Massage therapy is commonly thought of as a luxury rather than a necessity. According to the American Massage Therapy Association, approximately 23% think this while 51% are not entirely aware of the actual associated health benefits. This is understandable because let’s face it, when you think massage, you think $$$ (everyone does) and it may not seem like money well spent. However, putting the expense aside for a moment; let me take you a bit deeper into what profound benefits regular treatments can deliver. MT should be considered by many of us (especially women) for its value in self-care. Read on to find out why MT is not just a pampering experience for the wealthy but instead perhaps a missing link to your health regiment that benefits your mind, body, soul and overall wellness.
If you suffer from pain due to over-exertion (perhaps from frequent workouts), under-exertion (sitting all day at a desk),from stress or anxiety, and/or from poor sleep habits you may be pleasantly surprised to find MT may provide a massive improvement in these areas with regular treatment.
Personally, massage therapy is one of my favorite outlets for stress relief and relaxation. Actually- the spa experience is my ABSOLUTE favorite! It is also important to note for the uninitiated in the world of MT that NOT ALL MASSAGES ARE CREATED EQUAL (I cannot stress this enough). Please consider this when you book your next appointment at the local hole in the wall with curtains on the windows and half lit neon sign. I am a big fan Burke Williams because it is reasonably priced, but it still provides the“experience” you’re looking for with a steam room and sauna as well as Jacuzzi(s). In fact, I found myself going often enough that I went for the membership because the monthly fee of $95 goes towards a monthly treatment (or covers it entirely depending on which style you choose) and what better way to take the edge off by carving out a time for quiet, peaceful, total relaxation for yourself?
But let’s get back to the proof MT is more than an indulgence; here are some ways that studies have proven why massage is not just something you should treat yourself to occasionally, but if done consistently, it can create a domino effect in improving your quality of life…
Easing Muscle Pain
When you exercise, be it cardio activity or resistance training it causes tiny tears in muscle fibers, leading to inflammation. Your body then gets to work repairing the injured tissues but, in the meantime, you experience a lot of soreness. Massage therapy reduces the production of compounds in the body referred to as cytokines, which play a critical role in inflammation.
Soothe Stress, Depression, and Anxiety
According to the American Massage Therapy Association, massages lower anxiety, stress, and depression over time by increasing serotonin values in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter which is commonly known for the role it plays in mood as well as feelings of well-being and happiness. Low levels of serotonin are affiliated with anxiety and depression. A massage can also help maintain healthy levels of the stress hormone cortisol within the body.
When your body is tight or out of alignment or stressed or strained, it can continuously prevent you from relaxing to a point where you are able to achieve deep, quality sleep. Research has shown that regular massages may help improve the amount of time you get to spend in “deep sleep”. It really helps to unwind the mind at the end of a long day (or week) when your body feels extreme relaxation.
More than just making you feel good,MT can help to boost your immune system. A good quality massage has been shown to increase the number of lymphocytes in your body, which are a type of white blood cells. These cells play a large role in defending your body from disease and viruses.
Tension headaches are caused by muscle contractions in the head and neck area. MT can relieve the pressure brought on during a migraine or tension related headache and,a massage that focuses on the neck/ shoulders/ head areas, can decrease the pain and discomfort suffered by headaches.
According to Burke Williams research, studies link regular massages to increased brain power and productivity including enhanced alertness and improved speed and accuracy. Also, if you are getting better sleep due to massage, this will inevitably help your productivity and stamina throughout the day.
Truthfully, everyone can benefit from regular massages whatever your needs are (most of us ever changing). Life doesn’t always permit us to live the most relaxed life so we have to carve out that time for ourselves. #selfcare