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Kent Probst, BS, MEd
Kent Probst is the owner of Long Healthy Life Blog
10 Benefits of Massage: What is Massage?
During massage therapy, a certified, trained massage therapist manipulates a client’s soft tissues, including muscles, tendons, connective tissue, skin, and ligaments. The purpose of the massage may be to get one of the 10 benefits of massage listed below.
There may be other benefits of massage not addressed here.
There are numerous types of massage therapy. Here are some of the most common:
- Trigger point
- Deep tissue
Considered integrative treatment, massage therapy may be prescribed by a physician, depending on your situation. The different types of massage are not exclusive, and may be combined by massage therapists.
10 Benefits of Massage: How it Helps
1. Management of Fibromyalgia
In a review of published studies, patients with fibromyalgia were able to get relief from depression, pain, and anxiety with 5 weeks of massage therapy.
Other research has shown that massage therapy is widely used by fibromyalgia patients to manage their condition.
2. Stress Relief
While many people use massage therapy to mitigate the stress of everyday life, it has been shown to help people with anxiety disorders.
People with untreated general anxiety disorder saw significant improvements from Swedish massage therapy based on the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale compared to the control group.
3. Pain Management
A reason holistic pain management appeals to people is they can avoid pain medications that can be addictive and have serious side effects.
The effectiveness of massage on pain reduction has been studied in an acute care hospital setting.
The patients from three different units in the hospital reported significant reductions in pain following massage.
The study participants also reported improved “emotional well-being, relaxation and ability to sleep.”
4. Improved Sleep
The National Sleep Foundation says that a third of Americans experience insomnia. It’s an epidemic problem. A third get less than 7 hours of sleep per night.
Did you know that chronic insomnia can lead to heart disease, poor learning and memory, diabetes, depression, weight gain, and premature skin aging?
A weakened immune system also increases the risk of bacterial, parasitic and viral infections.
Massage therapy was shown to improve insomnia in postmenopausal women and people with congestive heart failure.
5. Management of Myofascial Pain Syndrome
Characterized by regional muscle pain and tenderness related to myofascial trigger points in skeletal muscle, massage therapy may provide relief to people with this ailment.
The effects of massage therapy on pressure-pain threshold (PPT) were examined and found to improve the PPT with single and multiple massages in people with tension-type headaches.
6. Reduced Muscle Soreness
The muscle soreness you experience after a workout is known as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). If you don’t want to wait for the recovery time needed to eliminate DOMS, you may want to consider massage therapy.
Researchers found that massage therapy significantly reduced DOMS and swelling by as much as 30% in people who performed isokinetic exercise.
7. Improved Immune Function
Knowing how to boost your immune system is important since immunity weakens with age, making you more vulnerable to chronic inflammation, cancer, and infections.
Just one session of Swedish massage therapy produced measurable results regarding enhancing the immune system of healthy adults, increasing the number of circulating lymphocytes and decreasing biomarkers of inflammation.
8. Improved Range of Motion
Range of motion is the ability to move your joints unimpeded with full range of motion (ROM) without pain.
If you’re stretching regularly, but still having a problem with flexibility, you may want to consider massage therapy.
A meta-analysis of seven studies showed that massage therapy significantly increases shoulder range of motion, specifically flexion and abduction.
9. Treatment for Arthritis
The Arthritis Foundation reports that a body of published studies show that arthritis patients with arthritis of the knees, hands, and low back get relief from using massage therapy.
Make sure you’re following the correct guidelines from the Arthritis Foundation when using massage therapy to treat arthritis.
10. Fatigue Reduction and Improved Circulation
Athletes, as well as others, may want to consider massage therapy to address muscle fatigue and lack of circulation to improve performance.
Investigators found that participants who received massage therapy to the low back area got relief in the form of lessened muscle fatigue and increased muscle blood volume.
While not a comprehensive list, these are 10 benefits of massage to think about.
Consult with your physician if undergoing treatment for a medical condition before starting massage therapy.
And make sure your massage therapist is certified and experienced in treating your condition.
With the right approach, massage therapy can be a successful complement to your treatment plan, or serve as an approach to maintaining wellness.
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