10 Amazing Benefits of Getting a Massage
For a lot of people, the sole benefits of getting a massage is as an indulgent prospect reserved for celebrities and other well-off people. When we think of massage we can easily think of 5-star resorts and handsome therapists tending to their equally handsome clients, paying more for the hour that the average person would make in a week.
At least this is the impression of getting a massage that many Irish people have. And in truth, I had this impression too. Just an indulgent thing. That was until it was discovered that a family member had a condition called kyphosis. Caused primarily by being so tall and having to hunch in day to day life. But also, from slouching over various desks throughout school and work. After that, I became a big advocate for getting a massage due to the wonderful and varied benefits it can bring into your life.
Still not convinced? Well here are 10 Amazing Benefits of Getting a Massage.
10: Counter the effects of prolonged sitting!
For many people, life these days involves more sitting than anything else. Whether commuting to work, dropping the kids off at school, or sitting at your desk typing away the hours until home time.
While doing all this sitting, have you ever found yourself compelled to crack your neck? Or rotate your shoulders? If you have, it is because of how stiff sitting down all day makes our bodies become. As desk jobs continue to evolve and become more common, more and more people are experiencing issues with their posture.
One fix for this is getting a massage! Humans are not designed to sit around all day. As such when we have to we build up tension and tightness in our back and shoulder areas. This tightness causes poor posture while sitting, but can also spill over into your standing time too. Before you know it, your body is naturally shifting to a poorer posture as it tries to avoid aggravating the affected areas of your back.
Massage therapy works to target these impacted areas, relieving the tensions and tightness that has been built up, thus allowing your body relief from the aches and pains of that desk job. Not having that tension can then make it easier to stand in a good postural position. Good posture should be comfy. If it’s not, get a massage!
9: Improved joint mobility and flexibility
Speaking of how stiff we can get while carrying out our daily duties, this can have a major impact on our joints. As mentioned above, our lifestyles these days can play havoc on our posture. With poor posture comes more wear and tear on our joints. And the increased tightness of our muscles reduces our flexibility.
Well, Massage Therapy has you covered here too! During a massage muscles are loosened up gradually, while also being stretched. This eases the associated pain, and increases the flexibility of the muscle and joint. By increasing your flexibility, you are allowing your body to adapt a fuller range of movement than it may presently have.
By improving joint function and flexibility, you are also decreasing your body’s likelihood of injury too! Which brings us to our next benefit.
8: Allows for temporary relief from arthritis and joint pain relief.
If you don’t know what arthritis is, lucky you. Arthritis is one of the most commonly diagnosed ailments our bodies can suffer from. Basically, it is an inflammatory disease that commonly impacts the joints in your knuckles, knees, angles, fingers, and wrists. Arthritis treatments should always be discussed with your doctor. There is evidence to show that massage therapy can provide a temporary relief for patients with Arthritis and other forms of joint pain.
A case study published in Massage Today found that regular massage appointments help alleviate joint pain associated with Rheumatoid Arthritis. Massage therapy works to increase the blood flow to certain areas of pain. This then promotes healing and can give a short term relief to the client. For people who have Arthritis, getting a massage shouldn’t be looked at as a luxury, it should be acknowledged for the excellent benefits it can have in aiding their treatment.
7: Soothes Anxiety and Depression
So far we’ve looked at the physical benefits of getting a massage. So what about the mental side of things? If there is one thing commonly known about massage therapy, it’s that feeling of calm relaxation you feel afterwards. Part of the reason massage therapy can be seen as a luxury item is because many people assume it is designed “just” to relax you. Well, while not the only result, relaxation can play a key role in being massaged.
Massage Therapy can stimulate the production of the body’s natural endorphins. These endorphins are what controls the body’s mood regulation system, and by activating their production, the result can be stress reduction, and deep relaxation. This is due to massage therapy releasing endorphins such as serotonin and dopamine. By working on, and relaxing muscles, the mind, in turn, becomes more relaxed. People who regularly keep massage appointments are known to have lower levels of stress, anxiety, depression, and the resulting fatigue each of those can cause.
6: Increases your mental alertness.
If you have ever felt depressed or stressed out to your limits, then you are likely familiar with the “brain fog” that can build up in your brain. A mind working overtime just to get through each of your daily obligations can leave little room to think beyond the immediate. As a result during times of depression, or high stress you may find yourself being more forgetful. Or clumsier, perhaps you bump into things more often? Or catch the loop of your belt in the door handle? If this sounds familiar then luckily massage therapy can help with this too!
Building on the previous point, keeping a regular massage appointment can help keep your mind fresh and alert. By decreasing your stress levels, and boosting your endorphins, a massage can do wonders for your mental clarity. Thus allowing you to get more work done, feel more productive, and in general, feel lighter day today. When the brain fog kicks in, you can feel so sluggish. But a regular massage appointment can do wonders to lift that sluggish fog from around your head!
5: Improve your Immune System.
