Massage therapy is hands down one of the best things you can do for your health. As if laying down for nearly an hour or more, while a trained massage therapist kneads and rubs on your achy muscles until they feel loose and relieved wasn’t enough of a treat, you also receive a handful of health benefits from getting massages. From as early as 2700 B.C., massage was used by several ancient cultures to treat injuries and cure deadly conditions, and became the preferred treatment for sports and war injuries. Massage therapy continues to hold its place as one of the most effective, safe and natural ways to treat mental and physical ailments, such as stress, pain, anxiety and depression. Here are the top 10 benefits of massage therapy:
- Pain Relief
One of the biggest reasons people get massages is to relieve pain. Whether it’s chronic pain from an illness or cramps from excessive exercising, massage therapy is the key to relieving pain in a holistic, noninvasive manner. Depending on your health, level of pain and exercise routine, there are various types of massages to trigger certain tissues and relieve different levels of pain. Massages provide pain relief through applied pressure, muscle relaxation and increased circulation. With regular massage therapy sessions, patients can reduce muscle cramps and spasms, stiffness and prevent headaches and backaches.
- Stress Relief
Stress affects everyone in one way or another, but if you’re like one of the millions of people who deal with it every day, you’ve got to manage it. One of the best ways to relieve stress and keep stress-hormone levels in control is to get regular massages. Not only will you be overcome with relaxation and serenity during a massage, but you’ll also experience reduced pain and stress with every rub, stroke and knead on your achy muscles. Massage therapy also raises the body’s production and release of endorphins that enhance your mood and boost immunity. Reducing your stress levels will do wonders for your current mental and physical health, while preventing potential diseases or stress-related conditions.
- Increases Circulation
Get your blood flowing and stimulate the lymphatic systems through regular massage therapy. When the massage therapist applies pressure, stimulates muscles and relieves pain, your circulatory system is hard at work pumping oxygen and nutrients into tissues and organs. Increased circulation improves blood flow, removes waste away from muscles and internal organs, lowers blood pressure and improves overall body function. Certain massages and techniques will improve the flow of lymph, a bodily fluid that fights infection and disease, as well as drain excess lymph through manual drainage.
- Boosts Immunity
A strong immune system will help you fend off colds and fight infections fast. Unfortunately, poor nutrition, lack of sleep and stress have weakened our immune systems, making us more susceptible to illness. A tried-and-tested way to boost your immunity is to get massages. Massage therapy can increase your body’s natural ability to protect itself and keep you healthy when others are sick.
- Improves Posture and Flexibility
Regular massage therapy can do wonders for your posture and flexibility. Massage therapy loosens and relaxes muscles, which relieves pressure points and gives joints a greater range of motion. Once pressure points are relieved, the body can position itself properly and develop a natural posture that doesn’t cause pain.
- Lowers Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is a serious condition that could lead to a heart attack, kidney failure or a stroke. There are several factors that cause high blood pressure, with stress, anxiety and hostility as major contributors. One way to combat high blood pressure and prevent such conditions is massage therapy. Regular massages have been found to lower blood pressure, by reducing stress-hormone levels that increase the chance for depression, anxiety and anger. Being pain-and stress-free will greatly affect your blood pressure and allow you to relax your mind.
- Relaxes Muscles and Mind
Considering the amount of stressors that surround us every day, it can be difficult to allow our minds and bodies to fully relax. Massage therapy is one of the easiest ways to achieve a relaxed state of mind because you are free of responsibilities and control. Massage therapy loosens and relaxes tense, overworked muscles by working out knots and pains that cause discomfort. In addition to relaxing your body, massage therapy calms your mind and allows you to reach a state of much-needed relaxation and serenity.
- Rehabilitates Injuries
Physical therapy, occupational therapy and other forms of rehabilitation are important to the healing and recovery of injuries. But just because physical rehabilitation is over, doesn’t mean you won’t experience pain or additional injuries from the original problem area. This is where massage therapy fits in as a supplement to standard rehab. Massage therapy will help increase circulation, relax muscles, increase flexibility and posture and reduce recovery time, while easing stress that may be intensified from painful injuries.
- Flushes Bodily Toxins
Massage therapy plays an important role in clearing toxins from your body. Regular massages can flush out lactic acid build-up in muscles, promote sinus drainage, loosen mucus in the lungs and break up scar tissue. Flushing out toxins and clearing the normal byproducts of muscle metabolism can result in reduced fatigue, improved stamina and accelerated healing of muscles or injuries.
- Regulates Blood Sugar Levels
Massages have the power to help regulate blood sugar levels of people with and without diabetes. Through various massages and techniques, blood sugar levels are reduced to allow for greater mobility and elasticity in the body. In addition to regulated blood sugar levels, massage therapy also reduces anxiety and depression in children with diabetes.