Experts estimate that upwards of ninety percent of disease is stress-related. And perhaps nothing ages us faster, internally and externally, than high stress. Massage is an effective tool for managing this stress, which translates into:
- Decreased anxiety.
- Enhanced sleep quality.
- Greater energy.
- Improved concentration.
- Increased circulation.
- Reduced fatigue.
Massage can also help specifically address a number of health issues. Bodywork can:
- Alleviate low-back pain and improve range of motion.
- Assist with shorter, easier labor 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 post-surgery 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 headache pain.
Investing in massage is an investment in your health. While some people may see massage as a treat or luxury, it is actually a necessity that your body requires on a regular basis. The more often you receive massage, the easier it will be for you to maintain good health. The truth is, massage is no longer a luxury.
In the days of desk jobs and computer dependence, It is more important for you to receive regularly-scheduled massage now that desk jobs and computer dependence is a major part of our workday. We spend far too much time hunched over a keyboard - this can lead to shortened and overworked muscles in both your chest and core. Massage can improve your posture which will help alleviate your constant aches and pains as well as improve your breathing. Regular massage can help to improve your muscle memory and loosen the strain on these muscle groups. This will help to retrain the opposing muscles in your shoulders and back effectively improving your posture, making more room for your lungs to expand, and relieving chronic back, neck, and shoulder pains. It is hard to retrain and maintain proper posture if you are only receiving massage once every few months or years.
Beyond retraining muscles to improve upon chronic pain, massage has a wealth of other benefits. Massage releases endorphins which are your body’s natural mood booster and can lead to a reduction in the symptoms of depression and anxiety. Did you know that your body only has two states of being? As humans, we are hard wired to be in either fight-or-flight mode or rest-and-digest. With all of the stressors of our current world and lifestyle, we are spending far too much time in fight-or-flight mode. Computers, cell phones, traffic, alarm clocks, balancing work and home life are all contributors to a stressful lifestyle. Massage helps to relax you and put you into the rest-and-digest mode so that your body and mind can heal. Being in the rest-and-digest stage can help to strengthen your immune system by lowering the levels of cortisol and adrenaline in your body. In fact, a recent study made by the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine, showed that one of the benefits of massage is its ability to reduce levels of cortisol by over 53%. The study also showed that massage increases your body’s dopamine and serotonin levels; these are the “happy” chemicals released by your body when it is relaxed.
Massage also reduces swelling after injuries or surgeries and can even help to prevent injuries from happening. Massage actually helps rid the muscle groups of dead tissue in order to make room for new, healthy tissue growth. By receiving massage after an event, your tissues can better flush out the lactic acid which can cause cramps in your muscles and lead to injury. Massage can improve circulation and flexibility and it can help to eliminate toxins from your system and improve your skin. Eliminating toxins can improve the function of your internal organs and digestion.
There have been numerous medical studies performed by such institutions as Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, University of Colorado, Duke University, and Emory University to test the effects of massage on diseases and ailments ranging from sports injury to depression and anxiety. Some of the benefits of massage found in these studies include: reduced stress, reduced depression, reduced anxiety, relief from headaches, increased regularity in digestion, relief from fibromyalgia pain, improved sleep, tissue repair in injuries, and relief in temporomandibular joint pain (TMJD). Massage may even help you lose weight and reduce cellulite. It has even been shown that stimulation of the lymph nodes during massage recharges the body’s natural defense system and increases the number of white blood cells produced in the body effectively boosting your immune system. ~ Kelsey Luft, Symmetry 360