Benefits of Massage

Clinical studies validate the health and medical benefits of massage.

According to a report on massage by the Mayo Clinic, some of the benefits and uses of massage are:

  • Relieves stress 
  • Can manage anxiety and depression
  • Pain relief
  • Improves stiffness
  • Increases productivity
  • Increases alertness
  • Improves sleep
  • Reduces absenteeism
  • Blood pressure control
  • Sports-related injuries
  • Boosts immunity
  • Enhances relaxation 

A WebMD report on massage states that, “Many types of massage offer benefits beyond simple relaxation.” Below are just a few of the health problems that may benefit from massage. Ask your doctor before using massage for any health condition, though.

  • Decreased cortisol= Decreased stress. Studies show massage lowers levels of cortisol. WebMD warns that constant stress actually becomes “distress — a negative stress reaction. Distress can lead to physical symptoms including headaches, upset stomach, elevated blood pressure, chest pain, and problems sleeping. Research suggests that stress also can bring on or worsen certain symptoms or diseases.”
  • Back pain. More than one study has shown the effectiveness of massage therapy for back pain. In fact, one 2003 study showed it worked better than acupuncture or spinal modification for persistent low back pain — reducing the need for painkillers by 36%.
  • Headache. Another type of pain — headache — also responds to massage therapy, as shown by more than one study. Massage therapy can reduce the number of migraines a person has and also improve sleep.
  • Osteoarthritis. In the first clinical trial looking at the effectiveness of Swedish massage for knee osteoarthritis, participants who received a one-hour massage either one or two times a week had improvements in pain, stiffness, and function. The control group had no such change.
  • Cancer. Used as a complement to traditional, Western medicine, massage can promote relaxation and reduce cancer symptoms or side effects of treatment. It may help reduce pain, swelling, fatigue, nausea, or depression, for example, or improve the function of your immune system.
  • Anxiety. A review of more than 12 studies shows that massage helps relieve depression and anxiety. It lowered levels of cortisol by up to 50%. And massage increased levels of neurotransmitters that help reduce depression.

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