Do you know that massage is a research backed tool that can improve your sleep, health, pain and even anxiety? We need to stop thinking of massage as a luxury and start thinking of it as a necessity! Another tool that we can use to enhance our lives and our self care in order to live more productive and satisfying lives!
"The notion that massage is ‘just an indulgence’ is antiquated,” says Brent A. Bauer, M.D., director of the complementary and integrative medicine program at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. “There are over 1,000 studies and published reports that offer scientific evidence on the health effects of massage therapy. There are certainly direct effects like changes that happen at the muscle level and pain pathways and a reduction in stress hormones, such as cortisol. But there are also indirect effects like being in a comfortable setting and a compassionate human presence that can all lead to profound effects on our stress levels and emotional state.”
And that is what Dr. Bauer's says! Need more research? Following are FIVE more health benefits that come with massages!
1. Sleep better
Sleep is vital to our health and yet so many Americans suffer with not getting enough sleep! A study in the Journal of Clinical Rheumatology studied the benefits of massage to those of relaxation therapy on people who have fibromyalgia. After five weeks of twice- weekly 30-minute massages, those in the massage therapy group slept longer and more soundly than those who had relaxation therapy. Patients in the massage group also reported a lower pain level and fewer tender spots on their bodies.
2. Decrease stress, anxiety and depression
When you’re anxious and feeling the pressure, your body pumps out the stress hormone cortisol. Unfortunately, this just makes you feel even more stressed and anxious. Here’s where a massage can help! Studies have been conducted with open-heart surgery patients and those patients who had massages vs patients who did not were significantly less anxious and tense. They also reported having significantly less pain.
3. Help alleviate lower back pain
Researchers at the University of Miami School of Medicine conducted a five-week study on people who had been suffering from lower back pain for at least six months. This research found that twice per week massage therapy sessions of 30 minutes experienced more mobility and range of motion in their lower backs versus a different group who had relaxation therapy during that time. The massage group also reported feeling less stressed!
4. Ease carpal tunnel syndrome
Studies done by Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies and one reported in Rheumatology International states numerous cases where gentle massage helped with wrist pain. Specifically carpal tunnel syndrome which is when the median nerve that runs through the wrist becomes trapped, causing pain and tingling. Massage around this area can lead to better grip strength and less pain, as well as less anxiety.
5. Help with knee pain
Knee pain can come from various areas, including a breakdown of cartilage, ligaments, joint lining or underlying bone, which can cause pain in the knee area. But here again, studies back up massage helping to alleviate this knee pain. Not only is pain alleviated but studies also show that patients having 60 minute massages once or twice a week develop more function in their knees.
So, there is just a bit of the evidence to help prove that massage is not just a luxury but a necessity! Take the time to care for your body and help with pain, lack of sleep and stress!