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What are the benefits of massage therapy?

A woman benefitting from a massageOne of the immediate benefits of seeing a massage therapist is a feeling of deep relaxation and calm.
This occurs because massage prompts the release of endorphins, , serotonin and dopamine hormones is a common benefit gained through massage. Endorphins, serotonin and dopamine can give a person a sense of well-being and reduce anxiety.

Massage increases oxytocin and reduces adrenocorticotropic hormone in humans. Oxytocin is a hormone known to facilitate social bonding, and touch affect Oxytocin release.Levels of stress hormones, such as adrenalin, cortisol and norepinephrine, are also reduced by massage. Studies indicate that high levels of stress hormones impair the immune system. This means the reduced stress hormone levels by massage strenghten the immune system.

Some of the physical benefits of massage

The benefits of massage to mind and body are well known and well documented. Here are my top nine benefits of massage.

Reduced muscle tension:

Stress can manifest in the body with increased muscle tension and sometimes pain. Swedish Massage helps to clear the body and mind of unwanted responses to stress.

Improved recovery of soft tissue injuries:

Increased joint mobility and flexibility:

Swedish Massage will elongate the muscles, open the joints and decrease swelling, all of which will ease movement and increase flexibility.

Improve Posture:

While postural imbalances have many sources, including overworked muscles due to repetitive strain, overcompensating muscles to ease stress on overworked muscles, prolonged sitting, or injury, Swedish Massage helps to ease the muscular holding that underlies postural imbalance.

Improve Blood Circulation:

Massage dilates the blood vessels and widens the membrane pores in the body, improving your body’s ability to deliver fresh blood to muscles and organs.

Flush out Metabolic Byproducts:

As massage stimulates circulation, it flushes out lactic acid and uric acid that build up in muscles due to overuse.

Support Healthy Immunity:

Because Swedish Massage also encourages the flow of lymphatic fluid, it increases lymphocytes, immune cells that are produced in the lymph nodes.

Increases Energy:

Increased circulation also means more oxygen delivered through the body, resulting in a boost in energy.
Improve Sleep: Studies show that getting a massage increases serotonin levels in the body, so you can fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.

Relieve Headaches:

Many headaches or migraines are a result of stress and/or poor circulation. Swedish Massage relieves the stress associated with tension headaches and improves circulation.

Why Swedish massage inparticular can be beneficial

Swedish massage sessionSwedish massage a classic treatment which represents the western standard for massage. The five main techniques used in Swedish massage are:

  1. stroking and gliding
  2. kneading
  3. rubbing
  4. tapping or pounding
  5. vibration

These are probably what spring to mind when you think about a "typical" massage. Swedish massage uses softer strokes on the bonier and more delicate parts of the body, and stronger strokes where there is thicker muscle coverage. This adjustment of pressure makes it an ideal massage for relaxation.

How should you prepare for a  massage?

As with all treatments,inform your therapist of any medical conditions, and allergies you may have and tell them if you are, or just think you might be, pregnant. It's best to avoid heavy meals and alcohol in the hours leading up to your massage.

The massage therapy environment

Music can help you to unwind, but don't be afraid to say if you'd prefer not to have it, or indeed if you're unhappy with anything else in the treatment room. Being content in your surroundings is important for relaxation and will help you sink happily into your massage.

The same goes for talking. Some people like to chat a bit; others don't. It doesn't matter as long as you're comfortable, relaxed and receptive.

What to do after your massage

Afterwards, you'll probably feel quite relaxed and maybe even sleepy, so give yourself plenty of time to unwind. Massage can leave you feeling thirsty and needing to go to the toilet more than usual - this is because the massage has got your lymph circulation going and your body is flushing out toxins. Drink plenty of water afterwards

About the Author
What are the benefits of massage therapy? Massage 1

Erzsebet Rennie

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I am a Swedish massage therapist and am very passionate about my work. I take a holistic approach so I treat the whole person, not just the area that is causing the issue. I am especially interested in pregnancy massage and will be studying this in the coming year.

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