You Don’t Just Want a Massage: 99 Reasons Why You NEED Massage Therapy
Massage; just the word makes you want to close your eyes and take a deep sigh. So much more than just a relaxing pastime, massage therapy is one of the best ways to maintain your already good health, prevent future injuries or health problems, and reap tons of health benefits.
Oh- you didn’t know that massage could do more than just make you feel good?
Well, read on in that case! There are multiple health benefits that come with massage and you shouldn’t wait for a special occasion to get one. Massage therapy shouldn’t be considered as something you want, but it should be looked at as something you need- no different than a dental checkup or vaccinations.
How Does Massage Work?
Massage therapy causes physiological changes in the body through both mechanical and relaxation response. Together, these natural responses produce both emotional and physical benefits.
The relaxation response of the body is an involuntary, yet predictable response of the central nervous system.
Mechanical response, on the other hand, are the physical effects that happen to the body.
In the caring, safe environment of the massage room, soon after the massage begins, the heart rate and breathing slow down, blood pressure is reduced, and the body stops producing stress hormones. This reduces the physical effects of stress and the risks that come with stress, such as anxiety, insomnia, and hypertension.
The mechanical response of the body to massage is the increase in lymph and blood circulation, as well as the relaxation and normalization of the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and other soft tissues in the body. This releases pressure on the nerves.
Improved circulation improves the delivery of fresh oxygen and nutrients to the cells of the body, improving their overall health.
While most people understand how massage can benefit muscles, internal organs can also benefit from massage therapy as they share neurological pain pathways with the bones, nerves, and muscles. This explains why low back pain intensifies menstrual cramps and these cramps cause low back muscles to become tight and tense.
Why Do I Need a Massage? I Don’t Feel Sore or Tense.
While many people still consider a massage as a form of pampering or a special treat, regular massage is actually another part of the body’s overall health maintenance. Waiting to see massage therapist or chiropractor only after you are injured is like waiting to get a vaccine until after you’ve become infected. It will be much easier to restore your body to its best health if the muscles and other tissues in the body were well taken care of beforehand.
Americans need to stop thinking of massages as a special occasion treat and start thinking of them as part of their regular health regimen, such as getting exercise, eating a healthy diet, and getting plenty of rest.
Should I See a Chiropractor or Massage Therapist for Back or Neck Pain?
It’s not surprising that most people see both chiropractors and massage therapists for back and neck pain. Unlike chiropractic, massage deals strictly with the muscles and isn’t designed to put the joints or vertebrae back into position.
This isn’t to put down massage therapy in the least. Chiropractic and massage therapy go together like butter on toast. Both are excellent and when combined, they complement each other. This is why nearly all chiropractors offer massage therapy at their clinics.
If all you want is a relaxing massage, you can get one at any day spa. If you have any type of back, neck, or joint pain, or if you have chronic pain or another health condition, you should see a chiropractor, who will not only address the root cause of your pain, but will also offer a massage to speed healing.
One Important Note Regarding Insurance
It is rare for insurance companies to pay for typical “spa” type massages. Your doctor must write a prescription or a referral for massage and even then, it is likely to be done by a physical therapist.
However, there is a good chance that your insurance will cover at least a few chiropractic visits each year, or more, which would include massage therapy since it is a part of the service at most chiropractor’s offices. Generally speaking, when people combine massage therapy with chiropractic care, they heal faster and feel better overall.
Which is Better- Stretching/Yoga or Massage Therapy?
There is no doubt that stretching programs, such as yoga and tai chi, offer relief from tightness and tension that come from over-use or that build up over time. Regular stretching increases the blood flow to the muscles and can help relieve pinched nerves.
However, massage helps strained or torn muscles and other connective tissue to heal faster. It reduces feelings of stress, anxiety, and fatigue. It can also reduce swelling and limit scar tissue.
For the best health of your life, a combination of a regular daily stretching program, weekly massage visits, and regular chiropractic adjustments can keep your body operating as precisely as a fine-tuned machine.
How Often Should I Get a Massage?
