The Many Benefits of Massage:
Extensive research shows that massage benefits the body's normal functioning in a variety of ways, and with many advantages. According to Tiffany Field, Ph.D., founder of the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami’s School of Medicine, "[These benefits] put massage in the same category with proper diet and exercise as something that helps maintain overall health." (Newsweek, April 6, 1998)
Massage benefits blood and lymph circulation reducing blood pressure, heart rate, respiration rate, and the level of stress hormones (such as adrenaline and cortisol) in the body. Massage releases endorphins [neurotransmitters made up of] amino acids that work as the body’s natural painkiller.
Blood and lymph carry nourishment to millions of cells throughout our bodies and carry away the waste eliminated from cells. This increases the flow of blood and lymph, which encourages better exchange of nutrients at the cellular level, and promotes detoxification. Movement of the lymph strengthens your immune system. Lymph is moved either through exercise or massage. When muscles are overworked, waste products such as lactic acid can accumulate in the muscle, causing soreness, stiffness, and even muscle spasm.
Massage speeds recovery from exercise by helping remove waste products from muscles, bringing fresh oxygen to body tissues. Soft-tissue injuries (such as muscle pulls and strains, tendonitis, ligament sprains, and whiplash) heal faster with specifically targeted massage.
Therapeutic massage can be used to promote general well-being and enhance self-esteem, while boosting the circulatory and immune systems to benefit blood pressure, circulation, muscle tone, digestion, and skin tone.
Increased circulation also helps both prevent and relieve muscle tension—lack of circulation can lead to chronically tight muscles. In turn, chronically tight muscles impede circulation and do not receive enough nutrients. Massage relaxes tense muscles, enhances tissue elasticity and flexibility, and increases range of motion in joints. This makes it easier for you to move and you are less likely to injure yourself.
Massage promotes deeper and easier breathing. Shallow breathing means your body is not receiving the optimal amount of oxygen, which causes your health to deteriorate.
Massage works to boost the immune system. Our body's immune system helps us fight off infections and illnesses, and it helps us recover from injuries. When you are under stress, the immune system may not always work the way it should. Research among different groups of people in very different situations has shown the massage can increase the immune system's cytotoxic capacity (the activity level of the body's natural "killer cells") and decrease the number of T-cells. This increases the efficiency of disease fighting cells.
The result is an immune system that is working better. Massage doesn't cure ailments, but it has been shown to help the body function better in fighting ailments. So people who get massaged on a regular basis get fewer colds with less severe symptoms.
Stress hormones such as cortisol are reduced as "feel good" hormones such as serotonin are increased. An overall feeling of well-being can be produced in just one massage session. Perhaps because of this studies have shown massage helps with sleep.
When workers got chair massages during the working day, they exhibited decreased job stress and were able to do simple math problems in half the time and with half the errors compared with those who did not get massage. Source: Touch Research Institute, University of Miami School of Medicine and Nova Southeastern University.
Improved productivity and fewer injuries has employers like: Wampler Foods; Boeing, Reebok, The Investor Relations Group, Inc, the Calvert Group, and approximately 14% of Fortune 200 companies offer massage to reduce employee turnover and absentism, and boost morale.
Research shows that with massage: Arthritis sufferers note fewer aches and less stiffness and pain. Premenstrual syndrome sufferers have decreased water retention and cramping. Research continues to show the enormous benefits of touch—which range from treating chronic diseases, neurological disorders, and injuries, to alleviating the tensions of todays lifestyles. Massage can be helpful for: expectant mothers; reduce OTC pain medication dependence; promoting tissue regeneration, reducing scar tissue and stretch marks; reducing adhesions and swelling; relieving migraine pain; decreasing anxiety; improving concentration; and reducing fatigue.
"The higher your energy level, the more efficient your body. The more efficient your body, the better you feel and the more you will use your talent to produce outstanding results." Anthony Robbins from MassageNerd.com
According to a survey by American Massage Therapy Association, 57% of people who talked to their doctor about having massages reported that they strongly recommended or encouraged them.
"The incredible benefits of massage are doubly powerful if taken in regular doses."
--Dr. Maria Hernandez-Reif, Touch Research Institute (TRI) at the University of Miami.
"I think we could replace 90% of mainstream medicine with a weekly massage... "
Dr. Candace Pert, internationally known research pharmacologist and professor.
"Massage is an important technique for awakening the inner pharmacy. When you feel relaxed, comfortable, or invigorated during a massage, it is because your body is increasing its production of natural relaxing, pain-relieving, or energizing chemicals." -- Dr. David Simon, MD, of The Chopra Center
"A review of more than 12 studies shows that massage helps relieve depression and anxiety. It lowered levels of cortisol by up to 50%. And massage increased levels of neurotransmitters that help reduce depression." -WebMD
"In the first clinical trial looking at the effectiveness of Swedish massage for knee osteoarthritis, participants who received a one-hour massage either one or two times a week had improvements in pain, stiffness, and function. The control group had no such change." -WebMD (read more)