Massage is an experience that is both physical and emotional. It combines a knowledge of anatomy and natural healing with an enveloping experience meant to provide comfort and care in an increasingly stressful world. Research has examined the benefits of massage extensively, and continues to discover new ways that this ancient technique benefits those in the modern world.
Massage is so much more than simply placing one’s hands on your back. Each movement and location is meant to address physical challenges and fulfill the need for an escape from the day to day grind. Some of the many benefits of massage include:
Pain Management – Massage is capable of relieving many forms of acute and chronic pain. It addresses some forms of physical pain directly by removing knots and eliminating muscle tension. It also helps to relieve pain indirectly by releasing endorphins – the body’s natural pain killers. Many people with chronic back pain, neck pain, or muscle pain find that massage is powerful enough to provide long lasting benefits.
Less Physical Tension – Muscle tension can be harmful to the body. It affects your posture. It affects your movements. It affects your energy levels. Those with muscle tension tend to experience more discomfort when engaging in physical activities, tire faster, and may have long term challenges due to alterations in how they sit or stand. But massage helps to eliminate physical tension, giving you back your energy and making it possible to move as your body intended.
Reduced Mental Tension/Improved Mental Health – Massage also affects mental health in several ways. First, the massage itself is enjoyable and calming, with all 5 senses engaged. Second, studies have shown that physical tension creates mental tension, as the two are linked due to the connection between the mind and body. Finally, massage helps to release neurotransmitters (brain chemicals) that improve mood.
Improved Sleep – Reducing physical tension and improving muscle comfort also has the added ability of helping improve both sleep quality and the ability to fall asleep comfortably. The more relaxed the body feels, the easier it is to find the right sleep positions and stay asleep longer.
Other Health Benefits – There is some evidence that massage can lower blood pressure, boost the immune system, and help you recover from injuries faster. Every year, research discovers more benefits of massage therapy.
But above all else, massage is also a form of self-care, and opportunities for self-care seem to be rare these days. Taking some time to treat yourself to an enjoyable activity with both physical and mental benefits is a great way to replenish your happiness levels and restore your body.