This depends on the person and their lifestyle. For most people, once a week or twice a month should be sufficient to help keep the muscles loose, limber, and provide the other benefits of massage. If you have been injured, your massage therapist will advise you as to the frequency. If your chiropractor is suggesting massage therapy, they will also tell you how often you should receive a massage in order to get the best results. Nearly all chiropractor’s offer massage therapy at their clinics, so you don’t have to make a separate trip or schedule another appointment.
Which Type of Massage Should I Get?
With so many different types of massage available, which one would be the right one for you? The following list describes the 12 most common types of massage, in no particular order, and what they are designed to do. If you are still in doubt, speak with your massage therapist or your chiropractor.
12 Most Common Types of Massage Therapy
There are more types of massage than most people are aware of. The following is a brief description of the 12 most common types of massage therapy available.
1) Swedish Massage
This is the most common type of massage and the one most people are familiar with. This is a gentle, full-body massage that is designed for those who are new to massage therapy, are sensitive to touch, and/or have a great deal of tension or stress in their muscles.
2) Hot Stone Massage
As the name implies, this method has the therapist using rounded, heated stones to ease muscle tension, improve blood flow, relieve stress and alleviate pain. The stones are very warm and are placed on different parts of the body. The therapist will then use the stones to rub certain areas they have determined need extra attention.
3) Aromatherapy Massage
This is designed for people who are looking for an emotional healing element to their massage. This massage combines the use of gentle massage techniques using diluted essential oils to stimulate or calm the senses. While the therapist usually decides which essential oils to use, you can always discuss your preferences with them.
4) Deep Tissue Massage
For those who have chronic muscle soreness, imbalance, or injuries, a deep tissue massage might be just what the therapist (or even your chiropractor) ordered! While this type of massage uses more pressure than the typical Swedish massage, it shouldn’t be so hard that it hurts.
5) Chair Massage
If you are pressed for time or you just want a massage that will focus on the neck, shoulders, and upper back, these can be tremendously refreshing. These are a good choice for those who are new to massage and want to get an idea about what to expect. Chair massage typically lasts between 10 and 30 minutes.
6) Chiropractic Massage
The best of both worlds! Many people choose to have their massage done at their chiropractor’s office. This is a good choice if you suffer from chronic back problems, low back pain, persistent headaches, herniated or bulging discs, or other types of musculoskeletal problems. Most chiropractors will have you get a massage first, which releases muscle tension so the adjustment will last longer and be more accurate. If necessary, the chiropractor will discuss with the therapist possible problem areas, what type of massage would work best, and areas to avoid. After your massage, the chiropractor performs adjustments and other modalities if needed. This can be one of the most beneficial types of massage for those who want to get the most out of their sessions.
7) Sports Massage
If you play sports regularly or exercise frequently, this is the perfect massage to both ease post-muscle soreness and prevent injuries. Usually, this type of massage focuses on the parts of the body that need the most attention, such as ankles and knees for runners or shoulders and elbows for baseball players. Deep pressure is alternated with soothing strokes. This also helps to reduce pain and increase flexibility and performance.
8) Shiatsu Massage
This Japanese form of massage is for those who are looking for emotional and physical relaxation, as well as relief from stress, depression, and anxiety. Pulsing and/or rhythmic pressure is used while the therapist uses hands, palms, and thumbs to massage certain areas of the body. Shiatsu massage can be done fully clothed, so if you are shy, this would be a good method for you.
9) Thai Massage
Thai massage is best for those who want a more active type of massage. This method works the body using a sequence of movements that are similar to the stretched done in yoga. Your body is twisted and stretched into various positions while the therapist uses palms and fingers to apply firm pressure. Thai massage is also done fully clothed, which is good for those who are very shy about undressing.
10) Trigger Point Massage
Muscle tissue that is very, very tight causes pain in other parts of the body. These are known as trigger points and the idea here is that by removing trigger points, the muscles can fully relax, and pain is thereby reduced. This massage works the entire body and is great for those with injuries, chronic pain, or specific issues.
