When you think of a massage, indulging yourself in a relaxing day at the spa might be the first thing that comes to mind. While many enjoy or even prefer a relaxation massage, several other massage therapy techniques may provide various health benefits besides relaxation, including deep tissue massage and cupping therapy..
Here are six surprising ways massage therapy may help you.
Massage therapy may activate your body’s parasympathetic response, which helps it relax and improves digestive function while interrupting the sympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for the body’s fight or flight response. When the body goes into this relaxation mode, it’s better able to focus on digestion. This enables your body to break down food, deliver nutrients more efficiently, and potentially improve symptoms such as acid reflux and constipation.
Improved Mental Health
Studies have shown a significant connection between massage therapy and mental health. After massage, symptoms of depression and anxiety are often vastly improved. This is because massage can lower levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, while simultaneously promoting the production of dopamine and serotonin—two neurotransmitters responsible for regulating mood and emotions.
Enhanced Muscle Function
Massage improves oxygen flow throughout the body and aids in cell repair. It may also reduce lactic acid, a byproduct of the body’s anaerobic metabolism that sits on the muscles after intense exercise. Lactic acid can cause muscle fatigue and, in some cases, tissue damage, resulting in tenderness and pain when moving the affected muscle. Massage therapy can relieve that pain and improve flexibility and tone in the muscles.
Reduce Headaches and Migraines
Tension headaches are the most common type of headaches. Both tension headaches and migraines often come from tense muscles in the neck, shoulders, and upper back. Additionally, TMJ can cause tightness and pain in the jaw and forehead, and that often leads to headaches. Massage therapy techniques such as cupping and deep tissue massage can reduce tightness in the muscles and release knots, thus reducing the instance of headaches and migraines and, often, preventing reoccurrence.
Massage stimulates the body’s parasympathetic system, and while that’s important for digestion, it’s also helpful in inducing rest and sleep. As you receive a massage, you’ll typically notice your heart rate drop and your muscles begin to relax, indicating that the massage therapist is giving an effective massage.
Massage therapy stimulates the circulatory system, helping to improve the flow of blood and lymph fluid throughout the body. This enables the creation of new cells that flush metabolic waste and stimulate the creation of lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell that fights viruses and bacteria in the body and promotes better immune function.
Achieve Better Health Through Massage Therapy
Blog posts from Otium Wellness are for general information only. The content should not be considered medical advice.