The Health Benefits of Massage
Anyone who has had the pleasure will verify that a good massage feels terrific. It leaves you feeling relaxed, refreshed and re-energized. But the effects are often far more than just a pleasant afterglow. A good massage can provide a definite boost in health.
Tight muscles can result from over exercising or from stress, disease, injury and other causes. In the first case, appropriate techniques can help relieve those knotty areas, improve circulation and help de-toxify muscles. When they result from stress a good massage can go even further to help restore health.
Stress is usually a combination of physical and emotional factors, and jointly caused by both external and internal factors. No external fact alone can cause stress, but how you react to it does. On the other hand, you don’t simply react to nothing. There are decidedly external factors you observe before you evaluate them as stressful.
Massage helps work on the issue from both directions.
Placing yourself into a quiet, peaceful ambiance with low lights, some nice music, maybe even a few pleasant scents removes you from the external stressors. You enter, at least temporarily, a comfortable zone. Then the therapist proceeds to work on tense neck and back muscles, which are often the chief victims of stress.
The result is an improved frame of mind, gained from better physical feelings and the opportunity to unwind and forget about the stressful events. The effect is one of mood elevation. That enhances the ability to deal with the emotional aspects of stress.
A proper massage can aid circulation by directly working on areas where fluids can get trapped. Renewing or increasing flow in those areas leads to better tissue flooding, eliminating build of toxins and bringing in fresh nutrients. Muscles that receive a fresh flow repair better and feel better.
One offshoot is the possibility of improved digestion. Both stress and poor circulation are hindrances to good digestion. As the massage relieves both those trouble areas, the stomach and intestines respond accordingly.
One of the obvious and usually immediate benefits is improved range of motion. Sports massage sessions often see this, but it happens with other techniques as well. Once tight muscles have been relaxed, and joints made more limber, stiffness dissolves. The result is a greater range of motion. Effective massage techniques can, in some cases, work as part of an overall treatment plan to combat certain diseases and conditions. Arthritis sufferers, those who have had surgery on limbs and others frequently find that massage accompanies physical therapy.
Certain injuries can be aided to heal faster by adding massage therapy to the mix of treatments. Caution is advised, though. Conditions of broken bones which sometimes go undiagnosed in athletes when the break is small can be worsened by massage therapy. So too, inflammations and external lesions should addressed before beginning massage therapy.
In general, however, the reasons for the benefits of massage are not far to seek. The healing power of touch is well known to body work professionals and they use all their tools to bring the patient to optimum health. Though massage recipients should be skeptical of claims of miracle cures, there is ample evidence that massage does help in many instances.