This massage works by using firm pressure on the different pressure points of the body, rather than stroking the muscles. Pressure points are located in the hands, feet, and ears. This is a good choice for those who want to restore the natural energy flow to the body and for those who aren’t comfortable being touched or rubbed all over.
12) Prenatal Massage
For reducing back aches, stress, and ease muscle tension, prenatal massage is a great way for pregnant women to enjoy a massage and find natural pain relief. Most therapists won’t do this massage until after your first trimester to avoid miscarriage, but afterwards, you will find that this is similar to a Swedish massage. Only gentle pressure is used, and special attention is paid to problem areas, such as the feet, calves, and lower back. This requires a special table that offers a cutout for your belly, so be sure to ask if your chiropractor or massage therapist has this table for your massage.
Massage Side Effects
You might be smiling at this and wondering what could possibly go wrong with a massage? While generally speaking, massage is a very pleasing experience, if not done properly, it could lead to some problems. A few examples of the possible side effects of massage therapy would be:
- Soreness- While this isn’t a true problem, this feeling isn’t always welcome.
- Bruising- Some people have very pale or delicate skin that can show signs of bruising, especially after receiving certain types of massage
- Aggravate existing injuries or conditions- If you suffer from any type of bleeding disorder or have existing injuries, it is vital that you speak to your doctor or chiropractor before having a massage
- Intensify chronic pain problems (such as fibromyalgia or sciatica)- Like #3, always speak to your doctor or chiropractor before having a massage if you have ongoing health issues.
- In extreme cases, rhabdomyolysis, which is a clogging of the blood stream and kidneys with muscle tissue from crushed muscles. While this is highly unusual, it’s not unheard of.
- Fatigue or brief feelings of malaise- No one is quite sure why some people have these feelings after a massage, but for the majority of people, this is usually a temporary feeling that occurs after the first massage and then dissipates quickly.
- Nerve damage- An over-zealous massage therapist could actually cause nerve damage, which is why it pays to see a known qualified massage therapist at your chiropractor’s office and not some fly-by-night person doing it out of their garage.
- Allergic reaction- If the therapist uses creams, oils, or lotions that contain ingredients you are allergic to, this side effect could occur. Always tell your therapist about known allergies.
- Inadequate treatment- While massage therapy has a multitude of benefits, it isn’t a cure-all. Some people might be inclined to avoid proper treatment in favor of massage therapy. Seeing a chiropractor who has massage services at their clinic helps to avoid this side effect and can be of tremendous benefit.
The 99 Benefits of Regular Massage Therapy You Never Imagined Possible
Nearly every adult knows that massage therapy relaxes the muscles. Relaxing feels good, which is why hot tubs, saunas, and other forms of relaxation are big business.
What you most likely didn’t know is that massage offers so much more than just a chance to relax. Regular massage therapy offers physical and mental health benefits that you most likely never thought about before.
Check Out This Amazing List of the Benefits of Massage Therapy
1) Relief from Stress and Anxiety
Massage has long been used to help relieve stress and anxiety. Anecdotal evidence combined with a long history of wide spread use show that regular massage therapy reduces stress and chronic feelings of anxiety.
Studies in this area are virtually impossible since there is no way to have a double-blind study where a subject receives a “placebo” massage. However, it only takes one massage session to make one in believer in this area. Changes in EEG activity, lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and a more active parasympathetic nervous system is also proof positive that massage therapy offers true relief for those with chronic anxiety and works as a natural means of reducing stress.
2) The Perfect Answer for Back Pain
With more than 85% of all Americans experiencing back pain at one point or another in their lifetime, and spending more than $50 billion to treat back pain, it’s fairly easy to suggest that most people are desperate for any way to find relief from back pain.
Back pain, especially lower back pain, occurs because of a number of reasons but one thing remains consistent: everyone wants this type of pain to stop. Massage therapy, combined with chiropractic care, is one of the best ways to not only find a natural, non-drug related way to deal with back pain, but it can also prevent future episodes of back pain from occurring.
