A good massage is a wonderful, relaxing experience, and a great way to take ‘time out’ for ourselves. But does it really benefit our health?
As a massage therapist, the answer you’re going to hear from me is, a resounding “YES!!” Most people know that massage is basically good for us, as well as being a pleasant, relaxing experience. But what many people don’t know (and here’s the interesting bit) is exactly why…
When we’re having a massage, essentially what we’re doing is helping the body’s natural processes. We’re assisting the body to heal itself, get rid of waste products and stimulate the circulation. For example, overworked and ‘tight’ muscles will tend to accumulate waste products such as lactic acid, which can cause soreness, stiffness, and even muscle spasms.
Massaging these muscles helps to release the lactic acid, reducing stiffness and soreness. Yes, this makes us feel better (it’s always nice to get rid of an ache!), but just as importantly our circulation is improved. Increasing the flow of blood around the body brings fresh supplies of oxygen to our body’s tissues.
Through this dispersing of waste products and stimulated circulation, massage can help speed up healing after injury and recovery from illness. It’s also known to benefit blood pressure, muscle tone, digestion, and skin tone.
The specific systems in our body directly benefited by massage include:
- The lymphatic system
- The digestive system
- The nervous system
- The respiratory system
- The circulation of the blood
- The immune system
- The elimination of toxins and poisons
- Oxygen supply to the muscles
Specific health conditions known to benefit from massage are:
- Neck, shoulder and back pain
- Arthritis and rheumatism
- Constipation and bowel problems
- Breathing and bronchial disorders
- Swelling and inflammation
- Poor sleep
- General stresses and strains of everyday life
- The recovery of muscles from injury and exercise
- Muscle adhesions and cramping
So, the next time you’re treating yourself to a massage, revelling in the ‘guilty pleasure’ of spending a little time and money on yourself, listen really carefully. You may hear the sound of your body, whispering a grateful “thanks a million!“