I think it is safe to say that most of us have a pretty positive opinion regarding massage therapy. Regardless of your lifestyle, level of stress, and overall posture, you are bound to have areas of your body that seem to constantly hold tension.
Considering the fact that most individuals consider getting a massage to be a luxury exclusive to the day spa or all-inclusive couples retreat, the myriad of actual health benefits available to often go underappreciated.
In this article, we are going to describe 5 ways in which getting a massage can provide an actual boost to your overall health and wellbeing.
1. IMPROVED CIRCULATION
More blood flow throughout the body is one immediate benefit of massage therapy. Blood provides most of the essential oxygen and nutrients to every area of our anatomy. Every vital function such as the repair of damaged tissues and even digestion requires a substantial amount of circulation to function properly.
When pressure is applied to a bodily region for an extended period, the flow of blood to this area is increased. Have you ever noticed your skin reddening after getting chaffed by uncomfortable clothing or possibly the temporary rash caused by receiving a firm slap?
Because massage therapy involves the application of pressure to the body, overall circulation is improved at the treatment site.
2. IMPROVED MENTAL HEALTH
Massage is known to cause a release of specific hormones in the body often referred to as the “feel good” hormones. These guys play a key role in regulating our mood and sense of well being. So while most of us already relate massage therapy to a positive mood, there is actually a hormonal response in place that causes this effect.
3. INCREASED RANGE OF MOTION
Any time there is an increased level of tension in a muscle; this is most often due to the fascia and muscle fibers adhering to one another, forming what almost feels like a knot underneath the skin. These areas are often referred to as “trigger points.” One of the best ways to alleviate this discomfort is through massage therapy.
Not only does the firm pressure applied to the soft tissue promote more of a gliding nature amongst muscle fibers, but experienced therapists will also typically apply treatment in the natural direction each muscle travels. The end result causes these problems areas to basically unwind, allowing more freedom of motion and less discomfort with the everyday tasks.
4. HEADACHE RELIEF
A large percentage of headaches are caused by particular muscles always in a state of contraction. When a muscle group is not allowed to contract and relax as intended, pain can occur.
This is particularly true if the muscle group in question is located in the neck of the facial region. Furthermore, there are often nerves that travel directly underneath muscle tissue. When this constant contraction occurs, these nerves are often impinged, sending pain signals all along their path.
5. BETTER SLEEP QUALITY
Hormonal responses can also explain how getting a massage can improve your quality of sleep. A specific hormone known as serotonin is naturally produced in the body to induce a state of restfulness and relaxation. Optimal levels of this hormone are essential to getting a meaningful night of sleep.
Massage therapy has been consistently supported by the research as an effective way to increase the body’s production of serotonin. This effect can likely explain why you or someone you know has reported actually falling asleep in the middle of a massage session!