Top 7 Benefits of Massage Therapy
You know that massage feels great, but did you know that it’s great for you, as well? Listed below, in no particular order, are my top 7 reasons that incorporating massage therapy into your daily life can lead to a healthier you.
1. Pain Relief
The human body responds strongly to touch. A plethora of studies ranging from the early 1990s to today confirm that massage reduces pain in a variety of patients, ranging from those who experience chronic pain to those who just had surgery. A study conducted in 2000 by Gregory P. Fontana, MD, at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, found that 95% of patients surveyed needed lower doses of pain medications on days that they received massage therapy.
2. Stress Relief
The American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) released an official statement in 2006 stating that massage therapy can be effective for stress. Studies approved by the AMTA showed that massage therapy significantly decreased heart rate, systolic blood pressure, and salivary cortisol levels after a ten to fifteen minute chair massages. The AMTA statement concludes, “all subjects in the massage group showed significant changes in emotional states and stress levels.”
3. Increased Lymph Node Activity
Your lymph system performs the important task of removing wastes and other excesses from your body. Similar to the way blood vessels can be stimulated, massage can directly target lymph vessels in order to stimulate better circulation. This can reduce swelling and inflammation, increase energy, and help give you a boost when recovering from an illness. Lymph massage is also incredibly beneficial to athletes, and surgical patients, and to sufferers of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue.
4. Boosted Immunity
Research by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) conducted a study on massage therapy and HIV. Results found that after a month of receiving regular massage therapy, HIV+ patients saw an increase in Natural Killer Cells and their cytotoxicity, or ability to kill infected cells. Another study, conducted by researchers at Cedars-Sinai’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences, found that Swedish massage boosted immune and endocrine response.
5. Better Posture & Flexibility
Massage therapists employ passive stretching on your muscles, which helps to loosen and relax your entire body. This contributes to improved flexibility and posture, and an overall improved range of motion.
6. Reduced Anxiety & Stress
The Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine conducted a study of over 500 men, women and children who suffered from anxiety and depression. The study measured the stress hormone cortisol. Results showed that massage therapy lowered cortisol levels by up to 53%.
7. Increased Life Satisfaction
The U-Miami research was also conducted on participants diagnosed with ailments such as anorexia, bulimia, Alzheimer’s, hernias, chronic back pain, hypertension, and other physical and behavioral problems. The results overwhelmingly showed that massage therapy made a positive impact.
So what are you waiting for? Try out a massage therapy session, and I’m positive that you’ll be feeling positive, too!