The ancients were particularly enthusiastic about the health and mental benefits of massage therapy and support for the practice of massage continues to modern day.
It has become commonplace throughout the world where men and women seek the healing properties of massage to treat many physical and mental problems, from stress, depression and sleeping disorders, to chronic muscle pain, migraines and heart health.
Massage has its roots in ancient customs of healing and the practice continues to provide help with treating numerous physical problems and illnesses, as well as emotional and mental issues we are forced to face within modern day-to-day living.
There are numerous disciplines and styles, but they all have the same thing in common: they contribute to our overall wellness and should be viewed and embraced as a regular source of therapy.
Using hands, fingers, elbows and arms, the massage therapist will, depending on the nature of the treatment that has been chosen, use pressure to rub the muscles, either in a soothing way for stress relief, or more vigorously and with greater force to treat physical problems.
Because there are so many benefits, massage therapy is frequently the go-to treatment for healing that promotes individuals’ overall health and well-being and it is often classed as an alternative or complementary form of medicine because it is often used in conjunction with medical therapy to treat any number of disorders or illnesses.
Massage therapy however, can be used as primary treatment to improve the quality of life for many people suffering some form of ill-health when medication is not advised, for instance, those with kidney issues where the use of anti-inflammatories is not recommended.
From helping to stimulate dysfunctional organ performance to reducing inflamed muscles that may cause pain or limit movement, massage has the potential to produce great benefit for the receiver.
There are individual therapies and therapists where the focus is on a specific type of treatment, like sports massage, or there is the famed Balinese massage where the emphasis is on relaxation and stress relief, to produce total body harmony for physical and mental well-being.
There is no denying that when it comes to treating the body and mind, a non-invasive, medicine-free practice like massage therapy has an important role to play for good health and welfare and should be considered as part of our overall vitality, just as diet and exercise is.
With regular massage there are numerous benefits and through an improvement in blood circulation and the muscles, together with the de-stressing effects.
Massage promotes mental, emotional, spiritual and physical good-health.
Massage is Effective in Treating Stress
Perhaps one of the most important lifestyle factors that is ignored in the modern rush of life is stress. Often referred to as ‘the silent killer’ because there are no obvious warning signs before something terrible happens, stress is our body’s natural reaction to pressure that we face as parents, in our jobs and relationships.
Aside from suffering things like low energy levels and a general feeling of being ill-at-ease, we may complain of aching muscles or frequent colds or flu, loss of sexual performance or stomach complaints, and other medical issues that could eventually result in our deaths.
This is why managing stress and anxiety through massage is so important to our overall health, because of its influence in our general well-being. We need to control stress and anxiety so that it does not control us, because if we don’t, our stress levels climb and disaster is just round the corner.
Massage in the Treatment of Migraines
Many people also suffer from migraine-induced headaches, often stress-related but also because migraines are so draining, it is important to treat them effectively. This is where massage come in, for the prevention and relief from migraine-induced headaches.
Because migraines might persist for hours, even days on end, often resulting in nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to sound and light, the migraine sufferer is unable to function normally, in work or life.
Migraines can be brought on by things such as hormones, allergic reactions to certain foodstuffs, stress, alcohol, medication or sleep imbalance. Because massage therapy is successfully used in the treatment of stress and physically relieving tension in the shoulders and neck, it is an effective way to treat migraines.
Improving Flexibility through Regular Massage
A further benefit of regular massage is that it increases our flexibility thanks to physically rubbing of our muscles. Tight muscles require kneading to release knots that tighten them and restrict natural movement.
In modern life people simply don’t walk as much as we used to. We sit behind computers for much of the day, and then in front of the television at night. Unless we exercise regularly, and most people simply don’t have the time, our muscles are not getting used and stretched as they should.
Like inactivity, exercising or sport can lead to tired or overworked muscles and massaging them regularly will force the oxygen-rich blood to the areas where the muscles have been overworked to relieve muscle tension.
Strengthening the Immune System
The health benefits of massage also include the strengthening of the immune system. With the benefits of relaxation, massage assists in lowering the body’s cortisol levels. By lowering levels of this stress hormone, the body is not permanently in ‘fight-or-flight’ mode.
By stimulating the body’s natural white blood cell production, massage has a direct and positive effect in the body’s ability to fight colds or viruses.
Massage Improves Circulation
Another physical benefit is improved circulation that comes about through regular massage. An accumulation of lactic acid over time may affect healthy functioning of the blood circulation system, resulting in cold hands and feet and pain and fatigue.
Ongoing massage brings oxygen-rich blood to the extremities and can restore the body’s healthy circulation which is a vital part of our health.
Massage Helps to Improve Sleep
A lack of sleep has huge consequences for our health. Ongoing sleep deprivation will not only affect mood and overall health and energy levels, but in the long terms, greater health concerns which may increase the risk for high blood pressure, stroke and heart disease.
Because of the physical treatment and release of tension from the muscles, combined with the distressing, relaxing nature of a massage, the benefits on our sleeping patterns is immense. Because massage promotes restful sleep, it is advisable that those who are unable to build and stick to a healthy bedtime and sleep routine should attend regular massage therapy.
Treating Depression through Massage
Because depression is often linked to low levels of the feel-good hormones endorphins, dopamine and serotonin in the brain, the hormone-releasing properties of massage could prove to be powerful aids in reducing depression.
When there is a reduction in cortisol levels (the above mentioned body’s alarm-system and stress hormone that controls how we react to environmental threats), there is a rise in serotonin, the combination of these two processes has hugely beneficial effects on depression, thanks to massage’s influence on the two opposing hormones.
While these are physical reactions to massage, there should be no underestimating the power of physical touch, within a relaxing environment free from stress and anxiety. These aspects have a crucial role to play in the emotional well-being of the depressed individual.
Easing Neck Pain through Massage
Chronic neck pain is a modern problem associated not only with a rise in TV or computer time, but also spending longer periods in traffic. Add to that, the stress of day-to-day living and we’re finding that many people hold tension in the muscles of their neck or shoulders.
Chronic neck pain has far-reaching consequences for our health and general well-being, affecting our ability to move freely, to carry heavy objects, to exercise or to sleep. Without freedom of movement, we are confined in our range of motion which negatively impacts our lives with pain and discomfort.
For those who suffer from chronic neck pain, regular massage is a healthy and effective way of restoring our natural ability to move freely, exercise and sleep well at night.
Massage and Heart Disease
Heart condition is a vital part of healthy living. High blood pressure, a common but dangerous condition, affects millions of people around the world and because it is a high risk threat for heart disease, most sufferers will take blood pressure lowering medication to keep blood pressure under control.
However, there is also evidence that regular massage can assist with hypertension which in turn can lower blood pressure. Stress plays a role in blood pressure and because massage is beneficial for reducing stress, it naturally stands that a reduction in stress through massage will reduce high blood pressure, reducing the risk for heart disease.
It is clear and obvious that regular massage can provide great health benefits in dealing with the toxic effects that many people suffer in the course of modern day living.
We live stressful lives, filled with anxiety and worry and it is our bodies that take a hammering.
Our health is affected, but with regular massage, we can stop the problem, even mend our bodies to live healthy and contented lives.