By increasing circulation, the body is able to heal damaged muscle tissue and bring fresh nutrients to rebuild muscle and connective tissue. Massage therapy also reduces muscle tension and tightness, which can cause back pain. The increased levels of endorphins, those feel good chemicals, block pain receptors and make the brain feel happier.
Chiropractic care is also extremely effective for relieving back pain, speeding up the healing process, and preventing future episodes. Combined with massage therapy, this one-two punch can knock back pain out of the ball park.
3) Less Pain in Other Areas of the Body
It’s not just back pain that benefits from the natural pain-relieving benefits that massage therapy brings. Nearly every other part of the body can experience pain relief through massage, including the neck, shoulders, hands, legs, and feet.
One meta-analysis of studies found that massage therapy for chronic, non-malignant pain was very effective, even while noting that there should be more studies in this area. Most of the studies found that those with chronic musculoskeletal pain who received a 1-hour massage once per week over an 8-week period had far less pain and improved mental health than the group who received “usual care.” It’s interesting to note that after the massage therapy ended, in a 3-month follow up survey, the pain had returned.
4) Relief from Headaches
If you suffer from chronic tension headaches or other types of nonmigraine headache pain, massage therapy offers tremendous relief. While you might think that massage offers relief from a current headache, studies, such as this one, found that regular massage therapy directed at the neck and shoulder muscles reduced the frequency and duration of headaches within one week.
Another study found that using traditional Thai massage to treat chronic headache pain worked just as well as using the drug Amitriptyline and that this massage helped to relieve muscle tension, something that the drug could not accomplish. Even the National Headache Foundation recommends 30-minute massages for relief from chronic headache pain within 24 hours.
5) Less Depression
Massage therapy has been shown in multiple studies to reduce levels of depression, anxiety, and stress. Massage therapy lowers the stress hormone cortisol in the body, which then allows the body to made more of the feel-good hormone serotonin. This allows the body to naturally fight depression and anxiety.
Even the prestigious Mayo Clinic says that some research has suggested that 90% of today’s illnesses come from stress and that a weekly 60-minute massage can reduce cortisol (which the body produces as a stress response) by as much as 30%.
6) Improves Immune Response
A Swedish study found that a 45-minute Swedish massage increased oxytocin levels, which naturally decreases HPA (hypothalamic/pituitary/adrenal) activity, which improves the function of the immune system.
All research points to massage not just feeling good but improving the immune system. Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles also found that a 45-minute massage increased the number of white blood cells, which play a part in defending the body when it comes to fighting disease. Massage therapy also reduces inflammation, which is known to be related to asthma, cardiovascular disease, and Type 2 diabetes.
7) Improves Flexibility
With more and more people performing their daily tasks from an office chair, flexibility has become a big issue. Muscle injuries are far more common today than they were in the past, because our jobs have us leading more sedentary lives.
Massage therapy can help you maintain and improve flexibility and range of motion. By massaging and working the tendons, connective tissue, joints, and muscles, you can keep your flexibility, and keep the joints more flexible, making yourself less prone to injury.
8) Improves Overall Health and Well-Being
What if someone was to tell you that you could improve your overall health and well-being simply by lying on a table for an hour each week- would you do it?
You can and it’s called massage therapy! More than just an indulgence, massage therapy is beneficial to your overall health. It helps ease all types of pain, reduces stress, improves your sleep, and much more. Whether you have a specific health condition you wish to address, or you simply want to reduce stress, improve the immune function, and increase those feelings of happiness and well-being, a regular massage can give you all of that and more.
9) Tremendous Help for Seniors
As we age, our bodies change, slowing down, and for some people, joint pain or morning stiffness becomes a normal part of life. This is why staying physically active is so important and receiving regular massages become even more important,
Massage therapy for seniors is an effective way to alleviate some of the symptoms that seem to come with age, while offering an improved quality of life and higher energy levels.
