“Ahhhh…” A professional massage feels nice, but is there more to it?
If you ask anyone who recently made a visit to a massage therapist about their experience, you will probably hear about how relaxed and calm they felt. It’s always nice to relax, but are there true health benefits to massage? It turns out there are many physical and mental benefits to getting one of these soothing experiences.
Massage is a Natural Painkiller
Did you know that pain is the reason a staggering 80 percent of Americans visit the doctor? That’s a lot of sore muscles and chronic back pain for the average doctor to tackle. In addition to that, Americans are being prescribed pain medication at alarming rates, increasing our dependency on our worrying one-pill-fix-all mentality.
Because of the many health benefits of massage, a massage can be the key. Whether you suffer from chronic headaches or you’re simply just sore after a workout at the gym, a massage can help loosen tense muscles and increase blood circulation. When a massage therapist manipulates your various muscle groups, it reduces inflammation throughout your body too. For those of us who have had to take medication for inflammation and for pain separately, this is one massage benefit that hits home.
Think of it like when you accidentally bang your knee on the side of a desk. Your first instinct is likely to hold or rub the area to make it feel better. The pressure you put on the injured area reduces cortisol levels and boosts serotonin in your body, which help to lessen the pain.
Get Authentic Stress Relief Through Massage
Stress is a huge killer in today’s society, and chronic stress causes such mental illnesses as anxiety and depression. The benefits of massage mean that a massage, in combination with essential oils, can help reduce blood pressure, reduce muscular tension, and even help to put the body in relaxation mode. Getting the chance to wind down and relax in a peaceful environment with quiet music and essential oils gives you the opportunity to breathe and clear your mind.
Massage benefits your mind through your body’s reactions. The changes in your body’s cortisol and serotonin levels aren’t just helpful for physical pain; they may also have numerous mental health benefits, such as reducing anxiety.
Beyond changes in your body’s chemistry, the simple act of human touch has also been shown to have therapeutic benefits.
In fact, after receiving a relaxing massage, many people find that they feel a heightened sense of alertness and overall brain power. The relaxing and brain-boosting benefits of massage therapy can also greatly help when applied to specific populations. For example, there are astounding benefits of massage for children with autism, including helping these children with their specific relaxation and focus needs.
Want Better Sleep? A Massage is the Way to Go
One of the main health benefits of massage is better sleep. These days, one of the biggest issues people complain about is difficulty falling asleep. This may be due in part to a world full of bright screens and rapidly changing technology, but if your job requires you to sit in front of a screen, what can you do?
Once again, massage therapy comes to the rescue! Through massage, those boosted serotonin levels don’t just help with muscle pain and anxiety; they can help you drift off into deep sleep as well.
Massage therapy doesn’t just help with falling asleep; it helps promote relaxation so your body can give itself a chance to get rid of that “fight-or-flight” mode and truly rest.
Let a Massage Give You a Boost in Overall Health
The pain-relieving effects of a good massage go beyond simple aches and pains. Those recovering from surgery or injury may find that massage therapy makes their pain more manageable and even aids in the recovery process so they can focus on healing.
Massage therapy has also been shown to facilitate the increase of white blood cells flowing throughout your body. White blood cells help to defend your body against illness and infection, so your immune system will thank you from the moment you lie down on the massage table.
These are the top health benefits of massage, but there are many more reasons a trip to the masseuse will do you some good. Next time you’re having trouble with sleep or pain, try out a massage and see how it helps you!