Massage is something that most people do as a routine much like brushing your teeth. For some people, massage is a way to relax and get their muscles to loosen. For others, it’s a form of therapy. Generally, massage is rubbing and manipulation of the skin, tendons, and muscles. It’s an alternative form of treatment that’s practiced globally. Using their hands, massage therapists can create different light strokes or deep pressure that varies depending on the type of massage you need.
Here are the six most important things you should know about massage for health purposes.
1. It can help in managing chronic neck or back pain
Pain is usually associated with illness or injury and most people assume that it’s usually a temporary state. However, for some people, pain is a frequent part of their daily lives. Research reveals that massage increases the quality of life and this eases the pain. Besides, professional massage lowers anxiety levels, enhances the quality of sleep, and makes you feel relaxed.
A review and a meta-analysis of random control trials relating the use of massage therapy for chronic pain management revealed something promising about massage. The review and meta-analysis showed that getting a professional massage for five consecutive weeks or more is a viable option of easing chronic pain.
2. Reduces depression
Taking time for massage is essential for people battling depression. Cortisol is your body’s response to stress and surprisingly, a professional massage lowers it by approximately 50 percent. Massage is also associated with other health benefits including enhancing the levels of dopamine and serotonin. These are neurotransmitters that help in stabilizing your mood.
The International Journal of Neurotransmitters studied a group of people who had been battling with spinal cord injuries and also had depression. For five weeks, half the patients received two 40-minute massages while the other half received two 40-minute sessions of motion exercise. The International Journal of Neuroscience found that patients who received massage became less depressed
3. Professional massage eases the pain associated with cancer
Recent research revealed that professional massage for cancer patients may ease their pain. One of the primary reasons cancer patients use massage is because it helps them to relax and feel good. It makes them feel that they can help themselves.
Generally, massage can make you relax, improve your mood, get a night of better sleep, and enhance your overall wellbeing. In fact, cancer specialists recommend massage as a natural way of helping the patients cope with stress, headaches, anxiety, pain, and more. Note that light relaxing massage can be given to people at all stages of cancer safely. However, it should be performed by an expert. It’s worth noting that tumors and other treatment areas shouldn’t be massaged to avoid discomforts on the affected areas and the underlying organs.
4. It strengthens preterm infant’s immune system
In most cases, preterm infants get exposed to different stresses in pre-natal facilities such as bright light, loud noise, and more. Such things can significantly affect the infant’s immune system. However, a professional massage can help. For many years, massage has been used to minimize stress in preterm infants and enhance their cellular immunity.
According to research done by the Touch Research Institute, infant massage is associated with different benefits. The research revealed that massage stimulates the infant’s immune system and thereby enhances the infant’s ability to resist infections. Besides, it stimulates faster growth in premature babies, enhances lung functioning, decreases autoimmune problems, and lowers glucose levels in infants with diabetes.
5. It reduces symptoms associated with fibromyalgia
According to a study conducted by the University of Miami School of Medicine, professional massage helps in minimizing the symptoms of fibromyalgia. The study concluded that massage had the following benefits to people battling with fibromyalgia.
- Increased serotonin level. This is a neurotransmitter responsible for stabilizing your moods.
- Decreased levels of circulating stress hormones
- Decreased tender joint pains
- Low levels of substance P which also known as the pain message.
- Better sleep
- Enhanced overall wellbeing.
The study recommended that professional massage is a clinically excellent complementary treatment for fibromyalgia.
6. Massage is less risky when performed by a professional
Massage, especially when administered as a therapy, is associated with a few risks. However, when performed by a trained medical practitioner, the risks are significantly reduced. It’s important to note that massage therapists should take precautions with specific health conditions. Therefore, you should first talk to your healthcare provider to determine if massage is recommended for your health.
Massage is a simple therapy but has a lot of benefits. Note that you should be massaged by a professional for you to enjoy these benefits. Besides, you should consult your doctor to know if you’re fit for massage and the precautions the massage therapist should take.
About The Author:
Stacey Smith is a freelance health writer. She is passionate to write about women’s health, dental health, diabetes, endocrinology and nutrition and provides in-depth features on the latest in health news for medical clinics and health magazines.