When you consider that massage therapy can reduce the pain of osteoarthritis, improve sleep patterns, relieve the agitation many Alzheimer’s patients feel, while allowing for faster healing from injuries or illness, it’s easy to see why massage therapy is so vital for seniors.
10) Helps with Neuropathy
Neuropathy is a painful nerve condition that affects millions of people. Causes vary from diabetes to HIV, but regardless of the cause, the major issue is finding pain relief and improving balance and muscle response.
Massage therapy can offer some relief from the symptoms of neuropathy, including improved joint flexibility, reduced cramping and spasms, less back and leg pain, and improved immunity. While massage therapy isn’t a cure, it can offer relief of symptoms without resorting to more or a higher dosage of drug therapy.
11) Spring Cleaning for the Body
Of course, you can’t literally “wash” the inside of the body and while the kidneys and liver do a great job of cleansing, the lymph system removes some of the bacteria that could otherwise harm us. Massage therapy is a terrific way to help stimulate the lymph system and allow it to remove some of the debris that it may have stored.
The lymph system relies on the movement of the muscles to move the fluid through the lymph nodes and out of the body. There are specific lymphatic drain massages that can be performed, but even getting a regular massage can help to encourage the lymph fluids to move the fluids in the system.
12) Reduces All Types of Joint Pain
Massage therapy is good for relieving all types of pain, and it is especially good for those who might be experiencing joint pain. Regardless of whether the joint pain is due to arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, carpal tunnel, and tendonitis.
There are more than 300 joints in the human body, so it makes sense that, eventually, you are going to feel pain in one joint or another at some point in your life. In fact, a 2015 study found that pain in the shoulders and knees were the 4th largest burden on the health care system, affecting as much as 50% of the population.
This is where massage therapy, especially when coupled with chiropractic care, can be of tremendous benefit. Massage therapy can ease muscle tension which can cause spasms, and it improves the function, as well as reduces the pain, for those with joint pain, including the knee, shoulder, wrist, elbows, and nearly every joint in the body.
13) Provides a Nurturing, Well-Cared for Feeling
This one is a no brainer. Receiving a relaxing massage that reduces muscle soreness, tension, aches and pains, and rejuvenates the skin can make anyone feel nurtured and well-cared for. Who doesn’t need or want those kinds of feelings in their life?
14) Terrific Pain Relief After Surgery
When you think about the terrible effects of the opioid crisis that America is facing right now, seeking alternative means of pain relief makes perfect sense.
Postoperative pain is normal, but it can actually delay the recovery process. Research has shown that massage therapy can lower postoperative pain levels, including pain intensity, as well as decrease the body’s sympathetic response to postoperative pain, while increasing those feelings of well-being and improving levels of calmness.
15) A Great Tool for Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia is a little understood health problem where patients feel widespread nerve pain, trigger points, and have other health issues, including depression, sleep disorders, and feelings of anxiety. There is no known cause and no treatment other than relief of symptoms, usually through pharmaceutical drugs.
Massage for fibromyalgia patients has been a controversial subject but a meta-analysis of 9 studies involving more than 404 patients found that a 5 week program of massage therapy had immediate beneficial effects in all the areas listed above.
Nearly every chiropractor offers in-house massage therapy and for fibromyalgia patients, combining massage and chiropractic care can offer real relief from the most troublesome symptoms of pain, stiff joints, depression, and sleep issues.
16) Improves Exercise Performance
There is a reason why you see professional athletes getting “rub downs” and massages before and after they play; massage helps the body recover faster, it increases flexibility, and allows them to train harder.
By improving circulation, massage therapy alleviates sore muscles while bringing fresh blood with vital nutrients which allow the muscles and other tissue to rebuild itself. Massage can even improve vascular function! (See item #19 for more on this)
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17) Lowers Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain
The Arthritis Foundation hosts an annual “Healing Hands for Arthritis” event promoting massage therapy while raising funds for the awareness of all types of arthritis. Many patients with rheumatoid arthritis fear that massage therapy will hurt, but the truth is that the exact opposite is the case!
