When you think of getting a massage, does a tranquil, dimly lit spa come to your mind? Many people get massages for therapeutic reasons and to simply relax or treat themselves. But did you know there is a long list of mental and physical health benefits that massages offer? Here are a few reasons why massages are more than just a guilty pleasure.Massage Therapy
What is Massage Therapy?
Massage therapy, by definition, is the manual manipulation of soft body tissues. These include tendons, ligaments, muscles, and connective tissue. The manipulation is meant to improve a person’s health and well-being. There are actually two types of massage therapy and both serve their own purpose. You’re probably most familiar with relaxation massage therapy, which is also known as a Swedish massage. This is the type of massage you’ll find at a spa or wellness center. Rehabilitative massage is also known as a deep tissue massage and usually performed in a medical setting to treat a specific ailment. Rehabilitative massages are also known as medical, therapeutic or clinical. You can receive this type of massage at a chiropractor’s office, hospital, or other medical facility.
The benefits of massage therapy go beyond simply relaxation, though that is a key element of the practice. Here is a look at all the ways massage therapy can improve your life.
The act of manipulating certain muscles actually releases endorphins in the body, which are those “feel good” chemicals that create a sense of contentment and relaxation. Not only are endorphins released but when your body beings to relax, you’ll experience increased levels of serotonin and dopamine, which also elicit feelings of happiness. Receiving massages on a consistent basis can actually help you better handle stress and stress related symptoms in everyday life.
Relaxation isn’t just a luxury. Certain periods of relaxation are actually required to lead a happy, healthy life. Your body contains a stress hormone known as cortisol. When you’re experiencing stress or tension in your body, high levels of cortisol are produced. This can lead to digestive issues, headaches, and weight gain. Massages are said to help reduce levels of cortisol in patients. This reduction of cortisol also helps your body enter a recovery mode and promote an improved mood and reduced stress for the long-term.
Improves Blood and Oxygen Circulation
The circulation benefits of massage therapy aren’t reserved simply for treating injuries or ailments. Improved circulation from massage actually offers long term benefits as well. Aside from increasing the flow of blood, oxygen and nutrients throughout the body, massage also helps to move blood that is congested or “stuck” in certain areas. Moving this blood makes room for new blood to flow to the muscle tissues. The pressure that your masseuse uses is what actually improves blood flow while simultaneously helping your body get rid of lactic acid. When discussing circulation and massage, it’s important to note that massage promotes circulation of the lymphatic fluids as well. This fluid carries metabolic waste away from your muscles and organs, which promotes overall body function.
Your mind isn’t the only thing that will experience relaxation thanks to massage therapy. Muscle relaxation is also a positive side effect of massage and offers a long list of additional benefits. These include increased flexibility, improved circulation, and reduced pain and stiffness in affected areas. Increased circulation helps bring much needed nutrients and oxygen to injured and impaired muscles. This helps damaged tissues’ repair and recover faster. Stimulating these affected muscles also helps reduce stiffness and swelling, not only in the muscle but the joint as well. This results in decreased pain and discomfort.
Lower Blood Pressure
The relaxing properties of massage therapy certainly lead to reduced overall stress, which can aid in lowering blood pressure. It’s also been proven that the use of long-term massage therapy can help reduce both systolic and diastolic blood pressure count. Long-term massage is said to help reduce feelings of anxiety, stress, and tension, which can help keep blood pressure levels within a healthy range. Low blood pressure will also reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Strengthen Your Immune System
A strong immune system helps the human body fight off disease, infection, and stay healthy. Did you know that indulging in a relaxing massage might actually help strengthen your immune system? It’s not so much the act of massage that will boost your immune system, but instead its ability to ward off stress and other underlying factors that negatively impact your immune system. It’s also interesting to note that regular massages can actually increase your immune system’s cytotoxic capacity and its ability to deliver nourishment throughout the body.
Massage Promotes Overall Well-Being
You don’t have to feel guilty about indulging in a massage anymore because you’re really making an investment in your overall health and well-being. Reduced stress and anxiety, as well as decreased blood pressure and healthier muscles and circulation are all ways that massage therapy can improve your mood. Massage offers both mental and physical benefits, aside from the fact that it feels great!
Article Submitted By Community Writer