For a long time, massage was only seen as a leisure activity. It was later considered a source of palliative care. Now massage therapy’s health benefits have been proven scientifically. Over and above causing relaxation of the muscles, massage also leads to the release of hormones that improve health. It also inhibits other hormones whose increase in the body causes poor health. The following is a list of scientifically proven health benefits of massage.
i. Reduces Anxiety
Anxiety is something that everyone experiences from time to time. It has negative effects on health when it morphs to stress and depression. Both stress and depression have major implications on a person’s health. The hormone that causes stress, depression and anxiety is known as cortisol. Massage inhibits the release of cortisol thus reducing anxiety. This lifts the beneficiary’s spirits and it reduces their blood pressure. Massage is also associated with production of serotonin which is a mood stabilizer.
ii. Improves sleep
One of the more common causes of ill health is lack of good sleep. Lack of sleep leads to weight gain, loss of focus, high blood pressure among other problems. Sleeplessness also aggravates the symptoms of other diseases. One way of showing that massages aid in sleeping is the frequency of cases of people sleeping during massages. Science has proved that massage influences the release of delta waves which lull the brain to sleep.
iii. Reduces the effects of cancer treatment
One of the main challenges that faces patients suffering from cancer and other terminal illnesses is anxiety. The effects of chemotherapy and the other draining forms of treatment include stress and depression. With depression as a co-morbidity, treatment and healing of cancer becomes more difficult than it otherwise would be. When these treatments are combined with massage therapy, they work better due to the ability of massage to cortisol and induce produce production of dopamine and serotonin.
iv. Improves the immune system
Studies have shown that people who undergo regular massages have higher levels of white blood cells. This enables them to fight diseases more effectively than those with lower levels of white blood cells. The research also concluded that the more the massages a person receives, the greater the increase in immunity.
v. It Reduces Pain
One of the consequences of massage is that it reduces the amount of pain experienced by individuals. Massage therapy is usually prescribed for people who suffer from chronic back pain. According to the annals of internal medicine in 2011, people who suffer from chronic back pain are more likely to be healed if they get weekly massages for ten weeks. When receiving massage therapy, one out of every three people is likely to get well as compared to 1 out of 25 receiving normal treatment.
Massage therapy has been used to reduce inflammation that comes as a result of exertion of the muscles. This benefit is particularly important for athletes as it improves their wellness. It is also applicable for fitness enthusiasts who need to be ready to face the day after a tough workout session. It is for this reason that massage has been used to treat muscle injuries in the middle of games. To reduce inflammation a simple massage of less than ten minutes may suffice.