huge part in how healthy you’ll be and how youthful you’ll remain with each passing year. Budgeting time and money for bodywork at consistent intervals is truly an investment in your health. And remember: just because massage feels like a pampering treat doesn’t mean it is any less therapeutic. Consider massage appointments a necessary piece of your health and wellness plan, and work with your practitioner to establish a treatment schedule that best meets your needs.
Massage is being embraced more and more by the medical community, which is no surprise when you learn about the many health benefits of massage therapy. And beyond the benefits for specific conditions or diseases, some people enjoy massage for its core ingredient: the healing power of touch. Massage therapy is delivered in a caring, comfortable environment that in turn promotes a sense of empowerment and deeper connections with others. When the health benefits of massage extend beyond simply soothing aches and pains, you have every reason to “pamper” your mind, body and spirit.
I invite you to learn more about the massage services we offer at Jacqueline Jase Face and Body Center, or to download our free guide on what you need to know before your first massage. We look forward to helping you experience all the health benefits of massage therapy.
To a happy, healthy massage!