The Health Benefits of Massage Therapy
Everyone knows that having a massage will leave you feeling relaxed and refreshed, but there are much deeper benefits to having regular massages. Massage actually has the power to increase your white blood cells and give your immune system a boost so that you won’t succumb to colds and other ailments as often as people who don’t have the advantage of massage. It also increases serotonin levels – a neurotransmitter in the brain that is thought to influence mood, giving you a safe and drug free alternative to anti-depressant pills. This is probably because massage stimulates the production of endorphins, the body’s natural painkiller and prostaglandins, an emotion hormone that helps us feel bonded to other people. The feeling of natural pain relief and closeness boosts mood and positively enhances how we feel about ourselves.
Massage for Stress Relief
Due to its effect of lowering heart rate and blood pressure, massage can relieve the physical symptoms of stress such as hyperventilation and palpitations, in addition to relaxing you. People with specific conditions like depression, anxiety disorder, OCD, insomnia or post-traumatic stress disorder can also benefit from massage. Using partner-assisted massage, yoga breathing exercises, acupuncture treatments, nutrition counseling and exercise, people with emotional disorders had a reduction in their levels of anxiety. In fact, in a trial of different alternative therapies using all of these treatments, patients were able to reduce the amount of medications they were taking, even though this wasn’t the aim of the study.
Massage and Immune Enhancement
In addition to increasing production of white blood cells that help you fight infection, massage enhances the action of natural killer cells. These natural killer cells keep your cellular function in check by destroying cells that reproduce abnormally, decreasing your risk of cancer and also benefiting those who have already got cancer. In a study of the use of massage in women with breast cancer, women who had a light full body massage every day in addition to their radiotherapy had superior natural killer cell activity, making them more efficient at destroying cancer cells. Massage also lowered their heart rate and blood pressure, helping to keep them calm and relaxed during treatment. This is one of the many reasons why massage therapies are good for people who are recovering from illnesses.
Massage and Pain Relief
Do you suffer with back pain, headaches or some other chronic pain? If you’re fed up of taking painkillers and want to get off drugs today and get to the root cause of your pain, try adding regular massages into your schedule. A review of all the research done into back pain and massage found that massage was more effective than joint mobilization, relaxation therapy, physical therapy and acupuncture. The positive effects of massage were still evident in patients one year after the last treatment. If you suffer from stress headaches or migraines and you want an alternative to opiates, massage is a drug-free choice with few or no side-effects. Migraine sufferers who have massages have less pain, more headache-free days, less distress and they can sleep better than their counterparts who have used medication. They also have increased serotonin levels, which is probably why people with migraine who utilize massage are less distressed by the pain they do experience.
Massage and Weight Loss
Massage can assist you in losing weight, along with other healthy lifestyle options like eating smaller portion sizes, exercising and giving up ‘junk’ foods. Massage does this by various means. Firstly it creates heat which breaks up the fat cells in your body. It will also encourage the flow of oxygen to your muscles which will help revitalize them and help them to become firmer and more toned. Researchers in Turkey found that overweight women with cellulite that were treated with mechanical massage decreased the amount of fat in their bodies by thinning it out. It also helped to banish cellulite. Even if you’re not especially overweight, massage can be good for your self-esteem as it alters the way people perceive their body. Individuals who have regular massages have a higher regard for themselves and the way they look.
So if you want to feel like yourself again, you’re tired of all the stress at work, or you just think you could benefit from some pampering, call Harmony Health & Massage today and our high altitude therapists will help you discover the right massage for you. 970-485-3344 Located at 118 S Ridge St #2 in Breckenridge, CO 970-485-3344
Graciously contributed by reader, Jenni Waters