One study found that patients who had RA in the upper extremities benefited greatly from moderate massage therapy. When massage is performed by trained massage therapists, weekly massages can offer tremendous pain relief, relax the body, and improve overall perceptions of pain.
18) Relief for Insomniacs
For anyone who has had a “bad night” and didn’t get much sleep, you know how disjointed this can leave you feeling the next day. Imagine if this happened to you regularly? For the 30 percent of Americans with insomnia or other types of sleep problems, this can become a real burden. To avoid addictive prescription medications, many people are turning to massage therapy to improve their sleeping patterns naturally.
Sleep is greatly influenced by our hormones, melatonin especially. This hormone causes us to feel relaxed and sleepy. Serotonin, the hormone that makes us feel happy, is necessary for the production of melatonin. Massage therapy has been shown in multiple studies to relax the body, increase serotonin levels, as well as reduce tension, which helps people to sleep better.
19) Improves Cardiovascular Health
As we mentioned earlier, studies such as this one have found that massage can improve vascular and cardiovascular health. When you consider that cardiovascular disease is the number one killer in America, doing everything you can to fight back against this disease can add up to make a difference.
Decades of research have shown that massage therapy is extremely effective in fighting heart disease by lowering blood pressure, heart rate, and stress levels. It’s interesting to note that for elderly persons, the last study also found improvements in balance and neurological function. Massage therapy has so much more to offer than mere indulgence!
20) Relief for Cancer Patients
Of course, no one is claiming that massage can prevent or stop cancer, it can, however, help those who are undergoing cancer treatment have reduced side effects.
Studies have found that massage therapy is safe for everyone, regardless of their diagnosed stage of cancer and that it can provide relief from nausea, pain, fatigue, feelings of anxiety and/or depression, and improve sleeping patterns and overall quality of life.
Some fear that massage will somehow spread cancer via the lymph system, but this isn’t accurate. The lymph system works everyday every time you move your body. It’s also important to know that cancer can start in the lymph system but cancer in other parts of the body develops and spreads because of genetic mutation in a cell’s DNA.
21) Eases the Pain of Osteoarthritis
Chronic osteoarthritis responds extremely well to massage therapy. Pain can be relieved by relaxing the muscles that surround the joints, releasing the stiffness that comes with osteoarthritis.
Massage therapy has helped millions of people with all types of health problems and diseases, including HIV/AIDS, cancer, and all types of osteoarthritis.
22) Improves Sense of Balance for Seniors
As we mentioned in #19, massage therapy has so much more to offer than just being a nice pastime. This study found that it improved a sense of balance for seniors, as well as offering neurological and cardiovascular health. A meta-analysis found that while more studies should be done in this area, the studies that were available found that massage improved functional balance tests.
Injuries from falls is a top concern for many seniors. Massage increases the blood flow to the muscles, especially to the extremities, improving proprioception (the sense of the relative position of body parts) which improves the sense of balance.
23) Reduces Chemo/Radiation Induced Nausea
No one will deny that going through any type of cancer treatment is stressful and most people undergoing chemotherapy seek ways to reduce stress, pain, and the side effects associated with chemotherapy, such as nausea.
One very effective strategy is regular massage. More than just a physical release, massage can help ease feelings of anxiety, reduce post-surgical pain, and reduce swelling that often occurs after surgery. Massage therapy is well-known, and it has been well-documented, as a natural stress relieving measure, but it can also help those who are undergoing cancer treatment by reducing nausea, limit episodes of vomiting, and improving overall mood.
If you are offered a massage while undergoing chemotherapy, why not give it a try? If you have a loved-one going through treatment, consider the gift of weekly massage therapy.
24) Tempers the Symptoms of Alzheimer’s
Chances are that you know someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s. While it might seem that these patients have lost some of who they are, they don’t lose the capacity for emotion or that they recognize a caring touch. This means that massage therapy has something to offer dementia patient’s, even in the late stages.
Massage therapy can offer Alzheimer’s patients reduced feelings of anxiety and confusion, as well as improving their feelings of alertness and body awareness. Alzheimer’s can also ease feelings of isolation, boredom, and/or loneliness. One study found that a hand massage and calming music had a soothing effect on dementia patients who were in an agitated state.
