Health benefits of a massage

  

Health benefits massage

Even though most people turn to massages to relax and pamper themselves, getting the right can also have surprising health benefits. In fact, massage therapy as a method to improve health is becoming more and more popular. What once was an alternative approach is now becoming much more mainstream.

Massage therapy is based on hands-on techniques designed to increase circulation, relieve tension, reduce stress, relieve anxiety, improve sleep, and promote relaxation from head to toe, among other benefits. If you are tense, need to unwind, have an injury or have extensive muscle/nerve tissue damage, massage therapy might be the right approach for you. Here are some of the benefits of a massage:
It is relaxing
This is the most obvious benefit, but it's still important nonetheless as stress can be very bad for your body and mind. When you are tense or under stress, your body produces unhealthy levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. An excess of this hormone in the body can lead to weight gain, sleeplessness, digestive problems, and headaches. Massage therapy works lowering cortisol levels in the body. Thanks to the therapeutic benefits of a massage, after only one session, the body enters recovery mode. This form of therapy is also known for sparking feelings of relaxation, improved mood, while reducing stress levels.
It reverses the effects of sitting down for too long
According to Aaron Tanasin, a massage practitioner and owner at Paleolife Massage Therapy in Canada, “Most individuals are dealing with some kind of postural stress. More often than not [that stress] tends to manifest in the shoulders and neck.”
Desk workers are more prone to suffer from more advanced forms of postural stress, which manifests itself as pain or weakness in the low back and glutes. These symptoms tend to signify prolonged periods of sitting. Massage, however, can counteract the effects of sitting for too long.
It relieves muscle pain
Massage therapy promotes muscle relaxation by targeting the source of the body's pain via eliminating tense muscles, increasing flexibility, and providing relaxation to the affected muscles and, thus, the whole body. Massage also boosts circulation to the affected or injured muscles, which in turn increases nutrients and oxygen to the damaged tissues. This stimulation of the affected areas reduces effiness stiffness and edema (swelling) in the muscles and joints, at the same time it increases flexibility to help reduce pain.
According to Tanson, massages can help assuage the pain and uneasiness that comes from sore muscles. According to Tanson, “massage increases and improves circulation. Just like rubbing your elbow when you knock it on a table helps to relieve the pain.” Further studies have proved that massage therapy can be very effective to treat chronic back pain.
This form of therapy also releases endorphins, which in turn boost the dopamine and serotonin levels in the body. These hormones benefit the body physically as well as emotionally, hence promoting healing, pain management, and feelings of euphoria; they also work calming the nerves.
It can be used to treat anxiety and depression
Massage therapy can help reduce stress levels, help to treat anxiety and depression, and ultimately, over time it can boost energy levels, reduce pain, and stimulate individuals on physical as well as emotional levels. Research has shown that consistent massage sessions can reduce trigger sources for anxiety, hostility, tension, and depression.
Human touch, in a context that is safe, friendly and professional, can be incredibly therapeutic and relaxing,” says Tanason.
According to a study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, patients who were depressed and anxious were much more relaxed and happy after a massage.
It improves sleep patterns
A massage is good to get a restful sleep. “Massage promotes relaxation and sleep in those undergoing chemo or radiation therapy,” stated Lisa Marie de Miranda, registered massage therapist and kinesiologist at Paleolife Massage Therapy.
It boosts immunity
According to a study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, massage can boost patients' white blood cell count, which is vital for a strong immune system.
It relieves headaches
Rather than relying on pills, next time you get a headache or if you suffer from migraines, it might be worth it to get a massage. “Massage decreases frequency and severity of tension headaches,” says de Miranda.
According to a study from Granada University in Spain, patients with chronic tension headaches perceived changes only after one session of massage therapy.
It Can Help Lower Blood Pressure
Regular massage therapy sessions can have the surprising effect of reducing blood pressure levels, according to recent research. Further studies have shown that a consistent massage program can both systolic (upper number) and diastolic (lower number) blood pressure. In turn, lower blood pressure levels can help to prevent a heart attack, stroke, and/or kidney failure, as well as many other health issues.

 

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