While many people have traditionally seen massage therapy as a luxurious indulgence, it is becoming more and more apparent that it can be an essential part of your health routine. The aches and pains of everyday life are many, but the long term benefits of regular massage therapy should not be underestimated. Therapeutic massage is being taken more seriously in the medical community in recent years, with a large number of insurance companies offering coverage for sessions. Whether you’re looking to decrease mild stress from work or your body is in serious need of healing, massage therapy can offer the help you need. The potential benefits of this practice are too many to list, but here are just a few:
Chronic stress is a serious problem, and more and more individuals are experiencing related symptoms. When your body is stressed, it releases a hormone known as cortisol. This chemical redirects your body’s resources to deal with perceived threats. While this is necessary for your body as part of its stress response, when your cortisol levels are too high over time, it can result in a variety of negative effects. These include anxiety, depression, and fatigue, but in more serious cases can result in things like emotional instability, cognitive issues, or even bone and muscle problems. High cortisol levels in otherwise healthy individuals can actually lengthen the time it takes for wounds to heal, and individuals who are highly stressed also experience detrimental effects to their immune system in the long term. Massage therapy has been shown to reduce the level of cortisol in the body, which is why it is so effective when it comes to stress relief. Furthermore, the decreased stress and improved mood can last well after your session has been completed.
Improving posture is another major benefit of massage. Between commuting, spending time sitting at the office, sitting at our home computers, and watching TV, our lives are becoming increasingly sedentary. This is having a detrimental effect on our long term health, and studies are finding it comparable in severity to the effects of smoking or obesity. This has led to a sharp increase of neck and back pain. Chronic back pain is an especially serious issue, and is a major factor when it comes to disability and missed work days. Massage therapy is uniquely effective when it comes to realigning your back properly, which is also one of the reasons why it is so relaxing and pleasurable. Taking advantage of massage therapy on a more regular basis offers even greater benefits, as you will have better flexibility and range of motion thanks to muscles that are generally looser and more relaxed.
Lowers Blood Pressure
Studies have shown that regular massage therapy has the power to lower your blood pressure. The CDC reports that almost 30% of adults in America suffer from high blood pressure. High blood pressure is known to cause a large number of serious issues, such as risk of heart attack, stroke, and kidney failure. Over time, it can even result in weakened cognitive abilities and increased chance of dementia, as it interferes with blood flow to your brain. Visiting a massage therapist on a regular basis has been shown to decrease both diastolic and systolic blood pressure. Best of all, this is a totally natural alternative with absolutely no side effects!
Fights Against Depression
Massage has also been shown to offer a defense against depression. This is because massage has been proven to be highly effective when it comes to stimulating the release of serotonin in your body. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter and is party responsible for what we experience as feelings of contentment and well being. Low serotonin levels are associated with a large number of conditions, including depression, anxiety, insomnia, chronic pain, and migraines. Massage also increases your dopamine levels, which impacts your brains reward system. When you are low in dopamine, you have low motivation, low energy, and difficulty focusing. Massage can increase serotonin and dopamine levels up to 30%. This is the reason why people who partake in massage therapy report feelings of relaxation and overall well-being well after their session has ended.