You probably already know that massage therapy is great at relieving muscle pain and tension, and that it is a very relaxing experience. What do you know about massage therapy beyond those two things? Massage therapy offers a wealth of benefits that many people don't realize. In this week's blog post we are going to take a look at 4 things you probably didn't know about massage therapy. Let's get started!
1) Massage Therapy Improves Sleep-
Quality sleep is vital to health and wellness. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC): "Insufficient sleep is associated with a number of chronic diseases and conditions—such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression—which threaten our nation’s health."
The National Institutes of Health has advised that massage therapy can reduce fatigue and improve sleep. According to research gathered by the American Massage Therapy Association, massage has been shown to improve sleep in infants, children, adults, and the elderly alike, as well as individuals with psychiatric disorders, fibromyalgia, cancer, heart disease, lower back pain, cerebral palsy, and breast disease.
Massage therapy directly influences the body's production of serotonin, which is one of the body's natural anti-pain and happiness chemicals. Serotonin is also essential for the production of melatonin. Melatonin is essential for sleep because it is the hormone best know for regulating the body's circadian rhythm. Circadian rhythm is the internal 24 hour "clock" that plays a critical role in when we fall asleep and wake up. Because of this massage therapy is very effective at improving deep and restful sleep in clients who regularly receive massage.
2) Massage Therapy Gives your Immune System a Boost-
Research shows that regular massage has been shown to strengthen the immune system in multiple ways. For example one study working with patients who have compromised immune systems found that massage improved how the immune system functioned. This can also benefit people looking to fight off the common cold, flu, and other seasonal illnesses.
According to research from Cedars-Sinai, participants in a study showed a significant change in lymphocytes, a lymphocytes is one of three subtypes of white blood cells. White blood cells help to fight off viruses and infections. White blood cells are known as the bodies natural killers, or NK cells, they are your own immune army's front line.
In another study composed of HIV-positive adolescents those who had received massage therapy showed enhanced immune function at the end of the 12 week study.
3) Massage Therapy Soothes Anxiety and Depression-
What the research shows- "A review of more than a dozen massage studies conducted by the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine concludes that massage therapy relieves depression and anxiety by affecting the body's biochemistry. In a series of studies including about 500 men, women, and children with depression or stress problems, researchers measured the stress hormone cortisol in participants before and immediately after massage and found that the therapy lowered levels by up to 53%. (Cortisol can drive up blood pressure and blood sugar levels and suppress the immune system.) Massage also increased serotonin and dopamine, neurotransmitters that help reduce depression."
Another benefit of massage for anxiety and depression is the aspect of human touch. Human touch is a powerful thing, knows to release all sorts of feel good chemicals in the brain and body. In the context of massage therapy, safe and friendly human touch can be incredibly beneficial for the recipient, is therapeutic, and relaxing.
Another study published by the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, found that massage therapy had the effect of reducing stress levels and increasing feelings of relaxation and happiness in patients who were depressed and anxious.
4) Massage Therapy Counteracts Postural Stress-
Desk workers beware, postural stress is the stress put on our bodies as a result of inefficient/incorrect posture, repetitive movements or prolonged time in the same position, often as a result of work environments. The majority of individuals are dealing with some type of postural stress. Typically this type of stress manifests in the neck and shoulders.
If you work at a desk postural stress likely effects you in some way. As the stages of postural stress advances this shows us as pain/weakness in the lower back and gluteal muscles caused by prolonged periods of sitting. It is important to remember to take breaks to stretch and move around, as well as try to maintain proper posture. Regular massage therapy can counteract the negative effects of postural stress and help relieve pain and tension caused by postural stress.
There you have it, 4 things that you probably didn't know about massage therapy. Now if your ready to schedule your massge with us to help reap these benefits and more you can head here- http://brilliantbodywork.myonlineappointment.com/Booking
or give us a call at (608) 783-8380. If you would like to learn more about massage therapy at Brilliant Bodywork head here- http://brilliantbodywork.com/massage-therapy/about-massage-therapy
AMTA; Massage Therapy Can Help Improve Sleep; October 2012; www.amtamassage.org/approved_position_statements/Massage-Therapy-Can-Help-Improve-Sleep.html