We all enjoy a good massage, right? But sometimes, we see it as a special treat, something we do only when we find the time. Well, what if I tell you that getting regular massages can actually be super beneficial for your body and mind? It’s not just a luxury—it’s a priority as it helps restore your body, both physically and mentally.

Let’s dive into why incorporating massage into your regular routine is a game-changer and explore the real benefits that research has uncovered. Get ready to discover the amazing ways massages can make a positive impact on your overall well-being.

The Power of Touch

Touch is one of our first senses to develop. We all know a hug, a pat on the arm or a rub on the back can make us feel better. In infant massage classes, we talk a lot about the benefits of touch for babies. However, the healing power of touch is applicable to us all, at any stage of life.

In our fast-paced world of isolated living, many people do not receive human touch on a regular basis. This of course worsened during COVID with the separation from friends and family. Massage therapy is one form of therapeutic touch which has many more benefits than most of us realise.

Massage, defined as the manipulation of the body’s soft tissues using hands, fingers, elbows, knees, forearms, feet, or a device, serves the purpose of treating body stress or pain. With numerous massage techniques available and each therapist having a unique approach, the key lies in personalising the massage experience for each client, acknowledging individual variations in stress levels, work and exercise routines, and overall well-being from week to week.

What are the benefits of massage?

Have you ever wondered about the true magic that unfolds during a massage? Sure, We all know about the immediate physical perks of getting a massage like reduced muscle tension, improved joint function, and increased blood circulation. Yet, the enchantment of a massage goes beyond the tangible, delving deep into the realms of mental well-being and relaxation.

Numerous studies conducted by the Touch Research Institute and other organisations have delved into the extensive benefits of massage across all age groups, uncovering a plethora of positive outcomes. What’s fascinating is that many of these uplifting effects seem to be intricately tied to one key factor: a reduction in stress hormones. In this exploration, we’ll journey through the remarkable benefits that massage bestows upon us, touching not only our bodies but also our minds.

So, let’s discuss 5 evidence-based benefits of incorporating massage into your regular routine:

🌸 Reduces stress and enhances relaxation

Following a stressful event or prolonged mental strain, shutting down can feel like a daunting task. One remarkable benefit of massages lies in their ability to effectively reduce stress and promote relaxation. The stress hormone, cortisol, which tends to linger in such situations, can contribute to adverse effects such as weight gain, poor sleep, digestive issues, and headaches.

A comprehensive review of studies examining the impact of massage in a variety of stressful situations suggested a dial effect: a reduction in cortisol levels, signifying stress alleviation, and an increase in serotonin and dopamine, showcasing the activating effects of massage therapy on both medical conditions and stress-induced experiences.

Dopamine and serotonin, the chemical messengers in our brains known as neurotransmitters, play pivotal roles in our emotional well-being. Dopamine is associated with pleasure and alertness, while serotonin promotes feelings of peacefulness and contributes to better sleep. In essence, through the magic of massage, the intricate dance of these neurotransmitters is orchestrated, offering not just physical relief but a holistic sense of mental rejuvenation and balance.

🌸 Improves sleep

Aah, the bliss of a good night’s sleep!

It’s a treasure that can be elusive for many, and not just for new parents. Quality sleep is crucial for our overall well-being, and numerous studies have highlighted the positive impact of massage on improving sleep.

Whether it’s for babies, managing pain, during pregnancy, or post-surgery recovery, massage has proven to be a soothing balm for sleep-related challenges.

So often I have clients tell me they have the best night’s sleep in ages after their massage treatment.

🌸 Increases circulation

Massage enhances circulation of the blood, increasing oxygen and nutrients to our tissues and vital organs.

Additionally, it plays a crucial role in supporting our lymphatic system, promoting efficient circulation and drainage. This not only contributes to maintaining a healthy fluid balance but also supports our immune system. So, with the soothing touch of massage, your body gets a natural boost in circulation, fostering overall well-being from head to toe.

🌸 Improves immune function

We all know how prolonged stress can make us prone to illness. Studies have indicated that regular massage sessions not only help reduce stress but can also boost the immune system’s cytotoxic capacity (increased activity of the body’s natural “killer cells”) and enhance the body’s ability to deliver nourishment to the cells.

So, beyond the relaxation it provides, a massage is like a wellness tonic, strengthening your immune system, enabling your body to fight off infection, and empowering your ability to stay healthy.

🌸 Reduces pain

Massage triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers, which also boost levels of dopamine and serotonin in the body. This dual action not only diminishes the perception of pain but also positions massage as a valuable approach for managing chronic pain, injuries, and post-operative discomfort.

One study “demonstrated not only significant reduction in pain levels, but also the interrelatedness of pain, relaxation, sleep, emotions, recovery, and finally, the healing process.”

Through the holistic impact of massage, individuals find relief not just from physical pain but also experience a cascade of benefits that contribute to their overall well-being.

🌸 Help improve mood and relieve anxiety and depression

“Oh I feel so much better!”.

I hear this so often at the end of a client’s treatment.

After a massage we may feel happy, rested, energised, freer. This can be due to the reduction of stress hormones and the increase in our feel-good neurotransmitters.

A better night’s sleep and the ability to relax more easily can further contribute.

Incorporating massages into your regular routine can also help to improve a person’s body image and self-esteem. One meta-analysis showed “Massage therapy is significantly associated with alleviated depressive symptoms.”

Stress is unavoidable in life, but we can counteract some of the effects of stress with nurturing touch and simply allowing ourselves the ‘time out’ a massage provides.

Ongoing stress and negative thoughts can be stored in our muscles and nervous system. So often it’s the mental and emotional strain we feel that affects our physical health and vice versa.

The addition of appropriate essential oils to a massage treatment can enhance these effects greatly. And remember, it’s what you do on a regular basis, not just occasionally, that has the biggest impact on your health and well-being.

As Dr. Maria Hernandez-Reif, from the Touch Research Institute says: The incredible benefits of massage are doubly powerful if taken in regular “doses.”

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