Long hours at work and stressful daily tasks take their toll. Eventually, we all reach a point where we throw up our hands and exclaim, “I need a massage!”
This statement rings true for nearly everyone, yet few understand what exactly massage therapy does to the body that makes it feel so good. Here are the top health benefits of massage therapy that just might push you to book that appointment.
- Increased circulation: Massage therapy is an effective tool for promoting blood flow and the movement of fluids through the lymphatic system. Increased blood circulation ensures every cell in the body is receiving proper nutrients. Better circulation also improves the oxygen supply in your brain, which promotes concentration and makes you feel more energized. Massage also helps lymph nodes process waste, so toxins are able to exit the body more easily.
- Chronic pain management: Healthcare providers often recommend massage therapy alongside conventional medicine for people dealing with chronic pain. A professional massage therapist can ease tension and loosen ligaments, flooding the body with feel-good endorphins that act as a natural pain reliever. Regular massage sessions may help people with joint problems regain mobility by improving the flexibility of swollen joints. From medically diagnosed conditions to a stiff neck from work, massage therapy is an alternative answer to chronic pain management.
- Anti-inflammatory effects: Recurring massages can diminish inflammation in the muscles and internal bodily systems. Inflammation plays a role in many ailments, from sports injuries to digestive problems. Everyone experiences inflammation to some degree, regardless of whether or not you’re aware of its presence. For that reason, everyone can benefit from the anti-inflammatory effects of massage therapy.
- Post-op treatment: The benefits of massage also come into play following surgery. Invasive procedures disrupt the body’s inner workings and make it difficult to drain waste away from the surgical wound. Massage promotes the flow of lymphatic fluids so the incision site doesn’t accumulate harmful substances or pathogens that could lead to infection.
- Healthy sleep patterns: Massage therapy does wonders for helping the body relax. As a result, consistent visits to a massage therapist can help people achieve a better night’s rest. The body has to let go of tension before it can enter the beginning stages of sleep, so massage could support sleep quality and the increase number of hours you get each night. Massage also promotes feelings of comfort and trust, allowing your mind to temporarily forget the stressors of daily life that might be keeping you up at night.
- Stress relief: It’s no secret that massage therapy is the ultimate stress reliever. That’s why the practice is so popular at spa resorts! The slow, gentle motions reduce cortisol levels while signaling the brain to release calming hormones like serotonin and oxytocin. Massage encourages the mind to slow down and approach stressful situations in a calm manner. Massage has other physiological effects on stress, too, like lowering blood pressure and your resting heart rate.
- Improve mood: The mind and body are intimately connected. When one starts to feel good, the other follows suit. As your muscles relax, so does your brain’s grip on anxious thoughts. Since massage releases serotonin and other feel-good hormones, the practice has been an effective mood booster. The healing powers of massage therapy kick in right away, instantly making you feel happier and more relaxed than when you walked in the door.
- Better focus and productivity: Unsurprisingly, massage’s influence on the mind has led to improved performance at school and work. Employers are starting to acknowledge the various mental health benefits of massage therapy, and some have taken the extra step to provide these services in the office. The results are instantaneous. After as little as one session, employees often return to work feeling refreshed and better equipped to tackle their workload for the day.
No matter what life throws your way, massage therapy offers a variety of physical and mental health benefits that anyone can enjoy. While massage doesn’t require a prescription, it’s worth checking in with your doctor to learn what your health condition is like and how massage might improve it.
Of course, you don’t need a reason to book a massage session. If you’re craving some self-care, go for it—a massage might be what you’ve needed all along!