25) Lowers Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is epidemic in today’s society. Hypertension can lead to a higher risk of stroke, heart disease, and other disease. Unfortunately, high blood pressure can be difficult to treat and even harder to recognize since it has no symptoms.
One way to naturally lower blood pressure is to “indulge” in massage therapy. Studies have found that a consistent program of massage therapy can lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, lower the levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and offers stress relief as well.
In a 2013 study that involved 50 pre-hypertensive women split into two groups, the group that received a 15 minute, 3 times per week massage had significantly lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure readings than the control group.
26) Helps with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel affects millions of Americans and costs companies billions of dollars in workers’ compensation claims and health insurance costs each year. Unfortunately, typical treatment involves surgery and physical therapy. Most patients, and health insurers, never bother with non-invasive solutions first, such as chiropractic and massage therapy.
Massage therapy is one of the most cost-efficient means of addressing carpal tunnel syndrome, and for many people, it works. Massage therapy addresses the pain, inflammation, and numbness by lengthening and softening the muscles of the neck, shoulder, elbow, forearm, wrist and hand. Many patients find relief after their very first session.
One study found that a 30- minute massage twice a week over the six- week study period offered substantial pain relief and offered patients a viable, non-surgical treatment method.
27) Reduces Pain after Joint Replacement
Replacement of the knee or hip joint, known as arthroplasty, has become a regular procedure in medicine today. Recovery afterwards, however, can take quite a bit of time and usually involves a few weeks of pharmaceutical pain killers.
Massage has some significant benefits for surgical patients by reducing postsurgical pain, inflammation, and it reduces adhesions (scar tissue) to improve mobility. This can help to reduce the amount of opioid pain killers a patient will need.
A 2012 study found that subjects who underwent knee replacement surgery who received a 60-minute massage once per week over the 8-week study period had significant reductions in pain compared to the general care group and had improved range of motion.
28) Increases Range of Motion
Injuries to muscles and connective tissue are more prevalent today than they were 60 years ago. It’s not that we are exercising harder or playing harder; it’s that we have more sedentary lives. To top it off, our joints tend to tighten as we age, which makes flexibility and range of motion even more restricted.
Massage therapy to the rescue! Of course, we aren’t implying that you needn’t perform stretching exercises or that sitting on your behind every weekend is acceptable because…..massage, but you can offset some of the consequences of your desk job by receiving regular massages.
Elongating the muscles will improve posture and reduce soreness. Blood circulation helps muscles to heal and improves flexibility. Regular massage will help to keep the joints more fluid, make them less prone to injury, and improve your overall range of motion.
29) Reduces Migraine Frequency
For anyone who has suffered a migraine or has a loved one who suffers from migraines, you know how debilitating the pain can be. Finding relief, especially for those who suffer from frequent episodes, is a top priority.
Massage therapy has shown to have success for many people who suffer from migraines by reducing their frequency and helping patients find ways to better manage migraine pain they cannot avoid.
While research has been limited, there have been a few studies, including this one from 2006 which involved 47 subjects who received massage therapy for their migraines. Compared to the control group, the subjects who received massage had fewer migraines and slept better, and these effects continued for at least 3 weeks after the massage sessions ended.
30) Improves Quality of Life for Hospice Patients
For those in hospice care, massage therapy can be a nurturing part of their experience. Since massage therapy reduces pain, depression, and anxiety, it’s easy to see how regular massage therapy can improve the quality of life for patients that are facing the end of their lives.
In fact, massage therapy has so much to offer patients that massage therapy is often one of the most frequently offered complimentary therapies in hospice settings. No one can deny that touch is a universal language that allows patients to fully relax. Even those who cannot tolerate a full body massage can benefit from a foot massage, scalp, hand, or neck and shoulder massage.
