When people think of massage one of the first things they think of is how good it feels. And, it does feel pretty great. But, the benefits of massage extend beyond that one hour appointment. These benefits affect nearly every system in the body. From acting on the nervous system to relieve stress and insomnia, to acting on the musculoskeletal system optimizing an athlete’s performance or helping a person’s recovery after injury. Anyone, of any age, can benefit from massage.
Massage helps decrease stress and anxiety. According to the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) a ‘study on the effect of trigger point therapy, there was a significant decrease in heart rate, systolic blood pressure8, and diastolic blood pressure. Measures of oxygen consumption, blood pressure, and salivary cortisol levels were all lower after a 10 to 15 minute chair massage in controlled studies. Changes in psychological states have been measured by physiological responses the Perceived Stress Scale, the POMS Depression Scale and the Anxiety State Scale.’
Massage helps relieve pain from injury, surgery or overuse. Massage improves circulation, including circulation within the muscle. A skilled therapist can utilize trigger point therapy, or ischemic compression, to help relieve tender points within muscles and positional release working with proprioceptors within the muscles and tendons to help relieve pain and improve mobility.
Lippincott, William and Wilkins, Therapeutic Massage in Athletics 2007, stated that massage may actually help prevent injury if received regularly. Student Athletes to Professional Athletes receive many forms of massage to improve performance and improve comfort and recovery from injuries. Some gyms have hydrotherapy treatments with hot and cold therapy. During the olympics it wasn’t unusual to see athletes with circular bruising from cupping. Think Michael Phelps. Or wearing colorful kinesio tape across muscles and joints.
Massage is even good for your skin. Massage encourages healthy circulation, even in the capillaries of the skin. And, healthy circulation improves oxygen delivery to cells and waste removal. Healthy skin helps protect us from illness and infection.
Massage has been used around the world since ancient times to treat illness and promote health. Massage has been shown to help improve balance in seniors and to soothe colicky babies. Massage helps keep athletes at peak performance and ease the stress of every day life. Physicians and insurance companies have recognized the benefit of massage and some insurance will even cover appointments. Massage is not a luxury it is beneficial to every body.
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