Touch, in our modern-day society, is not a common thing between people. Sometimes we can go for weeks or even months without any physical contact with another human being. But as recent research has shown, touch is an essential aspect of our emotional well-being. And no wonder! Touch is the first sense that we acquire – in essence, it is our first language. When one receives human touch, they feel at ease. Touch can give us support and comfort during times of distress. It is also associated with feelings of joy, love, gratitude, reward and compassion, as well as a stronger immune system!
A therapeutic massage provides us with many benefits such as reducing stress, relieving pain, enhancing physical performance, and it can also be very nurturing. Stress is a precursor of many diseases, and by managing stress you can assist your body in remaining in the healthy zone. In addition, massage therapy gives us an opportunity to tune out of our fast paced lives and tune into ourselves, which can also enhance our spiritual and emotional well-being.
Benefits of Massage
Here are just a few of the many Physical and Emotional benefits of massage:
- Increases circulation, allowing your body to pump more oxygen and nutrients into tissues and vital organs.
- Stimulates the Lymphatic System – a network of tissues and organs that help rid the body of toxins, waste, and other unwanted materials.
- Lowers Blood Pressure, which can help improve your cardiovascular health.
- Alleviates stress, anxiety, anger, and depression, as well as helping trauma victims reconnect with and reclaim their bodies.
- Helps relieve mood swings, bloating, headaches, weight gain and other PMS symptoms.
- Reduces post-surgical healing time.
- Relaxes and softens injured and overused muscles.
- Reduces spasms and cramping.
- Increases joint flexibility and improves balance in older adults.
- Reduces post-workout recovery time and helps prepare for strenuous exercise.
- Releases endorphins – the body’s natural painkiller – which helps cope to control and relieve pain associated with chronic illness, injury and post-op recovery.
- Reduces post-surgery adhesions and edema, and can be used to reduce and realign scar tissue after healing has occurred.
- Improves range-of-motion and decreases discomfort for patients with low back pain.
- Relieves pain for migraine sufferers and decreases the need for medication.
- Provides exercise and stretching for atrophied muscles and reduces shortening of the muscles for those with restricted range of motion.
- Assists with shorter labor for expectant mothers, as well as less need for medication and shorter hospital stays.
Changing Public Perception: from Luxury to Healthcare
Words like relaxation and pampering have often been used to describe a person’s idea of a good massage. For example, according to a survey commissioned by the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) several years ago, 26 percent of the 39 million Americans who got a massage that year said it was for relaxation or stress reduction, and another 11 percent said it was to pamper themselves. Only 30 percent of those surveyed had mentioned getting massage therapy for medical or health reasons.
This trend is changing. According to AMTA’s 19th annual consumer survey, completed in 2015, 72 percent of consumers agree that massage therapy should be considered a form of healthcare. Out of those surveyed, 52 percent stated that their primary reason for receiving a massage was medical. The shift in public opinion is well justified. In addition to the great relaxation and stress-relief benefits, which play an important role in one’s overall health and wellness, massage provides significant medical benefits that deserve to be recognized.
Massage therapy has been shown to address serious health issues by relieving symptoms associated with a variety of conditions. According to Dr. Candice Pert, the preventative benefits of massage are so great that “we could replace 90% of mainstream medicine with a WEEKLY Massage”. Take a look at the benefits list and the interactive body map below for just some of the ways in which massage therapy can be effective.