The importance of a healthy immune system can’t be overstated. Our Immune system essentially acts as our body’s “check engine light.” Without a well maintained immune system, we can be more prone to illness, fatigue, insomnia, constipation, even bouts of depression. There is a reason your doctor recommends fresh air and exercise. They are the key ways to ensure a healthy immune system. However, another way is, of course, Massage Therapy!
A new study conducted by Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, suggests that massage therapy can do more than just relax your muscles and help you feel better. It might also benefit your immune system since they found that people who get a massage showed changes in their body’s immune and endocrine response. According to the results of the study, massage may have caused a decrease in the stress hormone cortisol and an increased number of lymphocytes, one of the three types of white blood cells. White blood cells are important in helping the body fight off infections and sickness. They play a large role in our immune system and keep us healthy.
4: Improve your blood circulation
Everything mentioned so far, from relieving muscle tension to releasing positive endorphins, to an improved immune system is made possible in part due to good blood circulation. If your Immune System is the check engine light, your blood flow is the oil that lubricates the engine. And this must flow correctly. If you ever suddenly find your feet or hands becoming very cold, especially during a period of inactivity, this can be a sign of poor circulation. Luckily massage therapy can be hugely beneficial for blood flow circulation.
Specific areas of the body being massaged can have a tremendous impact on your circulation. Many people get through the day with tight, clenched hands, arms, and there can be a plethora of stress and anger building up all day causing neck pain, back pain, headaches, and much more. The lymph can also collect toxins in this area of the body as well.
Getting a therapeutic massage on the arms helps to relax the muscles, therefore, creating more blood flow. The increased circulation will help relieve pain and stress. In some cases, it has been reported to help those with carpal tunnel syndrome, another condition becoming more common as we collectively spend more time sitting and typing.
Pregnant people can benefit greatly from a massage that improves circulation also. Specifically when approaching their third trimester as they begin experiencing an increase in general stiffness, aches, pains and potential sleep issues.
3: Improve your range of motion.
Once again, this ties in with an earlier entry. But keeping a regular massage appointment can have a huge impact on your range of motion. By loosening up stiff areas of the body, particularly the glutes, shoulders, neck and upper back. All of these areas carry heavy amounts of stress accumulated as we go about our days. If you’re a school going person, carrying your heavy bags can literally weigh down your back. Especially if you incorrectly wear your backpack.
If you work in an office and spend your day slouching over your keyboard, you bring undue pressure to your neck and shoulder blade. And, if you are working in a factory, you can overwork your body by having to stand in one spot, engaging in repetitive motion for long periods of time.
Massage Therapy can relieve the tension we build up while engaging in these activities, meaning that our bodies become less tight, less rigid. As a result, you’ll find your day-to-day duties easier to carry out. You’ll also find yourself with increased energy and may even become more productive/active in your free time. It is, after all, easier to be active when your body feels fitter.
2: Fighting Fatigue.
It is incredible just how many things we do every day can increase our fatigue. Even the simple act of looking at screens, be it your phone, laptop or TV comes with an increase in eye strain, an overstimulation of the brain and as a result, makes you more prone to fatigue.
Another classic example is caffeine. We drink coffee in the morning to give us an energy boost. However over time, our body can become reliant on caffeine and as such, we can be more tired before taking it. While also experiencing a larger amount of fatigue when the caffeine leaves our system.
Repetitive motion, be it factory floor working, retail work, or answering calls can also lead to fatigue due to under-stimulation, and also due to sedentary behaviour. We are designed to be active creatures, but the necessities of life can often leave us with little to no energy with which to be active. So it is with delight that we highlight now the benefits massage therapy can have on fighting fatigue.
As discussed, massage therapy can relieve stress, lower depression and alleviate soreness in our bodies. The result of this, and the aforementioned increased blood circulation, does wonders for improving our energy levels. If your brain doesn’t have to waste energy handling negatives. It can instead push forward with positive affirmation and actions. Additionally, if your body is not sluggish due to stiffness or pain, it becomes easier to walk around and to move. After keeping a regular massage appointment for a few weeks you will be amazed at how much more energy you feel you have.
1: Go to war with insomnia.
Everything mentioned in this article thus far plays a role in how well you sleep. Stress can keep you awake. Pain can have you toss and turn in your sheets. Cold feet and hands can make it impossible to get cosy. Having poor quality of sleep, in turn, can increase your stress levels and the likelihood of depression. Your immune system can become weaker due to poor sleep also.
The benefits and importance of good quality sleep can’t be emphasised enough. As such possibly the best benefit of massage therapy is that it helps improve your sleep!
The American Massage Therapy Association conducted a 2019 quasi-experimental study examining the effects of back massage on improving vital signs, sleep quality, anxiety and depression among intensive care unit patients. A total of 60 patients were enrolled. The 30 patients in the experimental group received 10-minute back massages for three consecutive days while the 30 patients in the control group received usual care.
Results showed that back massages improved patient breathing, increased sleep quality and were associated with a significant change in anxiety. “The implementation of back massage shows positive improvements in sleep quality of ICU patients,” researchers noted. “The training and theory of massage interventions should be further applied when developing courses in critical care nursing.”
So now that you know about all the benefits massage therapy can provide, what are you waiting for? Book your next massage appointment today!