06 Aug Relaxation and Other Health Benefits of Massage Therapy
When it comes to promoting relaxation, few things are as effective as getting a massage. For instance, if you start to feel a headache coming on, the natural response is to rub the sore area until the pain subsides. If your neck or shoulder muscles feel tense, sometimes the best thing to do is ask a loved one for a neck rub.
While the ability to relax for several minutes during a massage can be reinvigorating, this is far from the only benefit it provides. Here are six other health benefits of massage therapy you can expect when you visit a professional massage therapist.
Health Benefits of Massage Therapy
Reduced Anxiety and Depression
For people with generalized anxiety disorder, getting regular massages could be a natural way to reduce symptoms. One study found that the reason could be due to the parasympathetic (or calming) response that occurs during a massage.
Another study found that the stress hormone cortisol decreases an average of 31 percent, while the feel-good hormones dopamine and serotonin increase by 31 percent and 28 percent respectively during a massage. These hormonal changes improve your mood to help counteract feelings of anxiety and depression.
Best of all, these benefits of massage therapy seem to be long-term. This means if you get a massage today, you could lower your anxiety and depression for the next six to 18 months.
If you struggle with insomnia, getting a massage could help you sleep more soundly. Your ability to fall and stay sleep depends largely on how much activity is going on in the nervous system. By promoting a parasympathetic response, your nervous system slows down, and you can rest more easily. In fact, many people, even those with insomnia, become so relaxed during their massage that they fall asleep.
Feeling drained and exhausted after not sleeping well and then having a hectic day at work is completely normal. However, some people experience fatigue for biological or medical reasons, meaning it doesn’t matter how much rest they get—they still feel weary throughout the day.
No matter the reason behind your fatigue, the benefits of massage therapy might help. For the best results, seek out a professional massage once a week.
Help for Autoimmune Disorders
Two immune responses, known as Th1 and Th2, must be in balance for the immune system to function properly. When the stress hormone cortisol decreases during a massage, it helps the immune system go back into balance. This can make autoimmune disorders such as asthma, type 1 diabetes, and dermatitis more manageable.
One of the surprising benefits of massage therapy is its ability to help improve mental focus impaired by stress or elevated heart rate. By slowing down your nervous system and lowering your stress level, you may find it easier to focus at work, in meetings, and when reading a book.
If you struggle with a chronic injury or joint pain, you might have soft-tissue restrictions resulting in muscle knots, also known as trigger points. Over time, these knots can lead to pain, joint deterioration, or limited range of motion.
Massage therapists trained in trigger point therapy can resolve irritation, reduce inflammation, and improve flexibility. Just make sure your massage therapist knows about your injuries so they provide safe, proper treatment.
How to Maximize the Health Benefits of Massage Therapy
Get more out of every massage with these tips:
- Avoid eating right before a massage.
- Arrive a few minutes early. If you’re flustered from running late, your body will be in a tense state. The primary goal of a massage is to relax, but it helps if your stress level isn’t elevated going into it.
- Only remove as much clothing as you feel comfortable with. The clothes you keep on shouldn’t hinder the massage therapist’s ability to deliver a quality massage.
- Tell your massage therapist if you’re allergic to any oils, lotions, or powders that might be used during your session.
- Report any discomfort during your massage immediately. Your therapist won’t be offended if you ask to lighten up on the pressure. Every massage therapist’s goal is to provide the most relaxing, effective treatment, which is only possible if you’re totally comfortable.
- Relax your body, take deep breaths, and try not to think about anything stressful during your massage.
- If you feel dizzy or lightheaded after a massage, take your time standing up.
- Drink extra water after the massage to rehydrate your muscles.
How to Find a Credible Massage Therapist
A spa parlor masseuse or masseur is certainly capable of delivering a relaxing massage, but if you want to achieve another specific benefit, look for a qualified massage therapist. This means finding a medical professional who is licensed and certified and has advanced training in the particular modalities they offer.
Mile High Spine & Pain Center is pleased to offer massage therapy to our patients in Broomfield, CO. We provide this treatment alongside accompanying physical therapy services, such as chiropractic care and trigger point therapy, to provide the well-rounded care you need for full-body wellness.
To learn more about our massage therapists, or to schedule a free health consultation, please call us at (720) 507-0080 or contact us online today.