Massage is a gift of health to yourself and others. Research shows massage therapy has an array of benefits.
There is nothing to compare to a professional massage; studies show that more people get their backs rubbed and kneaded for medical benefits than for relaxation. You are aware of the stress reduction effects of massage, but it goes beyond that.
Massage can relieve chronic lower back pain. At some point, most people experience some back pain that may inhibit or impair daily function or activity. If back pain lasts three months or more, it is considered chronic. Studies have shown that a person with chronic back pain who gets one hour of Swedish or deep tissue massage once a week for a period of at least 10 weeks felt significantly better than those who used over-the-counter drugs. Other studies found it improves pain from osteoarthritis of the knee and fibromyalgia, among others.
According to Massage Envy, the body can produce an unhealthy buildup of hormones when we’re stuck in traffic or meeting a work deadline. Pent-up levels of the stress hormone cortisol can lead to sleeplessness, headaches and even digestive problems.
Massage relieves anxiety. The level of cortisol was measured in some people before and after massage, and it was found that these levels were significantly lowered, by 50%, in most cases. It was found to increase serotonin and dopamine production. These are two neurotransmitters that help to improve your mood.
Massage helps reduce blood pressure. In one study women with elevated blood pressure who received three 10 minute Swedish massages for several weeks saw their blood pressure lowered more than those who just relaxed without massage.
Massage also helps boost immunity. It helps to increase levels of T cells, which help fight viruses and tumors. It was found that a full body massage helped to enhance immune function of women with breast cancer, according to research from the National Institutes of Health’s website.
Enjoy, relax and breathe.
Source: www.clarionledger.com; Barbara Broadwater; February 10, 2014.