Massage is one of the oldest healing arts dating back over 3,000 years. Today the benefits of massage are widely accessible and have established medical value. Massage, somatic and bodywork therapies are defined as the application of various techniques to the soft tissues and muscular structure of the human body.
A single massage session can have a significant impact when it comes to alleviating the symptoms of stress. It can lower the heart rate as well as cortisol levels. Since cortisol is the body’s “stress hormone,” the lower this is, the better off you are.
In addition, it can dramatically relieve anxiety, get rid of headaches, alleviate stress-related insomnia, and multiple other health issues related to stress. For the most part, if stress causes or agitates a condition, massage therapy can usually help mitigate or even alleviate the ailment.
Improves Blood Circulation
One of the results of massage is getting blood to flow in and out of various areas of the body through the pressure on the muscles. This improves the flow of the circulatory system, helping the body to more effectively get toxins out and nutrients in to the muscles and other various parts of the body.
This improved circulation can also help the body’s natural recovery process when it comes to injuries. Research has shown that regular massage therapy can dramatically decrease the recovery time after an individual suffers an injury. Sports professionals use massage therapy as a part of their recovery regimen when it comes to injuries with great success.
Through relaxing tense muscles, massage therapy can help reduce or even eliminate posture issues. Considering the impact that poor posture can have on the body, this can prevent health issues before they even happen. When working with someone familiar with postural distortions, the massage therapist can even recognize and point out the specific problem areas and what to do in order to prevent the tension in those particular muscles.
Boosts the Immune System
Research has shown that individuals receiving regular massage therapy have better immune function. The primary cause of this was shown to be an increase in the activity level of the immune system’s natural “killer cells.”
Studies have shown time and time again that mood can have a dramatic impact on the immune system and overall well-being of the body. When the tension is released from the body, the tight muscles are relaxed, and the blood flow is improved, this improved feeling of well-being typically improves mood.
That elevation in mood not only helps to boost immune function, but improves a variety of other bodily functions as well, including sleep, memory, motor skills, and much more.
While massage therapy has plenty of benefits, note that it is not for everyone. Individuals with certain conditions should not begin massage therapy without consulting their healthcare professional first.
Those conditions include:
- Thrombocytopenia (a shortage of platelets in the blood)
- Deep vein thrombosis (blood clots in veins, most commonly in the leg regions)
- Those that require blood-thinning medications
- Those with bleeding disorders
- Fractures, breaks, or external wounds
If you have any conditions that you feel may make massage therapy unsuitable for you, be sure to consult your doctor or other healthcare professional first prior to beginning massage therapy.
Otherwise, feel free to incorporate massage into a healthy and highly beneficial part of your regimen.