Regular massage therapy has been proven to help relieve anxiety, regulate sleep, improve posture, and loosen up tight muscles, tendons and connective tissue that cause aches and pains. It’s even been shown to help alleviate the symptoms of chronic illnesses like migraines, fibromyalgia, and arthritis. In other words, a massage doesn’t just feel good—it’s actually incredibly beneficial for your health. Here are 3 proven health benefits of massage therapy.
1. It Combats Stress, Anxiety & Depression
When our bodies undergo stress, they involuntarily respond by releasing adrenaline and cortisol. Too much cortisol in the body can lead to weight gain, insomnia, fatigue, high blood pressure, and a range of other detrimental effects. Massage therapy is one of the most effective ways of reducing cortisol. One study, 50 subjects were shown to have a far lower level of cortisol present after undergoing a 60-minute massage.
Another study showed that participants had far higher levels of dopamine and serotonin after being massaged. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that regulates mood and sleep and is known affectionately as the “happy hormone”. This could mean that massage therapy is an effective treatment for treat insomnia, anxiety, and depression, although research so far is limited.
The best kind of massage therapy for reducing stress and boosting the happy hormone would be one that is softer and relaxing. If you’re after something softer and more relaxing, it’s important to communicate this to your therapist. They’ll use fluid movements to increase blood flow and ease tension, and avoid using deep-tissue techniques which can sometimes be uncomfortable.
2. It Relieves Chronic Pain And Improves Posture
Human bodies are incredibly unique, and all of us carry tension in different parts of our body. Tension in the muscles can feel like small, painful balls—also known as knots or trigger points. This happens when muscle fibers start to adhere to one another due to lack of movement, or a biomechanical issue. Muscle knots are common but that doesn’t mean they’re harmless. A large knot can cause severe pain that radiates to other areas.
Lower back pain is one of the most common pain-related complaints doctors hear. It’s often caused by poor posture, a weak core, and muscle tension in the legs and lower back. Regular massages can treat chronic lower pain and interrelated postural issues by loosening muscles and breaking up the fibers. Relaxed muscles lead to a greater range of motion, and allow the body to resume its natural and healthy posture.
If you’re suffering from poor posture and aches and pains in your back or neck, a deep tissue massage is the perfect way to get some relief. Your therapist should be able to locate your knots quite quickly, and remove or reduce them by using a combination of firm pressure and trigger point release techniques.
3. It Improves Circulation and Detoxifies The Body
The physical act of massaging a encourages the movement of blood through the stagnant and congested areas of your body. When muscles are rubbed, squeezed, pressed and then released, new blood is able to flow quickly into areas that were previously blocked due to tension. New, nutrient-rich blood can then flow into damaged muscles to help promote healing.
Studies show that regular massage also helps drain lymph and other waste fluids from stagnant areas of the body. Lymph and other waste products are then released through the urinary tract. A massage that focuses on detoxifying the body can efficiently target the lymphatic system and help your immune system function at an optimal level. Detox massages can also help remove lactic acid from muscle tissue, alleviating exercise-related muscle soreness and fatigue.
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