Massage therapy is an age-old healing practice that dates back thousands of years in ancient cultures like Egypt, India, China, and Greece. Its continued use and adoption by other cultures worldwide shows its immense benefit to people’s health and well-being. If you’re wondering what benefits we’re talking about, read on to learn more.
What Is Massage?
This is the act of pressing, rubbing, and manipulating the skin, muscles, ligaments, and tendons to achieve certain health gains. The rubdown ranges from light stroking to deep pressure, depending on the type of massage. Here are the different types of massage:
- Swedish massage: This is a gentle massage where the massage therapist uses long strokes, kneading, deep, circular movements, tapping, and vibration to help you relax.
- Deep massage: This massage style targets the deeper muscle layers that might be injured. So, it involves the application of more pressure and slower strokes.
- Sports massage: This is simply Swedish massage for athletes recovering from or trying to prevent an injury. It blends different techniques depending on the nature and stage of training, competition, or injury.
- Trigger point massage: This massage therapy focuses on body parts experiencing tightness and tension due to injuries or overuse of the muscle(s).
- Lymphatic drainage: This is a gentle, whole-body massage targeting the body tissues to improve the circulation of lymph fluids. These fluids move through the body and pick up viruses, bacteria, and other waste to take them to lymph nodes, where impurities are filtered out of the body.
- Shiatsu: A Shiatsu massage therapist applies varied, rhythmic pressure at specific acupressure points on the body to boost energy flow.
- Reflexology: This massage technique focuses on stimulating specific areas of the feet, hands, face, and ears that are believed to correspond to different inner parts of the body. The stimulation triggers the body’s natural healing process.
The Top 5 Benefits of Massage
1. Relieve Stress and Increase Relaxation
Massage therapy is very effective in lowering stress levels and increasing relaxation. It helps you achieve a deep sense of calm in different ways. For starters, the massage therapy environment is usually quiet and comforting, making you disconnect from the outside world and ease up.
Secondly, the rubbing, kneading, and stroking increase tissue elasticity and stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, thereby releasing muscle tension caused by stress. As a result, the body’s muscles relax, and the body experiences significant stress relief.
Thirdly, massage triggers the release of feel-good hormones serotonin and dopamine and reduces the level of stress hormones norepinephrine and cortisol.
By relieving emotional and physical stress, massage therapy inadvertently helps to heal resultant issues like body pains, anxiety and depression, and fatigue.
2. Improve Physical Fitness
Whether you’re a pro or recreational athlete, massage therapy can improve your exercise performance, reduce muscle tension, heal and prevent injuries, and bolster overall fitness.
The massage often enhances blood flow to sore and strained muscles, swollen joints, and injured parts, thus leading to an adequate supply of oxygen and nutrients and removing toxins from the affected areas. As a result, the body recovers faster and stays physically fit for a long time.
3. Better Sleep
Massage therapy is a good treatment option for people battling insomnia. It helps trigger the release of the sleep hormone melatonin and balances your mood to make it easy to fall asleep soundly. Also, using essential oils like lavender to massage the body creates a calm and soothing feeling that leads to restful sleep.
4. Boost Immunity
Massage therapy helps balance the body’s two immune responses (Th1 and Th2) to ensure the immune system works optimally. In turn, your body will fight disease-causing organisms and manage autoimmune conditions like Type 1 diabetes and asthma.
Regular massage leads to increased blood flow in the body which is essential for the proper circulation of oxygen and essential nutrients to various organs to ensure they function at peak levels. Furthermore, toxins are flushed out of the body faster, leaving your system clean and healthy.
Massage also improves your body’s lymphocyte count and activity, thus boosting your defence against infections.
5. Correct Digestive Disorder
Do you have digestive issues, constipation, or bloating? Massage therapy will help to ease the discomfort.
Massaging your abdomen relaxes the stomach muscles, thus stimulating digestion while relieving constipation and bloating. These boost your digestive metabolism as more nutrients and antioxidants are absorbed into the body. In addition, a therapist can incorporate essential oils into the treatment for better results.
The abdominal massage can also help to minimize menstrual pain, assist in weight loss, increase blood flow to the abdomen, and tone and strengthen abdominal muscles.
NOTE: If you have a health condition or concern, talk to your doctor before scheduling an abdominal massage session.
Other Benefits of Massage Therapy
In addition to the 5 benefits, massage therapy is a reliable complementary treatment for various conditions. For instance, It reduces pain and fatigue for cancer patients, minimizes migraine, lowers blood pressure, and mitigates depression.
Couples can also use massage sessions to bond and strengthen their love. For years, massage therapy has been a go-to romantic escape for lovers. It’s even better for intimacy if they can massage each other.
There you have it! 5-plus solid reasons to start going for massage therapy. Now, your concern should be to find a seasoned and licenced massage therapist who will understand your massage needs and how to meet them. In fact, a good therapist should be able to customize your massage treatment for optimal results.