Massage Therapy: 5 Benefits You May Not Know about Massages
Whether you’re being bogged down by stress and anxiety or running on empty trying to keep up with your busy schedule – and sometimes both simultaneously – we all could use a massage to just relax. But did you know that outside of simply relaxing, there are benefits to massage that can also improve your body’s everyday quality of life. With different variations and methods for massage, there is always an option for your specific concerns, including shiatsu, trigger point massage, and reflexology for everyday aches and pains. The top five benefits are listed below and maybe even one will inspire you to hop on the massage therapy train!
Reduced Muscle Tension
The more we workout or stress out, the larger the toll we take on our bodies. This can present itself in many ways: irritability, exhaustion, and tension in the muscles. An excellent way to clear your mind and revive tired muscles is to massage out the knots that may have developed over time. By releasing the tension, your body begins to have an improved since of mobility and you can actually feel the relief of relaxation. And if you’ve ever been hit with a killer headache, releasing the pressure in the muscles of the neck and shoulders can help with headache prevention as well. Everything within the body is harmoniously connected so if one muscle becomes tense, it can throw your whole body out of alignment. Use massage therapy as a way to reset and recharge so you’re good as new for tomorrow’s adventures.
Stimulation of Lymphatic System
A massage consists of light, stroking pressure that encourages the natural flow of vital fluids throughout the body. In fact, lymph alone travels through the body to deliver oxygen and other required nutrients to important organs that keep your body safe, protected, and healthy. For some, circulation within the body becomes an issue as lymph and other fluids do not seamlessly flow through the body as they should. This causes build up, swelling, and can weaken your immune system over time. Outside of physical activity, massages are an excellent way to get the lymphatic system back in order and properly draining toxins from the body as it should.
Joint Mobility and Flexibility
Many use massage as a recovery method for soft-tissue injuries. These can include anything from muscle strains to issues with ligaments and tendons. You may see swelling, bruising, or even acute pain in those affected areas. The best way to improve mobility and flexibility is to move your body in motions that resemble the whole range of motion that joint usually can perform under the best circumstances. Much like stretching a muscle, some joints can become tight and will limit the original range of motion so working your way towards mobility is recommended to prevent further injury. Massaging these areas can stimulate blood flow and aid in recovery to better improve mobility in joints and ligaments over time.
As mentioned before, massage therapy helps to move vital fluids, like lymph, and can improve blood flow within the body. This improved circulation provides your muscles and necessary organs the nutrients and oxygen they need to keep you at your best. Your energy, moods, appetite, and immune system all rely on a steady circulation and can take a turn for the worse when circulation is restricted. For those who experience poor circulation, they also may feel numbness in their extremities, as well as reduced cognitive capabilities and exhaustion. Massages work to move muscles and joints around so that fluids can more easily flow within the body. And while a good majority of us may not suffer from circulation issues, there’s no reason to not keep your body in tip-top shape and always encourage healthy movement of fluids in our bodies. Especially when our good moods are on the line!
Mood Stability and Stress Reduction
Because massage therapy is the business of relaxation and rejuvenation, you’re bound to be a happier you than you were beforehand. And trust us, nothing can kill your good mood faster than a sore or tight muscle. So, what can cause tight muscles? Stress, anxiety, exercise… you name it. Cortisol is pumping through you during times of peak anxiety while endorphins, the feel-good chemicals, skyrocket during a massage. One of the best ways to relax and unwind is to literally unwind those tense, knotted muscles you may be experiencing. In fact, American Spa explains how the flood of endorphins into the bloodstream during a massage can explain the “slightly groggy effect, lightheaded, sense of well-being.” And on top of this flood of feel-good, there’s also an influx of our serotonin and dopamine levels which support, not only our good moods, but our productivity and improved cognitive function. It’s a win-win – you’re feeling good and ready to tackle the next obstacle that comes your way!
Massage Tools and Methods to Try
Worried you don’t have time to schedule an hour-long massage? Try trigger point massage that releases muscle tension by using targeted pressure on trigger points throughout the body. Using just 30-40 seconds of consistent pressure on painful, knotted areas can cause a muscle release and less tension in that muscle area. The tools below can be used in the comfort of your own home and don’t require much energy for a quick tension release.
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