Massage has so many benefits; most massage therapists could expound the positive results and impacts for hours. So, when I decided to write about the benefits, I randomly picked 6 to discuss.
1. Increases Circulation – This is one of the most important benefits in my opinion. A rule of thumb is, “wherever blood flows, healing goes”. A typical massage is usually a series of pushing and kneading actions of the muscles and body. These actions loosen muscles and tendons, removing restrictions which allow the body to pump more oxygen and nutrients into tissues and vital organs.
According to Eileen Cahalane of Alive Magazine: A person with poor circulation can suffer from a variety of discomforts including pooling of the fluid in the extremities (like the toes), cold hands and feet, fatigue and achiness created by an accumulation of lactic acid in the muscles. Good circulation delivers to tense muscles the oxygen rich blood they need to heal. Increasing the flow of fresh blood to our cells is important for healing damaged organs and muscle tissue. (https://www.massageenvy.com/massage/massage-benefits/improves-circulation/)
2 Improves Sleep – Over 70 million Americans suffer from chronic sleep disorders with many experiencing occasional insomnia. One reason for not getting enough sleep could be chronic pain.
A massage loosens your muscles and allows you to relax. It can also help relieve pain allowing you to relax and sleep better. Being relaxed also allows your mind to quiet enough to slip into a sound and deep sleep.
3. Improves Flexibility – Many people lead a much more sedentary lifestyle than in years past. By not moving as much, joints can stiffen up from lack of use. Age also plays a factor in this equation. Massage can stimulate the body to produce natural lubricants for the joints and help to counteract some of the stiffness.
A massage will loosen your muscles enough for them to fully relax. This relaxation can allow you to achieve a full range of motion. It is a good plan to stretch immediately following your massage and the days following to continue flexibility. Massage with other activities like yoga can facilitate your body to feel versatile and loose.
4. Relieves Muscle Soreness from Exercise – An intense workout can leave you with sore muscles. Massage can benefit you by reducing muscle tightness and decreasing inflammation. Also as mentioned above, the increase of blood circulation also aids in the recovery from exercise. A study conducted by Nina Franklin, postdoctoral fellow in physical therapy at the University of Illinois at Chicago, found those who received massage after exercising reported no soreness 90 minutes later. Those who did not receive massage after exercising reported lasting soreness 24 hours later. (https://healinghouse.com/benefits-of-massage/)
5. Promotes Muscle Relaxation – This is the primary reason most people seek out massage. Relaxation. Massage helps to eliminate tense muscles. We have already talked massage increasing blood circulation. This increased circulation to tense or injured muscles, brings nutrients and oxygen to damaged tissues. The increase of circulation to affected areas helps to reduce stiffness and edema (swelling) and helps to increase flexibility which reduces pain. Endorphins are released with massage. These hormones help to promote healing, pain management and feelings of euphoria as well as to help calm the nerves.
6. Boosts Immunity – When our bodies are stressed or fatigued, our immune systems may not function as well as we want. Relieving stress and fatigue improves the body’s defense system. Researchers from Cedar-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles state that people who received a 45 minute massage had an increased number of lymphocytes, which are white blood cells that play a role in the defense of the body from sickness.
Massage brings other changes as well. Participants in this study also had lower levels of cytokines, which are the molecules that play a role in inflammation. The stress hormone, cortisol, is also decreased with regular massage.
Now that you know a few of the benefits, be sure to schedule those regular massage appointments.
“Massage has had a positive effect on every medical condition we’ve looked at.” – Dr. Tiffany Fields, Director, Touch Research Institute, University of Miami