In the past, massage was perceived as the affluent people’s form of relaxation and mainly something you could only enjoy on your “all expense paid” vacation. However, today, while it is entirely true that hiring a personal massage specialist is not exactly cheap, you could also opt for appointments at the local spa or parlor for much less. In fact, there are numerous facilities that offer loyal customers discounts, making the sessions affordable for any person with an average income.
Leaving the price out of the equation for a second, let’s explore a few of the reasons why these procedures are invaluable allies in terms of enhancing the quality of your life. Keep in mind though that the following benefits apply only when the massage is performed by an experienced and licensed specialist.
1. Massages negate the modern world’s biggest enemy – stress
Stress relief occurs following a quality massage session due to several reasons, but mainly thanks to the substantial decrease in the levels of cortisol produced by the body. As you all know, cortisol is secreted in considerably higher quantities when a person is under a lot of stress and this substance is highly damaging for the immune system and the cells. The low cortisol levels persist for an extended period after receiving the massage, which means that you can enjoy being stress-free for quite a while. In addition, studies indicate a noticeable increase in the levels of “wellness” hormones like endorphins and serotonin, further promoting relaxation and decreasing stress.
2. Stubborn pain alleviation, especially for critical body areas
Migraines, back/neck pains, muscle tension and a whole plethora of painful sensations can be treated with the aid of massage. The Touch Research Institute has recently released a study that shows an inverse correlation between massage sessions and the “substance P” (a primary factor responsible for pain). It is also important to note that the aforementioned enhance the production of endorphins and serotonin, a fact that helps in negating painful sensations. And, the good news is that the pain alleviation via massage works even better when you are not rubbing the exact painful spot.
3. Keeping the blood pressure in check
Several studies, including the 2005 research conducted by University of South Florida, have determined that there is a direct link between blood pressure and massage therapy. The hypothesis – which has been proven true – is that the massage acts directly on the “vagus” nerve, which has the role of controlling the blood pressure. In the study, people who were diagnosed with hypertension and received 10 massage sessions (10 min each) displayed noticeable health improvements; while on the other hand, the control group who didn’t benefit from MT did not.
4. Improving the breathing patterns
Improper breathing is, more often than not, related to underdeveloped or tightened muscles. Without an effective breathing pattern, the oxygen circulation is hindered and, in turn, the energy levels of the patient are considerably lower. Fortunately, certain massage techniques are able to help these muscles achieve a state of relaxation and therefore, boost the breathing capacity of the body. As of such, you will no longer experience shortness of breath and the flow of oxygen should stay at optimal levels.
5. Enhancing energy levels
The higher energy levels are essentially the cumulative effect of all the aforementioned benefits. To put it simply, lower cortisol/substance P amounts, better serotonin and endorphin levels, proper breathing patterns and a regulated blood pressure will all help the patient become more energetic and healthier overall. That is precisely the reason why massage therapy is such an invaluable ally and should not be discarded as the prerogative of people with too much money. You can’t really put a price on your health and well being, can you?
For more reading on the benefits of massage we suggest you check out this article in the Huffington Post.
Lucy is no stranger to stress…for treatment via holistic methods she recommends Maidenhead Podiatry. There are numerous types of treatment around now and you’re bound to find one to suit you be it meditation, typical body massage as discussed above or reflexology.