Anyone who has had a massage will agree that it was relaxing and they felt better than when they arrived. So why not have one on a regular basis? It may simply look like a lot of pressing and kneading on skin, but massage is actually a scientific process. The reason you feel different after a massage is because it is healing and invigorating tired, aching or injured muscles. Massage could aid recovery, prevent and eliminate injuries, reduce stress and even enhance metabolism and circulation. Many look at massages as a luxury item, but it should be considered as part of a wellness plan.
Here are just a few of the benefits of getting regular massages:
- Massage Reduces Stress. Stress is a common trigger of many illnesses and diseases, so it’s important to find ways to reduce our stress levels. Getting regular massages is a great stress reliever. Massage therapy reduces cortisol levels, and increases levels of serotonin and dopamine (also known as the “happy hormones”). Not only that, but getting a massage takes you out of the chaos of your day-to-day life and forces you to relax and take some time for yourself.
- Massage Enhances Immunity. Studies have shown that massage actually increases white blood cell count. Massage also increases blood and lymph circulation, which is very important for overall immune system health. The lymphatic system is responsible for trapping and eliminating bacteria and toxins from our bodies.
- Massage Reduces the Effects of Long Spent Sitting. The average American spends 8-9 hours of their day sitting–between the time spent sitting at their desk and time spent behind the wheel of your car. It’s widely known that sitting in these positions causes distress in your muscles. It affects your posture, and overstretches both upper and lower back muscles, weakening them. Regular massage can help counteract some of this damage and reduce neck and back pain.
- Massage Helps You Manage Anxiety and Depression. Massage therapy can be used as part of your overall treatment plan to manage disorders like depression or anxiety. Massage is soothing, nurturing and relaxing. It can improve your state of mind if you concentrate on releasing negative thoughts during the treatment. You can incorporate visualization exercises into your massage therapy, too.
- Massage Improves Sleep. Not only can massage encourage a restful sleep, it also helps people who can’t otherwise comfortably rest. It releases tension and pain in your muscles which allows you to be more comfortable at bedtime.
Remember, your body strives to maintain optimum health by keeping all of its systems in balance. Along with proper nutrition, exercise and rest, massage relaxes tense muscles and stimulates the body’s communication lines to help it do its job — and to keep you feeling your best.