When most people think about getting a massage, they think about the pampering side of things. Getting a full rub down from a certified professional after a long day seems like something you would do to reward yourself, much like treating yourself to a mani or pedi. As soothing as a massage can be on any given day, there are surprisingly a lot more health benefits than the average person may be aware of.
If you’ve been suffering from chronic pain, high blood pressure, or elevated levels of stress, you’ll be pleased to know that a massage might be just what you need to treat your ailments the natural way. Below are just a few of the surprising health benefits of a massage:
Great for Those Suffering from Depression or Stress
Mental illness plagues many US citizens today – particularly elevated levels of stress and depression. Whether you’ve been clinically diagnosed or have simply been feeling out of sorts lately, a massage can turn that frown upside down. There have been studies that have shown that a massage can actually lower levels of cortisol which is a chemical in the brain that leads to stress. Massages completed by professionals can also increase neurotransmitters in the brain known as serotonin and dopamine. Elevated levels of these neurotransmitters can help in subsiding the feeling of depression.
Relieves Chronic Back and Neck Pain
According to a report in Time Magazine, an average of eight out of ten Americans will suffer from some form of back or neck pain in their lifetime. In most cases, this pain is a direct result of sitting for long periods of time at a desk or in front of a computer screen. A study sought out to prove that a massage can do wonders for this type of pain. Out of a group of 400 participants, the study broke them into groups of individuals that would continue treating their pain with painkillers, and other therapies (excluding massages), the other group continued their pain management regimen however, included massage therapy.
After receiving one 30 minute massage per week for ten weeks, the group who included massage therapy as a treatment option felt less pain than those who did not receive a massage.
Improves Blood Circulation
Those who suffer from diabetes or other illnesses that result in poor blood circulation can greatly benefit from receiving a massage. As the massage therapist is utilizing various techniques to massage the muscles, the pressure is helping the blood to move throughout the body more effectively.
Improves Flexibility and Range of Motion
Unfortunately as we age our bodies don’t act as they did when we were younger. Our joints become tightened with age causing our range of motion to decrease. As the therapist works on areas such as your ligaments, joints, and connective tissues, it loosens up the joints allowing for improved flexibility and range of motion.
Boosts the Immune System
If you’re like me, you’re wondering how in the world getting a massage can help your immune system. However, after thorough research what I found was quite surprising. A professional massage on the regular basis can actually do wonders for your immune system. A massage can actually help to increase the body’s cytotoxic capacity. In other words, it increases the activities of the body’s natural killer cells which help to ward of diseases. Massages can also decrease the amount of T-cells present in the body which help to improve the immune system overall.
Improves Overall Health
Earthlite.com, an online vendor for massage therapy products, points out that getting a routine massage can help your overall health. When you combine the above mentioned health benefits of a massage, it becomes quite apparent how it can make you feel good overall. Lowered blood pressure, improved blood circulation, fewer aches and pains, lower levels of stress and an improved immune system are all effective in helping you to feel healthier inside and out.
So that about sums it up, and this was only the tip of the ice berg. There are plenty of studies that have proven that massage therapy is also great for improving sleep, minimizing the need for pain medications, and even helping to enhance recovery after an injury or surgery. So before you say you’re not sure about paying the high cost of a massage, you may want to ask yourself something. How much are you willing to invest in your overall health? Chances are you’re worth it, even if it’s on a monthly basis.