A side from the fact that a good massage makes you feel better, what are some of the other benefits to this practice? As a long time advocate for massage, I decided to delve into its not as well known aspects to see what else it offers beside a well spent hour on the table. What I discovered are the following five hidden benefits of a good massage.
For people with impaired vascular function or limited mobility, research has shown that regular massage may offer significant benefits, especially in improved circulation. A study from the University of Illinois at Chicago found that massage helped improve vascular function in people who had not exercised. Researchers said this suggested the benefits of massage for circulatory function for anyone regardless of level of physical activity. Those with physical injury who underwent massage showed improved blood flow and vascular function was changed at a distance from the site of the injury and the massage.When you’re on the table, you can almost feel your circulation changing. At least, I can. This can’t be just my imagination. My massage therapist says my overall skin colour – a nice pink – is evidence of the improved circulation. No wonder I feel good afterwards.
The lymphatic system gets a workout
There is a type of massage known as lymphatic massage or lymphatic drainage that stimulates the lymphatic system. The benefits of such stimulation are improved metabolism, removal of bodily waste and toxins, and promotion of a healthy immune system.Some people are prescribed lymphatic massage following breast cancer or other surgeries. But this gentle form of massage, alone or in conjunction with deep tissue or Swedish massage, is also helpful for those with a sports injury, emotional problems, stress, low energy, illnesses, or an impaired immune system.During the massage, the therapist exerts gentle pressure and pumps toward the direction of the lymph nodes throughout the body. A combination of deep thumb pressure (shiatsu) and Swedish techniques help relax the body. The therapist may focus on one area requiring attention (at the request of the client) or do a whole-body workout.
Massage loosens muscles
Being in physical therapy for a recent low back pain episode means I’m working muscles that have not seen regular activity for some time. That results in soreness that proves I’m doing things right, but it’s also a little uncomfortable.While the therapy starts with dry heat and then massage before exercise, I also find that getting a good massage at times other than during physical therapy helps loosen those tight, sore muscles.
Stress and tension melt away
Everyday stress is unavoidable in today’s fast-paced world. Tension headaches, tightness in your shoulders, stomach-aches and assorted pains are signs of built-up stress. The confident hands of an expert massage therapist help melt all that stress and tension.This is a case where you don’t need to do anything other than relax and feel your body ease a sigh of relief. As you breathe in and out, visualize the stress and tension escaping, like a dark cloud being chased by the wind. The warmth you feel is like the sun bringing life and energy to every part of your body.