By Anna Lynn Sibal
Massage photo © Kirill Zdorov
The spa business is booming all over the world, and more and more people, women and men alike, are becoming enamored with the comfort and relaxation that massage brings to their bodies.
We all know that soothes aching muscles and relieves pain, but are there other benefits to having our bodies massaged?
Here are some fast facts on what benefits we can get from massage.
Massage helps remove the feeling of pain in the body by stimulating the release of endorphins, which are the body’s feel-good hormones. Because massage relieves pain regardless of cause, it also lessens the body’s need for pain-killing medication.
Another type of hormones that massage helps to release is called cortisol, which is responsible for lowering the stress levels of the body. With lowered stress levels, the body becomes more capable of healing itself. It also lowers blood pressure, allows the body to breathe more properly and lessens feelings of anxiety.
Manipulation of the muscles through massage aids in loosening and relaxing stiffened muscles. Inflammatory afflictions such as arthritis and tendinitis can also be treated using massage.
The circulation of blood in the body is enhanced through massage. Improved circulation means improved supply of nutrients to individual cells of the body, not to mention improved transport of wastes from these cells.
Improved circulation also leads to clearer, softer and healthier skin, as the skin cells become more nourished with oxygen and nutrients.
It is said that massage helps break down accumulated fat underneath the skin, thus aiding weight loss.
Massage also aids in the stimulation of the lymphatic system, boosting the body’s immunity and natural defense mechanisms. A healthy lymphatic system means less susceptibility to various illnesses and the body’s heightened ability to heal itself.
Regular massage improves the flexibility of the joints and makes the body more capable of a wider range of movements. Fluidity of movement brought about by regular massage also reduces the probability of getting muscle injuries. It also improves posture.
In hospitals and other health facilities, massage is now being used to help trauma and surgery patients recover and be rehabilitated. Post-operative massage therapy is also claimed to help shorten the stay of patients in the hospital.
Many pregnant women now seek massage to relax their bodies and prepare themselves for childbirth. Such pregnant women who have undergone massage therapy during their gestation period are said to have shorter and less painful labors.
Massage fulfills the body’s need for touch. Regular massage improves emotional well-being by allowing the person to feel cared for and nurtured. Such not only lowers stress levels but also reduces a person’s tendency to feel anxious and sink into depression.
With massage, the mind is made to feel calm and relaxed. Such a state of the mind is good for enhancing focus and improving concentration, thereby making the mind more creative and productive. Massage also makes the mind aware of the body, allowing it to recognize more quickly its needs and possible afflictions.