The Benefits of Massage: The Lo-Down on Getting Rubbed Down
Massage therapy has been used as a therapeutic measure for thousands of years across cultures around the world. The mental and physical benefits promoted through massage are numerous…
Mental benefits include:
- A calm mind
- Increased awareness
- Better focus and concentration
- Increased alertness
Physical benefits range from:
- Improved circulation
- Lower stress levels derived from the body (hormones)
- Increased flexibility in tense muscles
- Promotes the natural healing process
Real Studies Illustrate the Benefits of Massage Therapy
Clinical centers are taking a closer look at massage’s medical benefits. Most notably, Tiffany Field, PhD, who in 1992 founded the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine, the first major center devoted to studying the healing potential of touch.
Dr. Field found that with only a 10 minute chair massage you can lower blood pressure and slow down your heart rate. She documented that massage enhances mental performance, encourages a calm mind, which in turn helps our minds be more conducive to creative thinking, developing plans, organizing thought, and reducing stressful thoughts.
Massage helps people spend more time in a deep sleep, the restorative stage in which your body barely moves. In the studies Dr. Field conducted for fibromyalgia (a common physical condition where a person has long-term, body-wide pain and/or tenderness in joints, muscles etc.) they found that with just 30 minute massage three times a week, fibromyalgia sufferers slept nearly an hour longer . And with the increase in sleep, came less pain.
Ever hear of cortisol? It’s a hormone that’s produced in response to stress. They determined that massage therapy lowers cortisol by an average of 31%! And when cortisol levels drop, serotonin increases (serotonin is a hormone that is known to relieve anxiety), which is one of the body’s anti-pain mechanisms. On the mental side, anxiety is a well known hindrance for many people today. As a natural deep relaxant, massage can significantly reduce anxiety. Did you know anxiety is usually stored the lower back, shoulders, abdomen, and neck?
Little-Known Physical Benefits of Massage
Massage has been known to promote deeper breathing, and even enhance your skin tone and skin health.
We all know that breathing is important, but did you know that decreased oxygen circulation results in headaches, tension aches, and random muscle pain that can accumulate into a significant problem over time? By enhancing your oxygen intake, you will naturally promote the release of toxins and negative energy in the body. As you are removing toxins out of your blood through massage, you are also improving both blood and lymph circulation (lymph is a clear fluid that removes bacteria, transports fat, is vital to the immune system etc.), helping your body to gain strength and maximize your energy level. Efficient circulation also helps in muscle recovery, growth, and promotes the natural healing process.
When massage therapists use high quality oils and creams they can significantly improve the tone and health of your skin after just a few massage sessions. Skin cells are revitalized, moisturized, and replenished naturally. So be sure to ask your massage therapist if they can include essential oils in your next massage.
Botanica Day Spa
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It is interesting how this type of thing can help you so much mentally and emotionally as well as physically. I have actually never gotten a massage, because it wasn’t really my family’s custom growing up; but a friend of mine was talking to me about how much it helps her with stress and I figured I’d give it a shot. This article was really helpful to me and I appreciate how you went over all of the benefits of a massage that people don’t normally think of. Thank you for the helpful information!
[…] massage therapy as a wonderful way to pamper themselves every once in awhile, but the fact is that massages provide so many fantastic benefits that one would be prudent to schedule them on a regular basis. Not only can massages work to relax […]