Physical relaxation is one the main benefits of massage therapy, so, naturally, most people only get massages when they need to relax. However, the health benefits of massages go far beyond this.
There has been a lot of scientific research in this area and most of it shows that massage therapy is effective for back pain, tight muscles, compressed nerves, fibromyalgia, insomnia and depression. It also has beneficial effects on certain symptoms associated with cancer, arthritis and high blood pressure.
How Exactly Does Massage Therapy Work?
Massage improves blood circulation, enhancing delivery of nutrients and oxygen to the cells and removal of waste products. This is good news for anyone who suffers from arthritis or edema – accumulation of fluid in body tissues.
Massage relaxes muscle tissue, which can relieve muscle pain, decrease nerve compression, increase the range of motion of joints, improve performance during exercise and reduce the likelihood of injury. It is beneficial for anyone who suffers from carpel tunnel or sciatica, as well as athletes and people who exercise regularly.
The relaxing effect of massage therapy also helps to reduce blood pressure and lower heart rate. A 45-60 minute massage can reduce average blood pressure by 10 mg Hg and lower heart rate by 10 beats per minutes. All this can be achieved in just one massage session!
Massage therapy can reduce the symptoms of stress, depression and anxiety, according to the American Psychology Association. A massage produces a significant increase in the neurotransmitters that reduce anxiety as well as a decrease in hormones associated with lower anxiety. This helps you to feel less stressed.
Good quality sleep is essential to your health and well-being. In fact, insufficient sleep causes obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and depression.
A massage can help you sleep better, which is great news for anyone who suffers from insomnia or any other health condition that affects their sleep.
A 45 minute massage produces a significant increase in white blood cells, which play a huge role in defending the body from diseases. It also reduces the level of cytokines, which are associated with inflammation. Reduced inflammation can be beneficial if you suffer from asthma or cardiovascular disease.
Massages are generally safe as long as they are performed by a trained medical professional. However, they should not be used in place of conventional health care.
If you have a medical condition and you’d like to try massage therapy, talk to your health care provider. This way, your physician has a full picture of what you’re doing to manage your health.