The Magic of Massage – Why Massage Matters
Massage is the oldest known healing art and predates all orthodox medicine and all other complementary therapies. In Eastern cultures, massage has always been part of a valued tradition that recognises the interrelatedness of the mind, body, and spirit. Touch is an effective way of not only reducing pain and accelerating healing but also giving comfort. Touch has the phenomenal ability to relieve the ravages of stress and tension on the body has resulted in massage becoming the most popular of all complementary therapies.
For many people, massage is still thought of as a luxury – a pampering that you treat yourself to occasionally. But massage is much more. It is a therapy that has powerful health benefits that put it closer into the category of necessity. Numerous research studies undertaken over the years show the many benefits of having a regular massage. Whether your need is to have a few moments of relaxation, reduce muscle tension or get relief from chronic pain, a therapeutic massage can enhance your overall sense of emotional and physical wellbeing.
Massage helps the body to function at its optimal best and helps to calm the mind and deal with stress. Regular massage is necessary to balance the mind and body for good health and wellbeing.
As Massage therapists, we use our hands, fingers, elbows and forearms to manipulate soft tissue, targeting muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints and connective tissue as well as lymphatic vessels. Studies show numerous positive effects of massage including relaxation, improved sleep and strengthened immune system along with relief of fatigue, muscle and joint pain, anxiety and depression. Massage stimulates the circulatory system helping it to work more efficiently; it’s been shown to lower blood pressure and heart rate. In one study at Massachusetts General Hospital in the US, massage reduces diastolic blood pressure, calmed breathing and reduced psychological distress and pain in patients undergoing cardiac catheterization. In another study, a back massage for spouses of patients with cancer resulted in improved mood, reduced stress and increased activity of natural killer cells – powerful immune defenders.
Massage can also be extremely energising. For fatigue the deeper the massage the better. Acupressure massage has been shown to significantly reduce fatigue after chemotherapy. And people with advanced kidney disease experienced a dramatic improvement in fatigue and depression after receiving acupressure massage (using strong finger pressure to target and release acupuncture points).
For centuries athletes have known that massage prepares their muscles for their sport, relieves soreness and fatigue helping their muscles to recover quicker. The type of massage you get is less important than the often nearly intuitive ability of the massage therapist to locate and effectively release tension points in your body. If you’ve never had bodywork you will be amazed at how energizing it can be, if you are familiar with massage, you will know how great you feel after a treatment.
Receiving massage is not a luxury but time and money well spent. It is preventative and an investment in your health and well-being. Why wait until you are in pain or injured to consider it? Massage can become a regular part of your wellness and self-care routine.