When was the last time you went out and got a professional massage? Has it been one year? Maybe two? We know getting a massage is hard to fit into your schedule. Between work, school, the kids, and everyday activities, it’s understandable why it might be difficult to make time for ourselves.
Our busy lifestyle is usually what discourages us from taking this time, but in reality, these reasons tell us exactly why we should treat ourselves! A therapeutic massage has significant benefits that reduce stress and increase relaxation. Scientific research actually shows a strong correlation between massage therapy and your overall health! Keep these 8 reasons in mind next time you schedule your therapeutic massage session at Just Melt!
- Massages boost your immunity. Not only does the applied pressure from massage techniques get your blood flowing, it also changes your blood’s composition. A massage that includes long strokes and deep kneading (our Swedish massages are a good example) has the most positive impact on your blood’s composition. Clients who receive massage treatments often have significantly higher levels of blood proteins that play a major role in protecting the body from tumors, viral infections, and other pathogens, compared to blood samples taken from a control group, according to a study published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.
- Massages reduce muscle soreness. Pressure applied to various spots within the muscle allows for the release of tension as well as. According to a recent International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy, a study was conducted where adults were asked to partake in exercises designed to make your muscles sore (deadlifts). Half of them took a normal resting time-out whereas the other half received massages. The group who received these sessions reported less muscle soreness and pain because of the release of toxic metabolic waste (lactic acid)
- Massages improve your flexibility. A lack of flexibility can really negatively impact a person’s day-to-day activities. Movements like bending over can be painful if the lower back muscles as well as the leg muscles are stiff. Two 30-minute massages per week can improve your trunk flexibility and relieve pain associated with lower back stiffness, according to a five-week study that was published in International Journal of Neuroscience study.
- Massages enhances your mood. According to a 2005 massage therapy study, a massage increases your body’s levels of serotonin by 28%. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter linked to happiness. It also increases your body’s levels of dopamine by 31%. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter involved in motivation, arousal, and reward. When both increases are combined, it’s pretty clear how massage therapy can boost your mood!
- Massage therapy alleviates strain caused by typing and texting. This is great news to hear for all those tech savvy people out there. Repetitive use of a keyboard or phone puts strain on muscles in your forearms (which control movement in your hands). Such activity can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome and damage to other major nerves in our hands.
- Massages reduce stress. People often hear about this benefit. There are numerous studies and observations that show that massage can actually diminish most physiological markers of stress. One Korean study found that patients who received massages five minutes before cataract surgery had significantly lower heart rates and blood pressure which lowered the release of the hormone, cortisol, than those who underwent surgery without a hand massage. Dolvett Quince, lead trainer on NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” and a massage and wellness consultant for Brookstone, says that getting a massage is ideal before a big date, interview, or game.
- Massages may help you fall asleep. A small study found that a facial massage lasting only 20 minutes significantly reduces blood pressure, thus increases sleepiness almost immediately. Massage techniques for feet also decreases blood pressure and induces sleepiness, but not to the same degree as the facial massage. Now we know why we want to take a nap on the massage table!
- Massages lessen headaches. There are many existing factors that contribute to headaches, but a majority of them come from tension in the neck. This neck tension restricts blood flow to the brain, thus inducing a headache. Oftentimes a massage to the neck boosts blood flow and diminish the pain. In addition, a four week study found that chronic headache participants who received a 30 minute massage once a week reported a reduced frequency and severity of their headaches.