When it comes to relaxation, there are a few things that we relate to: drinking a warm cup of tea, reading a book, taking a warm bath, going for a long walk, and of course getting a massage. If you want to know the health benefits of massage, you’re in the right page!
Massage therapy is the oldest healing tradition and has several therapeutic benefits. It is the practice of kneading a person’s muscles and other soft tissues. It also includes holding, moving, and applying pressure to the muscles, tendons, ligaments. The awe-inspiring health benefits of massage improve the persons’ wellbeing or health.
How Does Massage Work?
Therapeutic massage improves blood flow to the muscles and improves tissue temperature, thereby enhancing performance. It also reduces cell adhesion and increases muscle flexibility which could help to decrease injury risk factors.
Therapeutic massage has shown some evidence of raising parasympathetic activity by minimizing heart rate, reducing blood pressure, elevating relaxation substances such as hormones, and increasing heart rate variability.
Some of the physical health benefits of massage include improved blood circulation, lowering of stress hormones, reduced muscle tension, skin tone improvement, sharp mental awareness, reduced anxiety, and depression.
Therapeutic massage provides tremendous benefits for sports athletes by enhancing their performance and recovery. Certain patients and massage therapists also claim that massage improves self-image in individuals having physical disabilities or suffering from a terminal illness.
Furthermore, massage therapy helps patients feel cared for. They feel less anxious and better about themselves after getting a massage treatment.
There are a wide variety of techniques available for massage. There are also different styles used in massage therapy ranging from short strokes to long, smooth strokes. Before booking a massage, let your therapist know what you are looking for. They may use more than one style or may customize your massage, depending on your age, condition, or any special needs you have.
But no matter the type, the benefits of massage come down to one thing: pressure. During moderate massage therapy, the skin is moved which leads to slowing down of the nervous system. This slowing down leads to other physiological effects in the body, like a decrease in heart rate, lowering of blood pressure, and changes in electrical activity in the brain.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Massage?
1.Release Happy Hormones
According to a study conducted in 2004, both dopamine and serotonin levels increased after a massage. Massage therapy can also boost the release of endorphins and oxytocin, the feel-good hormones. The release of these hormones can give a feeling of deep relaxation and calm. It also produces feelings of comfort, caring, and connection.
2.Relieves Stress And Anxiety
Reduces the level of stress hormones like adrenaline, cortisol, and norepinephrine. Research has shown that high levels of stress hormones can impair the immune system.
During a massage, your calming response is elevated which results in a decrease in anxiety. So if you suffer from a generalized anxiety disorder then instead of worrying about it, just treat yourself to a 20 minutes massage session and experience its long-lasting effects.
Massage therapy also relieves postural stress that builds up due to prolonged periods of sitting. It can assist in lowering the stress that manifests in the shoulders and neck.
During injury or chronic joint pain, people often get soft tissue restrictions, which cause knots or trigger points of pain. Massage Therapy helps in getting rid of soft tissue restrictions and increasing blood circulation.
Over time these restrictions often lead to ligament problems, so getting a massage regularly can help prevent this problem down the road.
An important thing to remember is that while getting a massage for your injury, make sure to go to an experienced and licensed massage therapist. Someone who had long-term experience with injured patients. A well-experienced therapist will be able to assess which areas around the injury need a massage, and which areas are best to avoid.
Stimulating soft tissues of the body helps in the removal of toxins through the blood and lymphatic system. Read to know more about effective coldpressed oils used for massage.
5.Better Sleep Quality
During a massage treatment, the nervous system slows down. And sleep is related to how much activity there is in the nervous system. Thus massage can help you sleep more deeply.
Better sleep quality leads to more productivity. So no matter how busy you are, just carve out a time slot for weekly massage therapy to excel at work.
For paying attention at an optimal level, your heart rate needs to be slow. If you are unable to be attentive for a longer period then it’s usually because your heart rate is elevated.
Because a massage slows your nervous system, your heart rate also slows down effectively.
During a massage, your pressure receptors stimulate the vagus nerve activity. The Vagus nerve is the tenth and the longest cranial nerve which has both sensory and motor functions. It runs from the brainstem to the other parts of the body.
So when you’re undergoing the pressure of a massage, it could decrease your heart rate thereby improving your focus.
What Are The Different Types Of Massage?
Massage practitioners use oil, talcum powder, or a thin piece of cloth to allow their hands to slip over a person’s skin. The various types of massage are:
Treatment of soft tissue structures like ligaments, fascia, tendons, and muscles of the human body. Read to know more about 10 essential oils for back pain relief.
It is popular in Australia and also termed as ‘Swedish’ or ‘western’ massage. This technique uses long strokes, deep circular movements, vibration, and tapping. It Improves blood circulation and promotes relaxation.
In the past 20 to 30 years, therapists have adapted Swedish massage because of its psychological and spiritual effects. This massage technique is more flowing, calming, gentle, and intuitive.
it is a whole-body treatment. This type of massage enhances the immune system and promotes relaxation.
Essential oils are extracted from scented flowers and plants are used because of their potential therapeutic effects. For example, lavender and rose oil relieves stress and improve mood.
These essential oils act as a lubricant during the treatment. The oils have a wide range of medicinal properties which include preventing infection, helps in wound healing, improves digestion and blood circulation.Theselood through the skin, and also by olfactory stimulation.
Certain reflex points of the body found in hands, face, and feet can respond to pressure, stimulating the body’s natural healing properties.
In this type of massage, certain areas of the foot correspond to the organs of the body. The “reflex zone” of the foot is the region denoting disease or damage in the corresponding organ. When pressure is applied to these zones, no matter how gently, a prickling sensation or pain is elicited. Reflexology treatment includes massage of the disordered reflex zones.
It is similar to Swedish massage and has been used for centuries in an attempt to prevent and cure injuries. Massage is considered in enhancing muscle relaxation, reducing muscle tension and soreness, promoting the healing process, and consequently, improving athletic performance.
It is also thought to provide a soothing and sedative effect that can calm an athlete’s mind and can give the athlete confidence by the positive reaction that takes place within the body. The massage can also be a beneficial way to prevent acute injuries resulting from abnormal tissue conditions like muscle tears in tight muscles.
Due to these theoretical benefits, massage may be useful to enhance performance and prevent injury for athletes who use their muscles strenuously. Sports massage may help to optimize positive-performance factors, including healthy muscle, combinatorial tissues, and normal mobility.
Massage is used to minimize negative-performance factors such as limited range of motion, pain, and anxiety. Therefore, therapeutic massage is mostly advised to help sports athletes prepare both physically and mentally for any forthcoming event.
What Are Special Considerations To Keep In Mind?
If you have cardiovascular problems, cancer, or have experienced any cardiovascular accidents, consult with your massage therapist first.
Massage Therapy is not recommended during pregnancy, for a person having a life-threatening disease, if skin rashes or cuts are present if fractures or broken bones are suspected, having bleeding disorders, severe osteoporosis, and severe thrombocytopenia. Read to know about the health of massage for a baby.
Usually, massage therapy is not painful or uncomfortable but sometimes due to too much pressure, it leaves you feeling a bit sore. Speak up immediately before any serious problem occurs.
The biggest perk of massage therapy is that you do not always need to go to expensive spas to get it, you can give yourself a massage. Just dedicate 20 minutes of your time, once or twice a week to gain the effective health benefits of massage.