Go ahead and book a massage session to wind down after your long work week! With all the health benefits – beyond reducing stress and muscle tension – this indulgence is well worth it. According to numerous research studies, massage therapy can help improve all systems of the body.
How does massage therapy alleviate pain?
Massage therapy works to inhibit muscle and soft tissue pain in three main ways. Firstly, massage therapy reduces pain by inhibiting muscle spasms. Secondly, massage therapy either sedates or stimulates nerves as needed, to promote proper nerve functioning. Thirdly, massage therapy causes the body to release natural painkillers called endorphins.
How can massage therapy benefit your health?
As a massage therapist uses their hands to stretch the muscles, it helps to improve circulation, promote relaxation and inhibit pain caused by stiff muscles and connective tissues.
While most individuals understand massage therapy to be a cure for low back pain, neck pain, muscle tension, or stress, there are a host of surprizing health benefits that massage therapy offers. Below we will explore 5 health benefits of massage therapy – that you may not already know.
1. Improves Sleep Quantity and Quality
Massage therapy triggers your brain to release serotonin, a neurotransmitter that can lead to a feeling of calmness and relaxation. Serotonin further promotes sleep by causing the body to create melatonin. Melatonin acts as a natural regulator of our circadian rhythm – our built-in body clock that regulates our sleep-wake cycles. These findings are supported by a 2005 study conducted by the Swedish Sleep Medicine Institute (SSMI) in Seatle. The study found that individuals that received massage therapy benefited from improved sleep quantity and quality. Individuals who received massage therapy not only spent less time laying awake at night, they also spend a longer amount of time in deeper, more restorative sleep.
2. Eases Depression Symptoms
A massage by a professional massage therapist can cause “feel good chemicals” called endorphins to be released. Endorphins provide several mental health benefits in addition to alleviating the symptoms of depression. According to clinical trials conducted by the National Centre for Complementary and Integrative Health, massage therapy has been shown to reduce depression and depression-related symptoms. Some depression-related symptoms that massage therapy can help include sluggishness, back pain, joint pain, and muscles aches. Another way that massage therapy can further promote mental health is by making you feel more relaxed through improving blood circulation and relieving muscle tension.
3. Relieves anxiety
Another mental health condition that massage therapy can help treat is General Anxiety Disorder (GAD). Just one session of massage therapy can cause the brain to release serotonin – a calming neurotransmitter that causes the body to enter a relaxed state. Often individuals with high levels of anxiety are constantly in a fight-or-flight state physiologically and display symptoms including heightened heart rate and cortisol-levels. In a 2010 study conducted by Karen J. Sherman and her colleagues, massage therapy was evaluated for its effectiveness in treating General Anxiety Disorder (GAD). In the study, 23 individuals went to 10 sessions of massage therapy over a 12-week period. Immediately following the treatment, individuals had a reduction in anxiety. These improvements actually remained 26 weeks after the individual’s last massage therapy session.
4. Enhances Exercise Performance
Massage therapy can help athletes perform at their best by boosting their abilities while reducing their risk of a sports-related injury. More specifically, massage therapy helps athletes maintain flexibility and range of motion while reducing the risk of soft-tissue injuries. Following injury or exercise, massage therapy can further help by reducing the recovery time. Massage therapy speeds the recovery process by improving circulation. Having good circulation allows nutrients and oxygen to muscle cells more efficiently, providing the fuel for cells to become renewed. In a 2012 study published by Science Translational Medicine, massage therapy following exercise had many of the benefits as anti-inflammatory medicine.
5. Improves Cardiovascular Heath
Working with a skilled massage therapist can help you manage high blood pressure. Individuals with high blood pressure have a higher risk of developing cardiovascular problems such as stroke, heart disease, and kidney failure. A 2013 studypublished by the International Journal of Preventative Medicine, found that massage therapy was effective in controlling blood pressure in women with pre-hypertension. A good massage can help by causing an increased state of relaxation, thereby inhibiting stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline from being released. By improving relaxation and reducing stress, massage therapy can help to lower blood pressure. Reducing blood pressure can help prevent or slow the development of hypertension or a cardiovascular-related illness.
In short, massage therapy causes your biological systems to work more effectively and leads to an increase in overall health as well as a decreased risk of injury. If you have difficulty falling asleep, if can help improve the number of hours you spend asleep, and help you achieve a deeper level of sleep. Massage therapy can also promote good mental health, by alleviating depression symptoms and reducing anxiety levels. Finally, massage therapy can help enhance exercise performance and improve cardiovascular health by promoting good circulation, helping the body to heal itself.
Massage Therapy at Glenora Chiropractic & Physiotherapy Clinic
At the Glenora Chiropractic & Physiotherapy Clinic, we are proud to offer massage therapy to promote health, healing, and general well-being. The healing art of massage therapy dates back 4,000 years and since that time it has expanded beyond the ancient art of massage to incorporate anatomy and exercise physiology.
Want to learn more about how massage therapy, physiotherapy, and chiropractic therapy can benefit your health? Give our office a call to book an appointment today!
After just one appointment you will feel the relief in pain or stress.