The Benefits of Massage
What exactly are the benefits of receiving massage or bodywork treatments?
Useful for all of the conditions listed below and more, massage can:
- Alleviate low-back pain and improve range of motion.
- Assist with shorter, easier labour for expectant mothers and shorten maternity hospital stays.
- Ease medication dependence.
- Enhance immunity by stimulating lymph flow – the body’s natural defense system.
- Exercise and stretch weak, tight, or atrophied muscles.
- Help athletes of any level prepare for, and recover from, strenuous workouts.
- Improve the condition of the body’s largest organ – the skin.
- Increase joint flexibility.
- Lessen depression and anxiety.
- Promote tissue regeneration, reducing scar tissue and stretch marks.
- Pump oxygen and nutrients into tissues and vital organs, improving circulation.
- Reduce postsurgery adhesions and swelling.
- Reduce spasms and cramping.
- Relax and soften injured, tired, and overused muscles.
- Release endorphins – amino acids that work as the body’s natural painkiller.
- Relieve migraine pain.
A Powerful Ally
There’s no denying the power of bodywork. Regardless of the adjectives we assign to it (pampering, rejuvenating, therapeutic) or the reasons we seek it out (a luxurious treat, stress relief, pain management), massage therapy can be a powerful ally in your healthcare regimen.
Experts estimate that upwards of ninety percent of disease is stress related. And perhaps nothing ages us faster, internally and externally, than high stress. While eliminating anxiety and pressure altogether in this fast-paced world may be idealistic, massage can, without a doubt, help manage stress. This translates into:
- Decreased anxiety.
- Enhanced sleep quality.
- Greater energy.
- Improved concentration.
- Increased circulation.
- Reduced fatigue.
Furthermore, clients often report a sense of perspective and clarity after receiving a massage. The emotional balance bodywork provides can often be just as vital and valuable as the more tangible physical benefits.
In response to massage, specific physiological and chemical changes cascade throughout the body, with profound effects. Research shows that with massage:
- Arthritis sufferers note fewer aches and less stiffness and pain.
- Asthmatic children show better pulmonary function and increased peak air flow.
- Burn injury patients report reduced pain, itching, and anxiety.
- High blood pressure patients demonstrate lower diastolic blood pressure, anxiety, and stress hormones.
- Premenstrual syndrome sufferers have decreased water retention and cramping.
- Preterm infants have improved weight gain.
Research continues to show the enormous benefits of touch – which range from treating chronic diseases, neurological disorders, and injuries, to alleviating the tensions of modern lifestyles. Consequently, the medical community is actively embracing bodywork, and massage is becoming an integral part of hospice care and neonatal intensive care units. Many hospitals are also incorporating on-site massage practitioners and even spas to treat postsurgery or pain patients as part of the recovery process.
Massage is becoming an integral part of hospice care and neonatal intensive care units
Increase the Benefits with Frequent Visits
Getting a massage can do you a world of good. And getting massage frequently can do even more. This is the beauty of bodywork. Taking part in this form of regularly scheduled self-care can play a huge part in how healthy you’ll be and how youthful you’ll remain with each passing year. Budgeting time and money for massage and bodywork at consistent intervals is truly an investment in your health. And remember: just because massage feels like a pampering treat doesn’t mean it is any less therapeutic. Consider massage appointments a necessary piece of your health and wellness plan, and work with your practitioner to establish a treatment schedule that best meets your needs.
Often times people are stressed in our culture. Stress-related disorders make up between 80% – 90% of the ailments that bring people to family-practice physicians. What they require is someone to listen, someone to touch them, someone to care. That does not exist in modern medicine.
One of the complaints heard frequently is that physicians don’t touch their patients anymore. Touch just isn’t there. Years ago, massage was a BIG part of nursing. There was so much care, so much touch, so much goodness conveyed through massage. Now, nurses for the most part, are as busy as physicians. They’re writing chart, dealing with insurance notes, they’re doing procedures, and often there is no room for massage anymore.
I believe massage therapy is absolutely key in the healing process not only in the hospital environment, but because it relieves stress is obviously foundational in the healing process anytime and anywhere
Joan Borysenko, Ph.D. One of the leading experts on stress, spirituality, and the mind/body connection and author of more than 13 highly acclaimed books like Minding the Body, Mending the Mind, Woman’s Book of Life, Saying Yes to Change, Inner Peace for Busy People, etc.
Reference: National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, a division of the National Institutes of Health.