Relax. Unwind. Get a massage. Indeed, it is common to hear this advice from friends, family, and even doctors. Often these suggestions indicate, however, that a massage is a “luxury” that one should “treat” themselves to -- An indulgence like a day at the spa, or something one must ask for in the form of a gift certificate, redeemed only on special occasions.
But research shows massage therapy should not be regarded as an “extra.” Rather it should be an integral part of a wellness plan for optimum health. Here are 10 ways massage therapy makes you feel better.
- Increases circulation, flexibility, and motion. Massage stimulates and releases tension in muscles, connective tissues, tendons, ligaments, and joints, keeping them more fluid and and less prone to injury. When muscle tension is decreased, muscles stop contracting the primary blood vessels and blood flow increases.
- Improves sleep. Reports show massage is a “smart, healthy, and drug-free option that has helped many people overcome insomnia.” Massage promotes relaxation and reduces stress, making it easier to sleep.
- Boosts energy. Massage restores the lymph system, which moves blood throughout the body and removes toxins and bacteria. This improves health and stops you from feeling run-down.
- Improves concentration. Massage therapy reduces stress, including anxiety, depression, insomnia, and fatigue, which can all result in poor concentration. Simply put, the more relaxed you are, the better you can think.
- Alleviates pain. Through massage, therapists can target specific areas of the body, releasing tension and reducing swelling and tightness. When pain goes away, comfort is restored, and both sleep and concentration improve.
- Decreases anxiety. Massage therapy alters the body’s biochemistry relieving depression and anxiety. It’s been proven to reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol by as much as 53%. Massage also releases endorphins, like serotonin and dopamine, which reduce depression.
- Enhances immunity. Regular massage can increase the immune system's cytotoxic capacity, which fights disease. It can also decrease the number of T-cells, which improves immune functioning overall.
- Relieves tension-related headaches. The American Message Therapy Association asserts that “patients who seek relief from tension headache pain can benefit from massage therapy.” Research shows that with respect to tension headaches, massage therapy can decrease perceived pain, anger status, tension, frequency, intensity, and duration.
- Improves heart health. Consistent massage therapy has been shown to decrease blood pressure, which can reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke. Massage therapy pushes venous blood to the heart, reducing the strain on the heart.
- Heals injuries. Using massage can increase blood flow, better dispersing nutrients and oxygen throughout the body. It can also eliminate lactic acid in the body, shortening the recovery time between workouts.
It’s clear massage therapy is a great way to feel better. It’s also a rewarding career for helping others feel better too. If you’re interested in bringing these healthcare benefits to others to improve their wellness and health, you can download our free eBook below to learn all about careers in massage therapy.