Those who love massages rarely need a good excuse to get one—a rainy day on vacation, the celebration of an anniversary, a good deal on Groupon. Massages are a great way to blow off steam and reward oneself with an hour of relaxation.
In addition to being a luxury, there are proven health benefits beyond the relief of stress and minor aches. While there are many different types of massages designed to target specific ailments, even the most basic Swedish or deep-tissue massage can improve health by increasing circulation and aid in the healing of injuries. Here are some ways a trip to the masseur can improve our internal well-being.
- Curbing headaches – A massage won’t just alleviate a headache as it does for minor back pain, but can reduce the likelihood of future headaches and migraines. A 2009 study showed a decrease in pain by those suffering from tension headaches after a 30-minute massage.
- Reducing insomnia – Most sleep issues are caused by emotional or physical discomfort which can be reduced with massage. Even when not experienced right before bedtime, the effects of a massage can still be enjoyed by those suffering with a sleep disorder.
- Improved immunity – Many studies have been conducted that test the effects of massage on immunity. One 2010 study found massage increased a person’s disease-fighting white blood cells.
- Alleviating digestive disorders – Massages to the abdominal area can aid in relieving most common gastrointestinal issues like cramping, gas and constipation. Additionally, those who suffer from stress-related IBS can benefit from the tension-reducing properties of a massage.
- Raised alertness – One study in 1996 found that after a 15-minute chair massage, patients were more alert and were able to complete a short math quiz quicker and more accurately, mimicking the results of a good night’s sleep.
- Healing burns – An extraordinary benefit of massage is its effect on burn victims. Not only have studies shown a decrease in emotional trauma, but massage has proven to help in the healing of burn scars.
When visiting a massage therapist, be sure to communicate health issues. Finding the right therapist for our ailments could be very beneficial but not every therapist can offer the same knowledge of internal health and your condition. As always, consult with your physician before exploring massage therapy as a treatment.