7 Benefits of Massage Therapy
Booking a massage at your local luxury spa is a fantastic way to unwind and feel revitalized — but there’s more to it than that. Much more.
Join us as we explore the top seven benefits of massage therapy, giving you all the motivation you need to schedule your next session.
1. Enhance your circulation
Research shows that massage therapy has the power to improve circulation throughout your body, particularly in those areas massaged.
One study found that massage increased the flow of blood significantly, which had a positive effect on muscle fatigue (ideal for people with active lifestyles).
Another study discovered that enhanced circulation was “sustained for a number of days”, so a professional massage may continue to benefit your body long after you leave the spa.
Enhanced circulation offers a number of benefits, including increased relaxation, reduced swelling after an injury, and improved muscle elasticity. That’s why you’ll walk away from the table feeling less tense and limber after a great massage.
2. Combat stress
Stress is common for Canadians. According to a survey, 23 percent of people older than 15 years of age feel affected by various degrees of stress on most days, ranging from moderate to extreme levels. But that jumps to 30 percent for people between 35 and 54.
Stress can have a serious effect on your mental and physical health over time, such as disrupting the cardiovascular, immune, and gastrointestinal systems.
Massage therapy is a simple and effective way to combat stress, whether it’s caused by work, relationships, family issues, or almost anything else. This is due to the way in which massage helps to cultivate a decrease in heart rate, cortisol levels, and more. A study found that these and other stress-related bodily functions were eased after just 10 – 15 minutes of massage therapy.
3. Help relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety
A relaxing massage can help to ease the symptoms of depression and anxiety by increasing serotonin and dopamine, both of which can help to improve mood.
Research has found that cortisol levels dropped dramatically after massage therapy, by 31 percent on average. Serotonin levels also rose by 28 percent on average and dopamine levels increased by 31 percent on average.
Obviously, undergoing regular massages won’t solve your problems — the root causes of depression and anxiety should be addressed with help from specialists. Medication may be prescribed to alleviate symptoms, too.
However, massages may complement other methods of treating depression and anxiety over time. Lying on a massage table in a calm, relaxing environment, in the hands of a professional, can allow you time to focus on feeling good, creating an ideal situation to get away from your problems for a while.
4. Lower blood pressure
High blood pressure has the potential to cause major health complications, including increasing the danger of experiencing a cardiac event (e.g. a heart attack) and stroke. Common factors contributing to heightened blood pressure include high cholesterol, diabetes, kidney or hormonal issues, and being overweight.
It’s crucial to keep your blood pressure at a healthy level to avoid any of these complications, and that means some big lifestyle changes may be required. But regular massages can help, too,
A study involving 50 pre-hypertensive women showed that those undergoing brief Swedish massages three times per week had significantly lower blood pressure than the rest of the group.
5. Flush toxins from your body
One of the most well-known benefits of massage therapy is that it helps to flush toxins from your body and remove them via the lymph nodes.
The lymphatic system is responsible for helping to defend your body from invading bacteria that could cause illnesses, maintaining healthy fluid levels, and extracting cellular waste. It also transports fats and fatty acids from the digestive system.
The pressure applied to your skin during a massage helps to boost the circulation of lymph fluids, encouraging metabolic waste to be pushed away from the muscles and vital organs.
6. Improve the quality of your sleep
Quality sleep is vital to help you stay focused, alert, and healthy. A lack of restful sleep has been linked to various complications, including a heightened risk of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Potentially falling asleep while driving or handling machinery can also put you (and others) at risk.
You may be able to make certain changes in your life to improve the quality of sleep, such as investing in a more comfortable bed, reducing the temperature in your bedroom, wearing ear plugs, listening to calming white noise — and, of course, trying massage therapy.
We’ve already established that a massage can increase serotonin and dopamine levels while reducing cortisol, all of which is beneficial to improved relaxation. But the serotonin released during a massage can trigger the release of melatonin, a hormone which tells your body that it’s time to sleep.
Stimulating melatonin release can help you to fall asleep easier, and if you’re in a more relaxed state of mind, you may enjoy more restful sleep.
7. Boost your flexibility
When you feel tense and stiff, you may struggle to get comfortable when sitting or lying down. This can be particularly difficult if you spend hours seated at a desk, hunched over a table, five or more days a week. You may have bad posture, your muscles could become tight, and you might become less flexible over time.
Fortunately, massage therapy helps to relieve muscle tension and tightness, increasing elasticity of muscles throughout the body. This leads to improved flexibility and range of movement. You may also notice that you have better balance, posture, and physical performance.
These seven benefits demonstrate the positive impact that massage therapy from trained professionals can make. Access Health Centre’s expert team offers a number of massage therapy services, including Swedish Massage, Deep Tissue Massage, Hot Stone Massage, Prenatal Massage, Sports Massage, and Trigger Point Therapy.
Want to learn more? Book your massage therapy session with Access Health Centre now!