10 Reasons to Get a Massage
When people hear the word “massage” they often think about getting “pampered”. A massage therapy session can be more than just pampering if you get it from a professional massage therapist. A professional massage therapist is someone who has the knowledge and training behind them to perform a massage. Professional titles may vary from state to state within the US but they are most of the time either LMTs (Licensed Massage Therapist) or CMTs (Certified Massage Therapist). There are so many online resources, studies and research about the benefits of getting a massage. In case you don’t have enough reasons to get a regular massage, here are 10 of them.
Boost Immune System
Recent studies have found that massage therapy can help women with breast cancer improve their immune system function1. It can also alleviate symptoms for children who suffer from asthma. People from all ages can benefit from this reason to get a massage!
Lower Blood Pressure
A clinical trial study was performed with fifty pre-hypertensive women. Half of the group received a Swedish massage three times a week for about ten to fifteen minutes. The study found that women in this group presented a lower blood pressure reading even after 72 hours after getting the massage2. If I were you, I’d be reaching for my phone to schedule my next massage session.
Recover Faster from Workouts
A healthy, active person can also benefit from getting a massage with a faster recovery after a workout. The Journal Science Translational Medicine published a study where 11 young men received a massage in one leg after exercising to exhaustion. They took tissue samples from their legs before the massage, after the massage and 2.5 hours later after the massage. The study found massage boosted mitochondria (the powerhouse in a cell) production3. Massage can help you get relief on those overused and tired muscles after a workout so give it a try.
Alleviate Low Back Pain
Almost two thirds of Americans suffer from low back pain and they don’t get any treatment to alleviate it. The reason is they just don’t seek it. That data comes from a survey done by the American Physical Therapy Association on 2,600 people ages 18 and older4. All that sitting at a desk, carrying heavy items or a little extra body weight can take a toll on our bodies in the form of low back pain. There might be other specific reasons for everyone but you don’t have to live in pain. Try a getting a massage to alleviate low back pain. Endorphins are amino acids used by our body as natural painkillers and we release endorphins when we get a massage5. Talk to your massage therapist about your specific symptoms. Your massage therapist will talk to you about your progress in every session. Please remember to be patient with your body. You could feel better right after the first massage therapy session or it could take a few.
Enhanced Sleep Quality
Chances are you know how important your sleep is. Our energy is renewed and our body regenerates during our sleep. That is how we keep ourselves healthy (and young looking!). Getting naps during the day has become a goal for many people who want to enjoy the benefits. Unfortunately, for many as 164 million Americans this has become a difficult task since they have trouble sleeping at least once a week6. Many turn to apps, drugs or supplements to be able to sleep. But guess what? Massage therapy can enhance sleep quality and many people even fall asleep during a massage7. The latter will depend on the level of trust you have with your massage therapist.
Greater energy obtained through massage therapy is directly related to different reasons on this list. We have covered increased immune function, enhanced sleep function and will cover reduced stress in the top 3 reasons to get a massage (so keep reading). The result of those three benefits of massage combined is increased energy. Don’t underestimate the power of touch.
The majority of modern occupations involve a lot of sitting. We are sitting when we drive, eat, work, etc. Different case studies have shown how detrimental sitting can be to our health: poor circulation, varicose veins and swollen limbs are just a few examples. But I have good news for you. Researchers from the University of Illinois conducted a study that proves that had two groups. One group exercised and received massage; the other group only received a massage. The interesting outcome is they noticed that both groups received the same improvement on their circulation levels. As one of the researchers said, “…massage is really changing physiology in a positive way”8. That does not mean you should skip your workout though. That means people with limited mobility can get a massage and get the same benefits as if they just exercised when it comes to their circulatory system.
Lessen Depression and Anxiety
Depending on the type of communication and level of trust you develop with your massage therapist, you might want to share you are coping with depression, anxiety or any other stress related disorder. You can also choose to keep it to yourself. Massage therapy affects the body’s biochemistry to relieve depression and anxiety9. Massage also increases production of the neurotransmitters that help reduce depression (dopamine and serotonin)10. That’s the beauty of massage: your body starts healing itself.
There is an epidemic that is getting people sick by the day. It is often referred as “America’s #1 health problem”. Data shows that 75-90% of doctor visits are caused by stress related ailments11. There are different ways to manage stress and massage therapy is a very effective one. Research conducted by University of Miami School of Medicine reviewed studies measuring cortisol (stress hormone) before and after getting a massage. They concluded that massage therapy lowered cortisol by 53 percent. Being that stress is the underlying reason of so many ailments, cutting it down to more than half is always a good option.
Massage Therapy Has Cumulative Benefits
Brush aside the old idea that massage is for pampering. As we can see in our “10 reasons to get a regular massage”, it can also be therapeutic. You may have perfect health (and props to you!) so by getting a massage you are taking a preventative approach. Once you start getting a regular massage, you’ll see the improvements in your body, posture mental health and just an overall sense of wellbeing. Those are considered cumulative benefits of massage. Just one more recommendation, talk to your massage therapist about how often you need a massage. This will involve your current health status, budget and availability. Do it for your health. You deserve it!
1, 3 – http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702304537904577277303049173934
2 – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3733180/
4 – http://www.apta.org/Media/Releases/Consumer/2012/4/4/
5, 7 – http://www.massagetherapy.com/learnmore/benefits.php
6 – http://www.consumerreports.org/sleep/why-americans-cant-sleep/
8 – https://news.uic.edu/massage-therapy-improves-circulation-alleviates-muscle-soreness
9,10 – https://www.amtamassage.org/findamassage/health_conditions.html?src=navdropdown#5
11 – Job Stress: America’s Leading Adult Health Problem, by Paul J. Rosch, M.D., F.A.C.P., in USA Magazine, May 1991.