The Benefits of Massage
Massage and bodywork is essential in creating and sustaining a nurturing life. The physical and emotional changes massage brings to your body can have a positive effect in many areas of your life. By producing a meditative state or heightened awareness of living in the present moment, massage can provide spiritual balance, bringing with it true relaxation and peace.
The most noticeable benefits of massage are increasing relaxation and relieving pain and tension in tight muscles, but research now proves much more. Massage offers a drug-free, non-invasive and humanistic approach based on the body’s natural ability to heal itself. Below is a list of additional benefits.
– Increases supply of blood and nutrients to the muscles
– Reduces spasms and cramping/softens and relaxes overused muscles
– Increases joint flexibility
– Reduces recovery time/helps prepare for strenuous workouts
– Stimulates the flow of lymph, the body’s natural defense system, thereby enhancing the immune system, waste elimination, and biochemical balance.
– Increases circulation, allowing the body to pump more oxygen and nutrients into tissues and vital organs.
– Releases endorphins – the body’s natural painkiller.
– Reduces post-surgery adhesions and edema and can be used to reduce and realign scar tissue after healing has occurred.
Here is a NY times article that explains in one study how massage reduces inflammation in muscles. After vigorous exercise, each participant received a massage, and then had their thigh muscle biopsied.
Dr. Maria Hernandez-Reif, known for her massage studies at the Touch Research Institute (TRI), states “The incredible benefits of massage are doubly powerful if taken in regular doses”. While studies at TRI have shown we can benefit from massage even in small doses (15 minutes of chair massage or a half-hour table massage), Hernandez-Reif says that receiving bodywork 2-3 times a week is highly beneficial. Below is one study researchers at TRI have conducted on cortisol decreasing and serotonin and dopamine increasing following massage therapy.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. Please contact me with any questions or further research articles pertaining massage therapy. Have a great summer!