Many of us are looking forward to downtime to unload our stress from an entire day of hustle. And we all cope differently.
While most people would rather sink in bed and sleep it out, others prefer to seek a recess someplace else. Today, massage spas are a popular go-to place for people who want to relax and recharge.
And it’s pretty easy to see why. Aside from giving your body its much-needed pampering session, massages help to relieve stress, too.
And nope, it doesn’t end with that as several studies suggest that massages can bring enormous benefits to your health as well!
So, if you’re wondering whether it’s worth to take the massage you want so badly, read on. Find out how massages can help beat stress, reduce pain, boost your immunity, enhance your mood, and more in this list!
Massages enhance your flexibility
It’s probably general knowledge that stretching exercises help to improve flexibility. But what else can?
Well, if a range of motion is somehow a challenge for you, you’ve got another reason to treat yourself to a relaxing massage!
One study discovered that adults who received 30-minute massages twice a week over a five-week period, not only experienced less pain, anxiety, and depression but had improved flexibility as well.
And it could get better as enhanced flexibility steers increased activity and improved performance, too!
Massages relieve stress
Probably one of the most prized benefits of a good massage is its ability to get stress out of your system. It’s no longer surprising why experts suggest treating yourself to a massage before a significant life event.
It was revealed that even a 1 ½-hour massage session may lower your cortisol (stress hormone) levels.
Therapeutic massages were also found to lower insulin levels, blood pressure, and heart rate, and alleviate the tension building or may have built up in your mind and muscles.
All these favorable effects explain why massages make a great stress reliever. And this beneficial result is actually supported by research.
Korean researchers found that even a simple hand massage can reduce the markers of stress.
The study revealed that patients who received a five-minute hand massage before their cataract surgery experienced lower physiological and psychological anxiety compared to those who didn’t receive any rubdown.
So, whether it’s a do-or-die match, an interview you so badly want to ace or a much-awaited date, getting a nice massage is a good idea as it may help you feel less distressed and uneasy!
Massages act as a painkiller
When you feel pain in your body, the urge to press your finger on that pain point almost always occurs. And there’s no doubt why because most of the time – if not always – it actually helps to ease the pain.
Science explains it’s because touch treatments activate the same part in the brain that is stimulated by opioid painkillers.
In one study, researchers found that compared with other touch treatments, bare-handed massages provided the most pleasant sensation, especially when it is combined with movement.
Massages soothe a headache
A headache can be triggered by a lot of things but mostly by the tension in your neck, which hampers the blood flow to your brain.
Aside from doing neck stretches like neck rolls, pampering this area of your body with a massage might help soothe your headache, too.
Several studies found that massages boost blood flow to tissues, reducing trigger points that cause headaches.
One research discovered that massage therapy directed toward the shoulder and neck muscles resulted in reduced headache frequency.
The study concluded that massages can be an effective intervention for chronic tension headache.
Massages boost your immunity
Massages don’t only present itself as an excellent stress reliever but a great immunity booster, too!
Another study found that recipients of a single 45-minute Swedish massage had increased levels of blood proteins that help protect the body against viral infections, tumors, and other pathogens.
The research findings suggest that Swedish massage therapy may play a role in the management of inflammatory and autoimmune conditions.
Massages improve your mood
Monday blues are so common for many of us that it could actually pass as general awareness. Unfortunately, some people have it worse.
If you’re feeling miserable, weary or down (not just every Monday), you probably need to get that massage!
Massage therapies have also been found to increase the levels of serotonin and dopamine, neurotransmitters that are linked to the feeling of happiness, motivation, and well-being.
A review of studies found that massage therapies reduced the levels of cortisol by 31 percent, and increased the levels of serotonin by 28 percent, and dopamine by 31 percent on average.
These findings suggest that massages can help perk up your mood on a bad day.
Massages alleviate forearm muscle strain
Who isn’t using a smartphone nowadays? Today’s digital world had many of us glued to our screens, and constantly typing on our laptops, personal computers, tablets or mobile phones.
And while it’s true that these gadgets make our lives so much easier, using them over extended periods of time may cause muscle strain too, particularly in the forearm.
Your forearms, which extend from your elbows to your wrists and fingertips, may feel tight and ropey too, especially when you overwork it (e.g. typing and texting for hours on end).
We know you can’t be told to stop doing that, so just give your forearms some TLC by massaging it. This will not only help improve blood flow in this region but prevent your risk of injuries, too.
Massages improve sleep quality
Finding it hard to doze off at night? Well, massages can be of help, too! If the other bedtime tricks that you know still don’t work, try facial massage.
A small study conducted on six healthy females showed that both foot massage and facial massage have sleep-inducing effects.
But while both were effective in reducing the alertness of subjects during the interventions, the 20-minute facial massage was found to be better at inducing sleepiness.
So, the next time you find it hard to sleep, skip counting sheep and massage your face instead.
Massages help improve your posture
Neck, back, and muscle pain may result in poor posture. And since massages provide an excellent way to get rid of pain, it may help enhance your posture as well.
So, if you’re looking to improve your posture, get yourself a good rubbing-down. It helps to alleviate muscle pain and strain that usually contributes to a hunchback.
Massages relieve morning stiffness
Unfortunately, completing the ideal six to eight hours of sleep doesn’t always make you feel well-rested. In some instances, we wake up feeling soreness or stiffness in our muscles, particularly in the neck area.
The culprit could be anything from your mattress to your sleeping position, but even if you’ve already figured out what could’ve possibly caused this, the damage has already been done.
So, what’s a good solution for this? Neck massage.
Giving your neck a good rub in the morning can help promote blood flow, and loosen up the muscles in this area, reducing stiffness and pain.
Say goodbye to painful mornings by giving your neck a nice kneading before you kick off your day!
Massages warm your muscles up before a workout
Just like stretching exercises, massages also give your muscles a nice warm up before you get started with your intense sweat session.
It can help loosen up your muscles, making it more pliable for all the physical work. Experts suggest using foam rollers for your squads before you begin with your workout.
Aside from giving your deep tissues a massage, foam rollers also help to break up adhesions and speed up your post-workout recovery and healing.
Massages ease muscle soreness
Speaking of muscle recovery, massages help to ease soreness too, especially after a physical workout.
One study found that foam rollers were effective in reducing muscle soreness and pain that can hamper the efficient performance of daily tasks like driving or walking out of the gym.
Massages increase your self-awareness
Massages also improve your self-awareness by allowing you to understand your body better including its needs and limitations.
Experts say you may not notice sore and tight areas in your body while you’re performing your usual movements and tasks.
Massages help to uncover these, allowing you to pay more attention to these areas so you can stretch or work them out to hasten its healing.
This can help you avoid injuries that may adversely affect not just your mobility but productivity, and overall wellness as well.
While it may seem like a luxury for some, getting a good massage may be a necessity for others.
Therapeutic massages not only help with stress relief but boost your health as well. It is important to note, though, that your doctor’s green light is essential if you have a health condition.
While massages offer these promising benefits, it may not be suitable for some people, especially those who have just undergone surgery, are pregnant or are prone to blood clots.
People with neuritis, edema, infectious diseases, epilepsy, and Bell’s palsy are also advised to avoid massages as well as those who are taking certain medical prescriptions.
See your doctor first to get proper medical advice if you have these concerns.