Massage Benefits are More Than Skin Deep
Feel a little self-indulgent when you sneak away for a massage? Put away your guilt right now. The low lights, soft music and boneless feeling of contentment after being kneaded head to toe actually have important health benefits.
As researchers turn more attention to what happens in the body during a massage, they’re finding interesting results. Some benefits are clear even without medical data to back it up.
The increased blood flow that occurs with the manipulation of skin, muscle and tendons improves muscle pain, swollen joints, circulation and skin tone, among other things.
In addition, many people seek the massage table to alleviate low back pain, the fifth most common reason for doctor’s visits in the United States. Massage is effective in treating this life-altering problem with research showing it to be on par with medications, acupuncture and other therapies.
But researchers are delving into the less obvious changes that occur in your body during a massage. Initial results are an exciting affirmation of why regular massages may change how you feel physically and emotionally.
Massages make actual chemical changes in your body, particularly in the immune and endocrine systems. Studies have shown decreased levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, and boosted numbers of neurotransmitters that play a role in fighting depression.
Research at LA’s Cedars-Sinai Medical Center discovered significant decreases in the hormone arginine vasopressin that plays a role in aggression and causes decreases in cortisol.
All of those things affect your immune system and its response to stress and illness. In fact, several studies, including the one at Cedars-Sinai that is considered one of the most significant studies, found increased numbers of white blood cells, those tiny warriors that help keep you well.
What’s interesting about many studies is that test groups receive only one massage, usually for one hour. Imagine the results after a regular massage routine. Newer research is honing in on the usefulness of massage in treating people with cancer, Alzheimer’s Disease, high blood pressure, carpal tunnel syndrome and other diseases. Pilot studies found evidence massage therapy helps with chronic pain management, but, as with understanding the impact of massage on many disease states, more intensive studies are needed.
Of course, seeking massage for no other reason than the feel-good feelings is perfectly legitimate. Massage releases endorphins, those brain chemicals that promote a life-is-good attitude. What an excellent reason to book a massage! When the door closes, the lights lower and the aroma of scented oil fills the room, it doesn’t really matter what the scientists say. Your body knows what works.
Call us today to schedule your massage:
N.J. Massage and Spa (201) 266-6395