health benefits of massageThe health benefits of massage are increasingly being recognised. Here are some of the ways it helps with physical and mental well-being.

Massage is considered an holistic, complementary or alternative therapy. Research shows that there are many beneficial effects from the different types of massage therapyIt’s now being used alongside standard treatment for a wide range of medical conditions.

10 Health Benefits of Massage

1. Anxiety and Depression

We all experience stress, anxiety or depression at some point in our life. High stress levels not only cause us mental pain but can lead to physical illness. Studies have shown that up 90% of disease is stress related. Massage can reduce your stress and anxiety and enhance your mood.

Massage boosts the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine that are involved in depression. Depressed and anxious patients receiving massage therapy have been found to be more relaxed and happy.

 

2. Pain

Massage is effective in treating a number of painful conditions including headaches and migraine, fibromyalgia, myofascial pain syndrome, arthritis, premenstrual syndrome and pain post-surgery.

A 2011 study found that massage therapy may be effective for chronic back pain with benefits lasting at least 6 months. It improves mobility by easing joints. It is also used to treat or prevent soft tissue strains and sports injuries, muscle cramps and spasms, stiffness and body aches.

 

3. Skin Health

Massage can improve the condition your skin and reduce early signs of aging by increasing the blood supply carrying nutrients and oxygen to your skin.

It also removes dead skin cells and cellulite, and improves the elasticity of your skin. These benefits are due to the movements of the therapist’s hands across your skin and underlying tissue.

 

4. Blood Circulation

Massage helps improve your blood circulation. As a result, oxygen and nutrients get to your tissues, vital organs and extremities more quickly. It also helps release red blood cells produced in your bone marrow that play a vital part in oxygenating your blood. Increased circulation also removes waste from muscles and internal organs, and improves overall body function.

Massage also lowers blood pressure. High blood pressure can lead to heart attacks, kidney failure or stroke. Studies have found that massage lowers blood pressure by reducing levels of stress-hormones that affect your blood pressure.

 

5. Breathing

Massage therapy:

  • Encourages deep breathing.  When you’re stressed, your breathing is rapid and shallow. As a result, you don’t get enough oxygen and you’re not breathing out enough carbon dioxide. Massage stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system which slows and deepens breathing.
  • Relaxes and improves your posture. When you’re relaxed, you stand more upright and don’t slouch which allows your lungs to expand and you breathe more deeply.
  • Loosens mucus in the lungs. Massage can help if you suffer from a respiratory disease like asthma or bronchitis where excess mucus accumulate in the lungs.

 

6. Healing

Massage promote re-growth of tissue and reduces scar tissue and stretch marks. It does this improving circulation to the affected parts.

 

7. Immunity

Massage boosts immunity and can increase your body’s natural ability to protect itself. A 2010 study found that massage boosts white blood cell count that play a vital role in defending the body from disease.

Massage also stimulates the production of antibodies which help fight disease. A strong immune system helps you fend off infections and protect you from serious illnesses.

 

8. Digestion

Massage aids the digestion process. The mechanical action of massage assists the process of digestion and peristalsis.  It also speeds up the elimination of waste products and toxins from the body and alleviates constipation.

 

9. Cancer

Studies have shown that massage helps reduce the pain and anxiety associated with cancer. Women with breast cancer who received massage therapy three times a week reported feeling less depressed and less angry.

 

10. Well-being

Massage is effective as a treatment but it has beneficial effects even if you’re not ill.  You can have massage therapy for the feelings of caring, comfort and connection that it produces. It gives a feeling of wellbeing, stills the mind, and allows you to experience a sense of inner peace.

Research continues to discover more and more health benefits of massage to help treat a variety of conditions.

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