What Are The Benefits Of Getting A Massage?
In this article, we will discuss 10 benefits of getting a massage and the scientific evidence that backs up these findings.
Back in the day, a massage was only a luxury service available for a small group of people that can afford it; however, these days, it is offered in businesses, clinics, hospitals, and even airports.
This is partially due to how conscious people are becoming about the amazing benefits of getting a massage.
So, what exactly is a massage?
To put it in simple words, a massage is an act of pressing and manipulating the skin, muscles, tendons, and ligaments of the body to relieve stress and induce relaxation; it could range from superficial massage to deep pressure techniques.
Today, massage therapy is advised for some patients to treat various medical conditions, including rotator cuff syndrome, sciatica, insomnia, and even depression.
Now, without further ado, here are some of the most important benefits of massage therapy:
Reduces Muscle Tension
By increasing the amount of blood that reaches the muscles through pressure techniques, a massage can significantly reduce the muscle tension and decrease the post-exertional recovery time.
Additionally, the active and passive contractions of the muscle will help loosen it up along with the attached tendons. All in all, muscle tension will be reduced dramatically after a full body massage.
Lowers Blood Pressure
In a 2011 study, researchers analyzed the effects of massage therapy on blood pressure.
50 participants were divided into two groups; a test group (25 patients) received Swedish massage for 10-15 min, three times a week for 10 sessions and the control group (25 patients) also were relaxed in the same environment with receiving no massage.
At the end of the study, scientists concluded that massage therapy is a very effective method to safely reduce blood pressure levels, especially in patients with pre-hypertension.
Help Reduce Chronic Pain
Chronic pain describes the feelings of pain experienced long after the initial injury took place; it could also be witnessed in patients with idiopathic (unknown origin) pain of the lower back or neck.
When compared to receiving no treatment, chronic pain was considerably improved in patients who received multiple sessions of massage therapy.
Multiple studies have shown the benefits of massage in reducing stress and anxiety while inducing relaxation and feelings of well-being.
This is believed to be mediated by the regulation of hormonal secretion, and in particular, endorphins, which are the hormones responsible for making you feel relaxed and less anxious.
Improved Cardiovascular Health And Enhanced Exercise Performance
Many people don’t realize that one of the benefits of getting a massage is reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and improving endurance during physical exercise.
You see, when getting a massage, the levels of cortisol (a stress hormone) will decrease dramatically. As a result, blood cholesterol and blood pressure will decrease, which are two of the most important risk factors of coronary artery disease.
Moreover, improving your cardiovascular health will enhance your ability to endure more intense physical training, leading to a virtuous cycle.
Helps You Sleep Better
In a 2017 study, researchers found that back massage improves the duration and quality of sleep in patients with congestive health failure. Another study found the same results in adolescent patients with cancer.
This effect is also mediated by the regulation of hormones such as melatonin, which is the main chemical that puts us to sleep. This molecule is secreted by the pineal gland and is directly controlled by the amount of light that reaches the eyes.
Reducing stress and inducing relaxation can create the perfect environment to get better sleep at night.
Relieve Tension Headaches And Migraine
Different subtypes of headaches are some of the most challenging medical conditions to deal with; this is due to their idiopathic nature, chronicity, and the absence of curative therapy.
One of the proposed therapies for tension headaches and migraines is massage therapy, this latter has been shown to significantly decrease the frequency of these episodes.
Additionally, massage therapy reduces the duration of each episode. A 2002 study concluded that “The muscle-specific massage therapy technique has the potential to be a functional, non-pharmacological intervention for reducing the incidence of chronic tension headache.”
Relieve Stress And Anxiety
As we have mentioned earlier, massage therapy regulates the secretion of cortisol, which is the hormone responsible for inducing feelings of stress and anxiety. The chronic release of this hormone can be detrimental to both physical and mental health.
By reducing cortisol, massage therapy can help you feel less stressed and anxious, resulting in more efficiency at rational decision-making and planning your next step.
Help Reduce Arthritis Pain
Arthritis is a medical condition that is oftentimes chronic; it is characterized by the inflammation inside the joint capsule, which leads to the classic symptoms of pain, warmth, redness, and swelling of the joint.
Getting massage therapy routinely can help you relieve your arthritis symptoms considerably.
It is important to consult with your physician before starting any type of massage therapy since some types can worsen your symptoms. For instance, deep tissue massage can exacerbate the symptoms of patients diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Increases Flexibility And Range Of Motion
One final benefit of getting a massage is the increased flexibility and range of motion of articulations; this is especially important in older age-groups when physical activity is reduced.
By active and passive stimulation of the tendons and ligaments, massage therapy will prevent the stiffness of these structures, which will allow you to move more freely and decrease your chance of getting injured.
A 2017 meta-analysis supported this theory when it found the significant improvement of the shoulder’s range of motion in patients who received massage therapy.