Massage Therapy – What are the Benefits?
Massage therapy is an alternative treatment approach that has always be quite popular but it is now becoming considered not just a luxury thing but an actual self-care modality.
Massage therapy is now accepted as a mainstream treatment option and is covered as a paramedical benefit by insurance companies. Most benefit plans provide some pretty great coverage for massage therapy treatment and the next step for us is to encourage that people use every dollar of those benefits towards their self-care regime.
Most of us know that Massage therapy involves hands-on techniques that reportedly help to improve circulation, receive muscular tension, reduce feelings of stress and anxiety, promote relaxation and ultimately will help improve the quality of our sleep.
Here are just some of the benefits of getting a regular massage:
1. It is simply relaxing for the body and the mind– When the body is tense and when you are feeling stressed our body will release unhealthy levels of the stress hormone (which we are all aware of), cortisol. Unhealthy levels of cortisol reportedly result in weight gain, insomnia, problems with digestion and headaches. Wow, who doesn’t have these complaints. Our lives are way to stressful and we all simply don’t take the time to care for what is most important, our bodies and our minds. Something as simple as a relaxation massage will help your body begin to enter a bit of a recovery mode, triggering feelings of relaxation and ultimately this kind of self care will result in better sleep, better modes and will help to reduce feelings of anxiety.
2. As indicated above, Massage Therapy can reduce the feelings of stress and anxiety– Not only can massage therapy help reduce the feelings of stress and anxiety, but getting regular massage therapy (USING YOUR BENEFIT PLAN) over a period of time can not only help reduce muscular tension and pain but will in turn help put you in a better mood and stimulate a better feeling in both our bodies and our minds.
3. Massage Therapy reportedly can help reduce blood pressure – We do know that relaxation massage can help with mood and can help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety and in turn, if stress and anxiety are reduced, lower blood pressure and better physically conditioning will follow.There have actually be a number of studies that support the fact that maintaining a regular massage program can reduce both systolic (upper number) and diastolic (lower number) blood pressure. Moreover, it can also reduce cortisol levels within the body. Furthermore, consistent massage sessions can also reduce trigger sources for anxiety, hostility, tension, and depression. In turn, lower blood pressure levels can also reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, and/or kidney failure, as well as many other health issues.
4. A good massage can help with Muscle Relaxation – Typically we get a massage because we have pain and tense muscles or we are needing to increase flexibility and as a whole we would like to relax the entire body. Massage reportedly increases circulation to the affected or injured muscles, which in turn increases nutrients and oxygen to the tissues causing difficulty. In turn, this increased activity to the affected sites reduces stiffness and edema (swelling) in the muscles and joints, as well as increases flexibility to help reduce pain. it is also reported that massage therapy also releases endorphins (those pain-relief hormones), which boost the dopamine and serotonin levels in the body. These hormones assist the body in many ways–physically as well as emotionally. Case in point, they promote healing, pain management, and feelings of euphoria, as well as help to calm the nerves.
5. It Can Help Improve Circulation – The long-term benefits of massage therapy are not to be underestimated. Improved circulation is part of a snowball effect that occurs in the body as a result of receiving regular massage therapy on a consistent basis. This is because proper circulation brings damaged, stiff, and tense muscles the rich blood supply they need to promote healing.
Moreover, massage also promotes improved circulation via the use of hands-on pressure, which moves the blood through the damaged and congested areas of the body. In turn, the release of this same pressure causes new blood to flow into tissues. Furthermore, the squeezing, twisting, and pulling action of the massage technique also removes lactic acid from the muscle tissues. As a result, this action improves the lymph fluid circulation, which carries metabolic waste products away from internal organs and muscles. In turn, this results in lower blood pressure levels and improved overall body function.
6. It Can Help Improve Posture – Many Americans experience back, neck, and muscle pain from a variety of sources. However, the primary cause of this pain results from poor posture. In fact, chronic back pain, which is the number one reason for missed work days and second most common cause of disability, is often the result of incorrect or poor posture while standing and/or sitting. Moreover, being overweight, poor posture, and repetitive or overuse movements can also contribute to the strain on the back and other potential problem areas. As a result, the added strain often causes spasms, pain, and tense muscles in the hips, glutes, back, neck, and legs.
Massage therapy can help get the body back into proper alignment. In fact, improving one’s posture can be one of the most beneficial and relaxing aspects of massage therapy. Massage allows the body to relax and loosen the muscles made tense and sore via bad posture. In turn, this allows the body to position itself in its organic and pain-free posture. As part of a consistent massage therapy program, the body’s muscles are loosened and relaxed. Moreover, the joints have greater freedom, flexibility, range of motion, and pressure points are relieved. As a result, the body is able to position itself in an organic and healthy posture. In short, massage therapy helps to correct the positions and movements developed over time as a reaction to pain.
7. It Can Help Strengthen the Body’s Immune System – Regular massage sessions provide many benefits to the human body. It is a well-known fact that individuals who experience high levels of stress are more vulnerable to illness and injury. When stress is combined with sleep disturbances and poor nutrition, the impact is directed at the body’s immune system. Its ability to naturally protect itself against infections, pathogens, and bacteria is greatly reduced. Some might wonder how massage therapy benefits the immune system. Studies have indicated that regular massage sessions not only help reduce stress, but can also boost the immune system’s cytotoxic capacity (activity level of the body’s natural “killer cells”) and enhances the body’s ability to deliver nourishment. Moreover, massage therapy can be a great addition to any exercise program. Much like regular exercise can keep the body fine-tuned, regular massage therapy can help keep the immune system strong and resilient.
Once considered an alternative or fringe approach, massage therapy is now much more mainstream and growing in popularity. More importantly, now that massage therapy is considered a mainstream treatment option, many insurance companies provide coverage for treatment sessions. This form of therapy involves hands-on techniques to increase circulation, relieve tension, reduce stress, relieve anxiety, improve sleep, and promote relaxation throughout the entire body, as well as many other benefits.