10 Amazing Benefits of Massage Therapy
With the history of massage dating back 3000 years to ancient China, you know there has to be something to it. Unsurprisingly, there is. Actually, there's quite a lot to it.
There are many different types of massage with different areas of focus, but they all share certain restorative and healing properties. In short, massage therapy can do a whole lot more than just make you feel good.
Curious about what benefits it has? You're in luck. Here's a list of the top 10 benefits of massage therapy.
1. Pain Relief
There are many things that separate a qualified massage therapist from someone offering up massages at the mall. One of those things is the ability to employ massage to alleviate pain.
If you suffer from chronic neck or back pain, massage therapy can be an excellent way to help treat it. A could massage therapist will be able to target problem areas and develop a personal treatment plan to help reduce your pain.
Anyone who lives in near constant pain and discomfort knows how draining it can be. Look into massage therapy as a possible solution.
2. Stress Relief
Knowing how much stress chronic pain can cause, it's no mystery why massage therapy helps to relieve stress. But there's more to the picture than that.
For one thing, some relaxation time coupled with therapeutic personal care alleviates stress for obvious reasons. Who doesn't like to lay down and get a great backrub after all?
Beyond that though, some studies indicate that massage therapy can have a serious chemical effect on stress. Not only does it boost levels of the happiness-inducing chemicals serotonin and oxytocin, it also reduces levels of the stress-causing chemical cortisol.
Massage therapy quite literally fights stress on a chemical and biological level.
3. Purges Toxins
When our lymphatic system is stimulated, it encourages the purging of toxins from our body. Massage therapy kick starts that process by stimulating your body's soft tissue.
The amount of toxins we absorb through what we consume, the air we breathe, and the waste our bodies make is pretty staggering. Being able to purge that through massage sounds pretty good, yeah?
Be sure to drink a lot of water after your session. After those toxins are released, you'll need a way to get them the heck out of there.
4. Relaxes Muscles
This is a no-brainer. After all, massage therapy is working directly with your muscles to help ease tension and eradicate pain.
However, muscle relaxation has other positive health benefits. For example, your breathing and heart rate slow when your muscles are relaxed. This, in turn, promotes health in other ways.
Relaxed muscles also have a ton of benefits that continue long after your session is over, which we'll discuss below.
5. Improves Sleep
Those who suffer from chronic pain, stress, and other related ailments know that all those things make getting a good night's sleep seem like an impossible task. If you've been paying attention, you know that massage therapy helps alleviate each and every one of those conditions.
One of the great things about massage therapy is the residual effects. When it relaxes your muscles, that doesn't just last for the duration of the session. It can often last days after it. That means you'll be experiencing symptom relief long after you leave the table, which in turn leads to a cozy 8 hours of shuteye.
Since massage therapy helps you get to sleep and stay asleep, it makes sense that you'd be more well-rested and energized. Turns out, 7-8 hours of sleep really does help a lot.
But there are other reasons it helps with energy. Remember how we mentioned that massage induces the release of serotonin and oxytocin? Well, that can help you feel energized too.
Depression and anxiety are a drain. Quite literally, they sap energy and even have physical effects. When massage therapy works to alleviate those conditions, a renewed sense of vigor takes their place.
7. Helps Reduce Depression and Anxiety
Let's talk about a point we've touched on a few times so far in this list. Your body's mental and physical functions and health are intertwined in so many ways it's hard to fathom. Which is why it makes sense that massage therapy can induce chain reactions of positive effects.
Pretty high towards the top of the chain is the relief of depression and anxiety. As stated earlier, it achieves this by promoting the release of serotonin and oxytocin. In fact, some studies have shown that it increases the levels of those chemicals by 31%.
8. Increases Flexibility
Part of continued health means that you've got to do more than just get a massage. Luckily, massage therapy makes doing those things much easier.
By relaxing your muscles, it makes stretching easier. In turn, stretching regularly helps fend off muscle cramps and pain. It's one long cycle of positive effects.
9. Reduces Swelling
If you suffer from any condition that causes swelling, massage therapy can be an excellent way to help relieve the symptoms.
It's true that massage therapy won't cure the condition itself in this case, but it will help reduce the discomfort associated with it. Swelling is often caused by water build up. By stimulating the soft tissue around the site of the swelling, it helps release that water and reduce irritation.
10. Improves Immune System
We've mentioned several times that massage therapy kickstarts a chain reaction of positive events in your body and brain. In fact, it kickstarts so many processes that it's impossible to cover them all here.
But for the sake of interest, we can cover an odd one. Massage therapy can actually help with seasonal allergies. Seriously!
When you pair massage therapy with aromatherapy, it can help boost lymphatic drainage in such a way that alleviates allergy symptoms. If that interests you, keep reading for more info.
Massage Therapy Could be Right for You
As you can see, massage therapy does a lot more good than you likely realized. If you're having trouble with any of these things, consider checking it out and seeing if it's right for you. You might be surprised at the results!
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