We all know that a shoulder massage can help relieve tension when we are stressed. But massage has a great many benefits for your physical and mental well-being that you may not know about. The American Massage Therapy Association indicates that nearly 25% of American adults have gotten a massage in the last year. What is it that they know?
Anxiety and stress
When we are anxious, our muscles become tense. This contraction is often what leads to accompanying problems like headaches, fatigue and inability to sleep. Constricted blood flow can bring on pain anywhere, but especially in the head. Keeping the muscles taut takes a lot of work for the body, so it becomes fatigued more easily. And restful sleep requires a relaxed state.
Massage therapy uses strokes to help the muscles relax. Some techniques cause the various layers of tissue to rub against each other, which causes an increase in blood flow through the tissues. This increase in blood flow can even help calm and prevent migraines.
Back and knee pain
These areas of the body seem to respond particularly well to massage. Think about what you know regarding physical therapy after an injury. Many of the benefits of the therapy come from the gentle manipulation of the joints and muscles. Massage can allow for the same kinds of benefits in other areas of the body.
A good massage not only relaxes the body but also creates a feeling of overall well-being. This positive emotional state can benefit those suffering from depression, be it post-partum or chronic. Physical pain is also one of the hallmarks of major depression, which can be lessened or relieved with massage therapy. Some practitioners believe that just the human touch can be healing for those with depression.
The side effects of cancer treatments like chemotherapy are often very difficult for cancer patients to cope with, and some studies show that massage can lessen those effects or even the symptoms themselves. Besides benefitting the body through the reduction of pain and depression, massage can also boost the immune system, helping the body fight the cancer.
Skin and beauty issues
Massage is also considered a beauty treatment, even for facial wrinkles. Skin benefits from massage because of the increased circulation. The movement also helps break up and release toxins from the muscles and skin, leaving a healthy glow. Of course, the release of tension also helps improve skin.
Great overall benefits
The health benefits from massage seem pretty amazing, but they are backed up by studies that pretty clearly indicate some improvement for physical and emotional problems. While getting a brief shoulder massage from a friend or loved one may feel good, getting a professional massage should leave you feeling amazingly refreshed, relaxed and healthy.
Jeanie Lerche Davis. “The Miracles of Massage Therapy.” Webmd.com.
“Facial Massage.” Massagetherapy101.com.
“Massage: Get in touch with its many health benefits.” Mayoclinic.com.