Massage is not just a feel-good way to indulge or pamper yourself. It can also be a powerful tool to help you take charge of your health and wellbeing. In short, there are many benefits of massage. Below we have highlighted below the three main areas in which there is particularly good scientific evidence supporting the role of massage.
What are the main benefits of massage?
Stress and Relaxation
Adrenaline and cortisol are both stress hormones which are released to boost your heart rate and blood sugar level. These are prehistoric reactions that were part of human survival. However, when there is never any relief from stress, it can manifest in physical symptoms. These include headaches, upset stomach, elevated blood pressure, chest pain, insomnia, anger, drug and alcohol abuse, and depression to name but a few.
Experts estimate that 90% or more of disease is stress-related. High levels of cortisol and adrenaline have been linked to cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer. Nothing ages you faster, internally and externally, than high stress. It may be unrealistic to eliminate anxiety and pressure altogether. However, massage can, without a doubt, help manage stress.
Two things happen during a massage. Firstly, stress hormones are decreased and, secondly, endorphins, the “feel good” hormones, are increased. The increase in endorphins, serotonin and dopamine, results in a feeling of calm relaxation. These, in turn, make chronic and acute stress much easier to overcome. Stress relief alone can improve your vitality and state of mind.
By decreasing cortisol and adrenaline levels, rest and recovery can take place. This potentially improves your health profile and disease risk. A regular massage programme can decrease blood pressure, which, as a consequence, can contribute to lowering the odds of having a heart attack, kidney failure or a stroke. Recent studies have shown the benefits of massage to cancer patients in reducing pain and nausea associated with treatment. It has also shown to improving emotional state as well.
Poor posture is the number one culprit for sore necks and backs. When you hunch forward (sitting at a desk, driving a car, etc), your body is incorrectly aligned. Poor posture forces some muscles to work incredibly hard while others get weaker and shorten in length. Massage can relieve pain and loosen tight muscles. This allows your body to position itself in its natural and pain free posture.
Breathing can be affected by high levels of stress. In order to combat this, massage can play an important role by training the body how to relax and, thus, help improve breathing. Respiratory issues, such as allergies, sinus problems, asthma and bronchitis, are one group of conditions that can benefit from massage therapy. In addition, when the parasympathetic nervous system responds to massage, breathing rate slows and becomes deep and regular.
Massage therapy has always been a cornerstone in the treatment of musculoskeletal and neuromuscular conditions, post-operative recovery and sports injuries. Not only does it improve circulation to the area promoting repair and healing, but it also flushes out toxins in the muscle that build up following injury. Massage therapy is essential to reduce pain and scar tissue formation. In addition, it stretches soft tissue structures in order to recover good flexibility. However, you do not have to wait for an injury to have a massage. If received regularly, massage can improve athletic performance and speed up recovery. Regardless of your level of participation in exercise, you can benefit from massage by improving body conditioning and preventing injury.
Studies have shown that, in relation to exercise and athletic participation, massage can:
- Reduce muscle tension and spasm
- Help athletes monitor muscle tone
- Promote relaxation
- Increase range of motion around a joint or within a muscle
- Improve soft tissue function
- Support recovery
- Decrease muscle stiffness and fatigue after exercise
- Reduce inflammation and swelling
- Enhance athletic performance
- Prevent injuries
Muscle injuries are more common now than they were 50 years ago. This is not because we are exercising harder, but because we are more sedentary. As we age, our joints tend to tighten which reduces the range of motion and flexibility of our joints. Regular massage can keep our joints fluid and, as a result, less injury prone.
When the body is under a large amount of stress, the excess of stress hormones suppresses the immune system. This leaves the body more vulnerable to infection and sluggish to recover. Clinical studies show that regular massage can increase the immune system’s activity level, boost lymphocytes (white blood cells) and decrease the number of T-cells. This, in turn, improves the body’s immune function overall.
Find out how you can benefit from adding massage therapy to your health and wellness regimen by contacting us on firstname.lastname@example.org or 020 8789 3881. You will also find information about our range of massage services on our website.