Massage is a healing art that has been around for thousands of years, documented to have been used in ancient China and Egypt. It emerged in the 18th century as Swedish massage and has played a role in the health of many people since then.
While massage is often thought of as a way to relieve stress, there are many other benefits to having regular massage therapy as part of your wellness plan. Here are some of the benefits of massage:
- Helps to relieve symptoms of stress and anxiety: Stress is very toxic to your body due to the release of more cortisol in your system. Increased cortisol can cause insomnia, headaches, weight gain, and other undesired symptoms. Having regular massage relieves stress and muscle tension and can relieve the symptoms of chronic stress and anxiety.
- Relieves pain and muscle tension: Massage therapists target muscle tension which allows your muscles to relax and move more freely, thereby reducing pain.
- Improves vascular circulation: As the muscles are massaged, blood flow is improved in the area which brings more nourishment to the muscles and allows for improved release of toxins. Improved vascular circulation can also contribute to normalization of blood pressure.
- Boosts immunity: Research shows that having a massage increases the production of white blood cells which play a role in defending the body from disease. Also found was that a 45 minute massage resulted in increased levels of decreased levels of cytokines which play a role in inflammation. Chronically high levels of inflammation are associated with asthma and cardiovascular disease.
- Improves mental health: Research shows that massage increases the release of neurotransmitters, including serotonin and dopamine, which are involved in depression. Regular massage also results in the release of the hormone oxytocin which helps you to feel more connected and less isolated from others.
- Improves athletic performance: Sports massage can help to improve range of movement and flexibility of muscles, as well as improving circulation, the goal of any athlete.