When you first think of massage, odds are you think of an hour of relaxation– a little “me” time. Massage certainly offers a great way to escape from the stresses of our everyday lives, but more and more studies are showing that regular massage gives you so much more a range of emotional and physical benefits.
10 reasons to incorporate more massage in your life.
1. Massage reduces stress—A single massage can lower your heart rate, cortisol and insulin levels, all of which are tied to how stressed you feel.
2. Massage helps you relax—Long after your massage is over, you will still benefits from a host of brain chemistry responses that encourage feelings of relaxation, relief from the stress and improved mood.
3. Massage improves posture—Massage helps your body to reinforce healthy and natural movements, which will help correct any posture problems you may have.
4. Massage improves circulation—The pressure from massage moves oxygen-rich blood through the body to damaged, tense muscles so they can heal, while removing lactic acid and other metabolic waste.
5. Massage lowers blood pressure—Studies have shown that massage can lower both diastolic and systolic blood pressure.
6. Massage relaxes muscles—Sitting causes a lot of chronic back pain, and massage can help with persistent pain by relaxing those tense muscles.
7. Massage improves flexibility—Sedentary lifestyles and age can make joints less flexible. Massage helps improve fluidity and range of motion in your joints and connective tissues.
8. Massage helps you breathe better—Massage can relax muscles in the upper body, which, if they become too tight, can constrict breathing.
9. Massage relieves headaches—Regular massage reduces your chance of developing a headache in the first place by relaxing muscle spasms and trigger points. Already have a headache? It can decrease the pain.
10. Massage strengthens the immune system—Studies have shown that regular massage can improve your body’s overall immune functioning.
Relaxing Massage for Stress
Research has shown that it can lower your heart rate and blood pressure, relax your muscles and increase the production of endorphins, your body’s natural “feel good” chemical. Serotonin and dopamine are also released through massage, and the result is a feeling of calm relaxation that makes chronic or habitual as well as acute or short-term stress much easier to overcome.
In fact, stress relief is one of the first benefits that come to mind when thinking of massage therapy. It’s also a key component for anyone trying to achieve a healthier lifestyle. Clinical studies show that even a single 1 ½-hour session can significantly lower your heart rate, cortisol levels and insulin levels — all of which explain why massage therapy and stress relief go hand-in-hand.
Taking care of your body should be at the top of your priorities. By adding a massage to your routine now, you’ll feel, look and simply be healthier far into the future stress relief alone can improve your vitality and state of mind. So what better way to prep for a long, happy day than a relaxing, therapeutic massage? In addition to stress relief, ongoing massage therapy can reduce pain, increase energy levels and improve overall physical and mental performance.
Swedish massage is focused primarily on the body and therefore is a more physical approach to relieving stress, aches, pains, and tension. One of Swedish massage benefits is ability to relax the mind-brain connection the mind being the energy and thoughts, and the brain being the physical matter. This is thought to contribute to a more balanced, stimulated, and integrated system.
A healthy mind-brain connection may also help facilitate better physical health. To enhance the therapeutic benefits, your practitioner will likely incorporate the following into your Swedish massage session:
Oils, balms, herbal applications, or heat may be applied to the skin to calm the body and mind. With these external applications, the body begins to release stress and is more receptive to receive the massage technique’s benefits. Soft music is often used to further assist in relaxation.
Stroking in smooth movements, kneading to loosen muscles, rubbing or friction with the practitioner using both hands back and forth in opposite directions, and striking (tapping or chopping the body with fingers or hands) are all used in combination. These movements help relax the body, increase circulation, and improve drainage in the lymphatic system.
Health Benefits of Swedish Massage
Swedish massage helps body heal itself by physically manipulating and stimulating the body’s circulatory and lymphatic systems. This works to energize and help eliminate toxins in the body. Through Swedish massage a high level of relaxation can often be achieved and this relaxation can help prepare the body to act as an open, receptive vessel in which healing can more rapidly occur. Studies have provided evidence that Swedish massage may be beneficial for specific conditions such as arthritis in the knees, symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, blood pressure, immune system issues, severe headaches and migraines, and fibromyalgia.
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Last update: 01 December 2018