Massage has been used since ancient times to relieve pain and promote healing. There are many different types of massage but most offer similar benefits. Massage is not typically considered a replacement for other types of medical care but can be used along with other methods of treatment to provide the best possible outcomes for patients. Consult with a licensed massage therapist to discuss what type of massage might work best for you and how you might benefit from massage therapy.
A Natural Pain Reliever
Massage relieves pain for many people, including those with arthritis, fibromyalgia, lupus, back injuries, migraines, sports injuries and many other conditions. Massage relieves pain by reducing muscle tension and also by triggering the release of endorphins, natural pain relieving chemicals in the brain, according to the Florida State Massage Therapy Association.
Helps with Depression
According to the Florida State Massage Therapy Association, massage increases the level of serotonin in the brain, which helps prevent or lessen depression. That’s the same thing many antidepressant medications, known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, do. In addition, many people find massage comforting and simply benefit from some human touch and a sense of connection with the massage therapist, which can also help with depression.
Reduces Stress Level
Massage reduces tension and induces relaxation, which relieves anxiety. The increase in serotonin helps reduce anxiety, as well. Massage also relieves some of the physical symptoms of anxiety, such as rapid heart rate.
Catch Some Better Zzzs
Massage helps many people relax, which can help with insomnia and improve the quality of sleep. Anxiety, pain and depression often interfere with a good night’s sleep, and when massage helps relieve those conditions, it can also improve sleep.
Improves Immune System Functioning
According to MassageTherapy.com, a website operated by Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals to educate the public about massage, massage improves immune system function by stimulating the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system helps rid the body of waste, debris, toxins and pathogens. Fluid circulates through the lymphatic system much like blood circulates through the cardiovascular system, but there is no pump such as the heart to help lymph fluid circulate. Massage helps lymph fluid circulate, though, as explained on the website of the National Integrated Health Associates.
Gets the Blood Flowing
According to the Florida State Massage Therapy Association, massage lowers high blood pressure and also slows the heart rate. Of course, massage helps people relax and that also reduces blood pressure. Massage improves circulation, according to MassageTherapy.com, which improves blood flow to all of the organs. Good circulation improves the condition of the skin, too, which is in fact that body’s largest organ. It may even reduce scar tissue or stretch marks.
Kelly Morris has been making a living as a writer since 2004. She attended the College of Mount St. Joseph with a major in social work and minor in women's studies. Her work has appeared in a number of print publications including Caregivers Home Companion, Midwifery Today and Guide.