Sure, massage can help you relax. But massage therapy can do much more than that. There are at least six healthy reasons to book an appointment just now!
1) It counteracts all that sitting you do and improves posture & alignment
Many people nowadays suffer from a lot of tension in neck, shoulders and back that caused by prolonged periods of sitting or other kind of postural tension/stress. “Our necks, shoulders and backs hurt, and poor posture is the No. 1 culprit,” says Janice Novak, M.S., author of the book: “Posture, Get it Straight!”
According to Novak, “not only does poor posture look bad, but it forces some muscles to work incredibly hard all day long while others get weaker”. Your muscles will try to avoid pain and over time your posture will be re-adjusted according to painful signals from your muscles. Furthermore, poor posture can put you in other slumps, too. “When you slouch, you are pressing down on your internal organs, which affects digestion,” Novak says, adding that “circulation and breathing capacity can take a hit too”.
Luckily, massage can counteract the imbalance caused from poor posture by relaxing and loosening the muscles and allowing your body to position itself in its natural and pain-free-posture. This means you can keep your job (whatever pressure it puts on your muscles) without causing you a long-term health problem as long as you schedule a regular massage.
2) It reduces muscle pain/spasm/tension, inflammation and swelling
- improves the blood supply increasing the flow of oxygen and nutrients;
- decreases lactic acid that forms in muscles as a result of muscular activity and too much can result in muscular fatigue and/or cramps;
- lessens amount of fibrosis or adhesions which develop in immobilized or injured muscles;
According to a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, http://annals.org/aim/article/747008/comparison-effects-2-types-massage-usual-care-chronic-low-back, patients with chronic low back pain who received 10 weekly sessions of structural or relaxation massage therapy experienced clinically important improvements in symptoms and disability compared with patients who received usual care.
3) It soothes anxiety and depression
Professional and friendly touch is incredibly therapeutic and relaxing. According to a study,2005, published in the International Journal of Neuroscience,https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15809216, “ Women diagnosed with breast cancer received massage therapy or practiced progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) for 30-min sessions 3 times a week for 5 weeks or received standard treatment. The massage therapy and relaxation groups reported less depressed mood, anxiety, and pain immediately after their first and last sessions. By the end of the study, however, only the massage therapy group reported being less depressed and less angry and having more vigour. Dopamine levels, Natural Killer cells, and lymphocytes also increased from the first to the last day of the study for the massage therapy group. These findings highlight the benefit of these complementary therapies, most particularly massage therapy, for women with breast cancer.
Also, a study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, found that patients who were depressed and anxious were much more relaxed and happy, and had reduced stress levels after massage.
4) It improves sleep
Not only can massage encourage a relaxation and promote sleep in the healthy people, but it also helps those who can’t otherwise comfortably rest. According to Journal of Clinical Science, 2010, http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?pid=S1807-59322010001100008&script=sci_arttext&tlng=es, massage therapy is effective at improving the quality of sleep and decreasing fatigue in patients during the recovery period following surgery.
5) It boosts immunity
A study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine in October, 2010, http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/acm.2009.0634, found that massage significantly boosts patients’ white blood cell count, which plays a large role in defending the body from disease. This data suggest that massage have implications for managing inflammatory and autoimmune conditions.
6) It relieves headaches
A study published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics in September, 2009, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19748404, found that massage produces an immediate increase of HRV index (heart rate variability () and a decrease in tension, anger and perceived pain in patients with chronic tension-type headache (CTTH).
If you would like to know more of the benefits of massage and how it will affect your specific health condition, please contact me too!