While massages were once considered a luxury indulgence, the health benefits of massage are becoming more widely recognized. One of the benefits receiving more recognition is the pain-relieving qualities of massage therapy. The American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) is on the forefront of promoting massage as part of a holistic treatment program for pain management as a substitute for opioid painkillers. In fact, many doctors are now prescribing massages for their patients.
With this shift in public perception, more and more people are turning to massage for healthcare reasons, rather than merely relaxation or stress relief. While massage does relax the body, the benefits extend beyond looser muscles. It can be an important component of maintaining health and overall well-being, and of managing pain without having to endure the side effects of prescription medication.
How massage relieves pain
Pain is one of the primary reasons that many go to see a doctor, and chronic pain is one of the leading causes of long-term disability. Millions of Americans suffer from chronic pain, which can have a significant impact on their lives. With advances in neuroscience, it is becoming understood that chronic pain involves the brain and nervous system as well as the physical root cause. Massage deals with the body and mind as a holistic whole, which is one of the reasons massage is able to provide effective pain relief.
Of course, loosening up tense muscles can help reduce pain in and of itself. However, there are other ways in which massage with moderate pressure provides relief from pain symptoms.
- Increases circulation: Massage has been shown to increase circulation and blood flow, which allows more oxygen to get to the muscles as well as providing a pleasant warming sensation.
- Regulates hormones: Massage reduces the amount of stress hormones the body produces, such as cortisol. Many studies have shown that our body’s physiological reaction to stress can impede the healing process. A massage can also increase the production of “feel-good” hormones such as oxytocin and serotonin, which helps to further relax the muscles and promote feelings of well-being.
- Reduces inflammation: Inflammatory responses can cause or worsen pain issues.
- Improves sleep: Sleep is important for our bodies to heal, but it can be difficult to get enough rest when in chronic pain.
- Reduces anxiety: Chronic pain can make one anxious, which creates a vicious cycle in which constant worrying about the pain makes it worse. Regular massage can help lessen this anxiety.
Conditions that can benefit from massage
Massage can provide relief from pain symptoms caused by a number of conditions. Some of the most promising results have been seen with the following:
- Back pain: Back pain is one of the most common reasons people seek massage therapy, especially lower back pain. Regular massage sessions can help reduce pain and improve mobility.
- Arthritis: Rubbing the sore joints on a regular basis can lessen pain and improve grip strength in those with hand or wrist arthritis. It has also been shown to improve mobility in those with osteoarthritis of the knees.
- Fibromyalgia: Studies have shown that massage can help reduce pain, anxiety, and depression in fibromyalgia patients.
- Sports injuries: Massage can help manage the acute pain symptoms of pulled, strained, sprained, or overworked muscles.
If you’re interested in finding out if massage therapy can help you manage your pain symptoms, Rubs Massage Studio has several convenient locations in Tucson, Chandler, and the surrounding areas. We offer relaxing and therapeutic massages in a variety of methods and ranging from 50 to 110 minutes. In addition, we provide spa packages, waxing, and skin care. Call or book your appointment online today, and be sure to ask how you can save with our loyalty program.