In this hectic world, people from all walks of life can benefit immensely from a careful and strategic kneading of their bodies. Countless studies have proven that dedicating an hour or so to massage can yield numerous advantages beyond giving you time to slow down and free your mind of typical cares.
Benefits of Therapeutic Massage
Despite being the standard type of massage, therapeutic massage can benefit your health and well-being in numerous ways beyond relaxation. Eleven other remarkable benefits are discussed below:
1. It improves blood circulation which is important for brain health.
One of the leading causes of memory loss among older individuals is the decreased blood flow to the brain
Therapeutic massage, with its careful stretching and pulling, releases contracted muscles and naturally occurring toxins in the body for improved blood circulation around all vital organs. Therefore, it can help resolve circulation problems that lead to poor memory and diminished cognitive abilities.
2. It can help develop a stronger immune system.
Therapeutic massage therapy can boost the activity level of white blood cells. These cells are crucial to the immune system as they produce antibodies that destroy certain pathogens. At the same time, white blood cells also ingest pathogens that cause communicable diseases and kill them off.
3. It can reduce anxiety.
Massage has the ability to neutralize stress hormones (cortisol) by stimulating the release of endorphins, also known as the “happy hormones.” Endorphins improve mood as well as relieve pains that aggravate anxiety. Likewise, they help create better quality sleep, which is integral to mental health.
4. It can improve quality of sleep.
Therapeutic massage sessions have been found to improve quality of sleep. This is mainly because massage stimulates the body’s release of serotonin. This is a neurotransmitter that not only helps people feel calm but also diminishes pain.
Here’s another fun fact about how massage is linked to sleep: An hour of massage is actually as good as a full night’s sleep. So, if you simply cannot catch some zzzs because of your busy schedule, get a massage.
A single session is all you need to rest and reinvigorate your body.
5. It can improve or restore the body’s flexibility.
If you wish to increase the range of your physical motions, therapeutic massage can help significantly. Since it pulls and stretches muscles, connective tissues, ligaments and joints, your body always feels more fluid after.
If you have suffered an injury that constricted your movements for some time, therapeutic massage can provide the necessary stimulation for improved blood circulation. This, then, will make sure that blood gets to deliver oxygen and essential nutrients to your muscles and joints for faster recovery so your body can move like it used to.
6. It can improve your posture.
Therapeutic massage can counter the effects of sitting in an awkward position for long hours. The pain that is concentrated on the neck, shoulders and lower back are quickly relieved during a massage session.
After the session, you will find that it is so much easier to hold a healthy posture. There’s no more of that stiffness you feel around your shoulders and lower back when pulling your spine straight.
7. It can normalize blood pressure.
While there is no established study that proves how massage actually normalizes blood pressure, there are substantial bits of evidence of therapeutic massage resulting in the drop in blood pressure of patients with high blood pressure.
According to MayoClinic.com, it may have been due to the fact that high blood pressure is often triggered by stress. And since massage is known to diminish stress, managed stress, then, leads to managed blood pressure.
It is important to mention, however, that massage for people with hypertension should only be performed with the approval of a physician.
8. It can prevent reliance on pain medication.
People who suffer from chronic pains (such as fibromyalgia and arthritis) can grow less reliant on medication. With the ability of therapeutic massage to reduce or eliminate pain, those with chronic pain can take their medication less frequently, which can actually contribute to better physical health.
Synthetic medicines can damage the liver and kidneys in the long run. They contain ingredients that are completely alien to the body, thus requiring the organs a much longer time to “identify and accept.”
This process overworks the organs and always leads to some damage that gets worse over time.
So, if you are someone who experiences chronic pain, you can reduce the frequency of taking you pain medication and be able to prevent your organs from getting overworked to failure.
9. It teaches people to relinquish control.
Individuals who constantly need to be on top of things lead high-tension lives. But once they start getting therapeutic massage, they come to understand and appreciate the importance of surrendering certain situations to more able hands.
That is the massage experience. It’s all about recognizing that there are people who can take care of you better than you can. So, “surrendering” is necessary to regain your well-being.
After seeing and feeling the positive results of your “surrender,” you will find yourself more yielding to other people’s contribution to your wellness.
10. It can make skin healthier.
As previously mentioned, massage can get rid of toxins in the body. These toxins can target the skin in different ways. They can clog pores and make skin sensitive and prone to flare-ups.
Likewise, massage can promote healthy sebum production, which is crucial in fighting aging. The right amount of sebum can prevent the early appearance of fine line and wrinkles.
It’s worth noting as well that therapeutic massage can prepare the skin for the proper absorption of nutrients from essential oils and skin care products. Nourished skin is resistant to infection and it heals so much faster.
11. It can relieve headaches.
Whether it’s a regular headache or a full-blown migraine, massage can definitely help. The strategic manipulation of the joints, ligaments and muscles can trigger the production of the body’s pain-fighting hormones – serotonin and endorphins. These hormones can block pain signals and provide relief from your headache.
Another thing massage does to relieve a bad headache is it promotes better circulation. The brain needs adequate amounts of oxygen and nutrition, and massage is one effective method of ensuring this vital organ gets what it needs to function and “feel” good.
All these cement the fact that massage is good for you. If there’s any form of self-care that you should be doing now, it’s definitely a massage.
Marc Innes is the Owner and Principal of the School of Natural Therapies , a training school for Massage & Holistic Therapies located in London. Marc developed an interest in all things complementary to Allopathic Medicine, in particular, Reiki Healing and EFT, which culminated in running a successful teaching and ‘energy healing’ practice. Marc is passionate about the massage and complementary therapy industry.