After a long and tiring week at work, one of the most rewarding things we can do is to get massage therapy for relaxation. But more than just a soothing treat, a massage is considered as one of the oldest healing traditions used by Ancient cultures to treat various types of ailments.
Generally, massage therapy pertains to the practice of applying various techniques involving touch and motion with application of pressure and intensity, to knead or manipulate a person’s muscles and improve their total health.
Massage and Your Wellbeing
Feeling relieved and calm after massage therapy is a no brainer. This is simply because the practice itself can release endorphins (the ‘happy’ hormone), which brings us to a state of wellness. In addition, one study shows that massage therapy helps in reducing our levels of the stress hormone cortisol while increasing the levels of serotonin and dopamine in our system. Massage is an ideal remedy for various medical conditions and other stressful experiences that often lead to or exacerbate psychological conditions.
Benefits of Massage
Aside from its known medical and relaxing benefits, massage therapy is linked with multiple physical and psychological benefits. These include:
- Muscle Pain Remedy
After a vigorous workout, your muscles tend to wear out and result in sore muscles. Unknowingly, as you start to knead your muscles or stretch it out, you can start realizing that you feel better. This is because pressing one’s muscles after some exercises may decrease muscle inflammation, resulting in full relief and recovery. Also, massage therapy has also proved its effectiveness in reducing other types of pain. This includes low-back pain, neck and shoulder pain, osteoarthritis and even headache.
- Improved Immune System
A study conducted in 2010 concluded that people who undergo massage therapies are more likely to achieve an enhanced immune system. This is because, a massage helps in the activation of the lymphatic system and production of Lymphocytes, or white blood cells that defend our bodies from various diseases. In addition, a massage can also improve immune function for people with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
- Relief from Depression
Depression has become an alarming concern for most people nowadays. Sometimes, it’s obvious, but most of the time, it isn’t. Depression is a mental condition that needs to be treated clinically. It should be known to us that there is not enough firm evidence to prove that massage alone can suffice relief or cure for Depression. However, some studies show that massage therapy can provide mental health benefits such as uplifting one’s feelings and emotions, and thus contributing to the progress of one’s overall treatment for depression. Physical experience involving a touch, a motion, an application of pressure and kneading of one’s muscles can affect one’s physical senses and turn a heavy feeling into a lighter one. Endorphins (remember those ‘happy’ hormones?) which are released, also help to promote one’s wellbeing and, thus, relieving stresses that can contribute to depression.
- Better Sleep
Having insomnia attacks can cause our bodies and brains a lot of stress. And, when we’re stressed, our bodies can act up and respond to stress with different types symptoms such as back pains, headaches, and more. While others resort to taking sleeping pills or pain killers, some people incorporate a more natural way of promoting sleep quality, through massage therapy. Massage therapies can help reduce fatigue and improve quality of sleep. Massage provides a natural way of releasing serotonin. This is a neurotransmitter in our bodies that directly helps us to feel calm.
- Improved Posture
Poor posture usually cause most of the common pains that we experience as Americans — be it back pain, neck, or others. Through massage therapy, our body can loosen up the tension that it is experiencing by relaxing its muscles. This is because of the pressure that massage applies to our body’s vital points in a helpful and soothing motion. In other words, massage therapy provides a proven method of correcting the body’s wrong positioning and thus, improving one’s posture.
- Improved Blood Circulation
Poor blood circulation may result in various forms of discomfort for individuals. On the one hand, good circulation allows healthy and oxygen-rich blood cells to course through your body; thereby easing muscle tension and healing injuries. Through massage therapy, the pressure applied to your tissues enables the blood to pass through congested areas in the body. As such, better conditions including enhanced blood flow and better body function are achieved. In addition, this provides a more significant benefit to women as the fresh and oxygenated blood in the ovaries helps to improve the egg’s health. When it comes to men, massages also improve circulation to the testicles and thus, boosting sperm quality.
Massage Therapy on Chronic Pelvic Pain Experienced by Women
Chronic Pelvic Pain experienced by women may be associated with other pain syndromes such as irritable bowel syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome, autoimmune diseases, fibromyalgia or endometriosis. Worst-case scenario, women with endometriosis also have a hard time conceiving. Research shows that up to 3 out of 10 reproductive-aged women are affected by endometriosis. In addition, 20-40% of women with such conditions are said to become infertile as their fallopian tubes can get scarred or blocked. The inflammation triggered by endometriosis within the pelvic organs can significantly cause the ovaries, eggs, fallopian tubes and uterus to be dysfunctional. While medications such as pain relievers and hormonal treatment are available, some doctors would recommend physical therapies which include stretching and massaging to improve these conditions. Specifically, pelvic physical therapy by a trained and certified women’s ‘pelvic health specialist’ can work wonders. The soothing touches of massage therapy allow women, and men who suffer from chronic pelvic pain, to develop different coping strategies for their pain, These specialists can also help in targeting these painful areas using Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS). These TENS deliver impulses and relax the tension or cramping in the pelvic muscles, including those within the vagina or around the rectum and thus, resulting in relief.
Some Take Away Learning for General Massage Therapy
Massage Therapy does not only make one feel good, but it also brings about numerous benefits for our health. There are different types of massage that one can undergo. These could be identified as Swedish, Remedial, Therapeutic, Aromatherapy, Baby or Prenatal Massage, Shiatsu, Reflexology, Sports Therapy and more. Special conditions, such as having bone fractures or a deep vein blood clot, may not exclude a person from being able to undergo this form of treatment. Lastly, despite the healing and relaxing benefits of a massage, one must always consult a doctor regularly to learn the best way to deal with their medical conditions.