The Benefits of Massage

The next time you spend a string of stressful days at the office, don't reach for a sugary snack to perk you up. Instead, reach for the phone and schedule yourself a massage. Once considered a luxury, massages are now seen by many as an important tool in the battle against tension and stress.

"The most noticeable benefits of massage are relaxation and stress reduction," says Debbie Grey. In addition to the pampering effect, more and more people are turning to massage for the health benefits it offers. "A lot of people with back problems or athletes with injuries are getting massages," says Grey. "In fact, chiropractors and physical therapists often recommend massage to their patients."

And with good reason, according to new research, studies have confirmed that massage has many health-boosting effects including reducing heart rate, lowering blood pressure, increasing blood circulation and lymph flow, relaxing muscles, improving range of motion, boosting the immune system, and increasing endorphins. A study by Beth Israel-Deaconess Center for Alternative Medicine Research and Education and the Center for Health Studies in Seattle found that massage was an effective treatment for patients with chronic pain.

Besides these physical benefits, massage also offers mental and emotional benefits, says the American Massage Therapy Association (www.amtamassage.org).

  Some Physical Benefits of Massage Therapy:

  • It physically relaxes the body
  • Calms the nervous system
  • Relieves tired and aching muscles
  • Stimulates the release of endorphins
  • Relieves cramps and muscle spasms
  • Strengthens the immune system
  • Reduces swelling
  • Improves posture
  • Reduces tension headaches
  • Increases tissue metabolism

  Some Mental Benefits of Massage Therapy:

  • Reduces mental stress
  • Promotes better sleep
  • Induces mental relaxation
  • Improves concentration

  Some Emotional Benefits of Massage Therapy:

  • Reduces anxiety
  • Enhances self-image
  • Provides a feeling of well being

It just feels good!