31) Reduces Stress Hormones
While most of us think of massage as “melting” away stress, this mental image isn’t that far off. One study found that a weekly 45-minute massage therapy session twice a week over a five- week period not only lowered the stress hormone cortisol, but it increased white blood cells, which play a vital role in the immune response of the body.
How important is this? Stress levels increase inflammation in the body, which is the foundation for nearly every disease known to man, including heart disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and even some types of cancer.
Don’t let anyone tell you that massage is nothing more than a self-indulgent pastime ever again!
32) Faster Muscle Recovery
There is a good reason why every professional athletic team, no matter what game they are playing, employ massage therapists. It’s not just about making their athlete’s feel good, it’s good medicine that helps them to recover more quickly.
Research done at McMaster University found that just 10 minutes of massage after an exhausting workout reduced inflammation. The muscles also made new mitochondria, which is what promotes the faster muscle recovery. Whether you’re a weekend warrior or you train for marathons, regular massage therapy can help keep you in the best shape, in the shortest amount of time possible.
33) Less Swelling in Muscle Tissue
Whether it’s from an injury or overuse, anytime a muscle swells, it’s evidence that the muscles are repairing themselves after sustaining damage. Swollen muscles are tight and painful, however.
Massage therapy can reduce swelling and shorten the amount of time that muscles take to heal. The physical manipulation of the muscle tissue improves circulation and lymph response. This allows for the improved delivery of oxygen and nutrients that the muscles need in order to repair themselves. More efficient functioning of the lymph system will remove the damaged tissue and increases the absorption of excess fluids, thereby reducing swelling.
34) Re-energizes Body and Mind
If you have read any of the above points, then you know that massage therapy can reduce depression, anxiety, and reduce stress, cortisol, and inflammation. All of these items combined lead to positive outcomes for both the body and mind.
Massage therapy is an effective approach for positively affecting the biochemistry of both the body and mind, offering stimulation, healing, and re-energizing via relief from stress.
35) Helps with Digestive Problems
Certain massage techniques can stimulate the movement of the digestive tract, increasing metabolism of the antioxidants and nutrients by stimulating the release of enzymes. When the body metabolizes food more quickly, it is able to flush out toxins and waste, allowing the digestion to work at its best. This can help to reduce many common digestive ailments such as gas, bloating, cramps, and constipation.
36) Helps Fight PMS Symptoms
With an estimated 80 percent of women stating that they have at least one PMS symptom each month, it’s not surprising that women are seeking ways to naturally deal with these annoying and painful symptoms.
Depending on the symptom, massage therapy can help. Bloating is reduced by improving lymph function, mood swings and irritability can be improved through stress relief and increasing the natural hormone serotonin, which makes us feel happy. Cramps are reduced through reduced muscle tension and improved circulation. The list goes on and on. Regular massage therapy sessions can minimize PMS symptoms with zero side effects.
37) Provides Improved Mental Alertness
Our levels of mental concentration and alertness rise and fall for a variety of reasons, including poor sleep, stress, poor diet, and lack of exercise. While massage won’t help you improve your diet or exercise routine (that will be your job) it can help to reduce stress levels and improve both sleep quality and quantity, so you will have improved levels of mental alertness and be more able to focus and concentrate on the task at hand.
38) Reduces Postural Stress
Postural stress or poor posture is what happens when we sit in stressful positions for long periods of time. Our bodies have not evolved as quickly as technology has. We are not designed to sit for hours each day. Unfortunately, for many people, desk jobs are a fact of life. Sitting is the new smoking and the devastating effects sitting has on our spine, neck, and joints can be reduced with chiropractic care and massage therapy.
Regular massage therapy can help to reduce the pressure that is placed on the spine, glutes, and hips. Chiropractic care keeps the vertebrae and joints in the proper alignment while massage therapy relaxes the muscles to prevent tension and keep them in place.
39) Improves Blood Circulation
While most people understand that massage therapy will improve blood circulation, you might be asking yourself why this matters?
Improved circulation is one of the reasons you exercise; to increase the blood flow to the extremities and remove the accumulation of lactic acid in the muscles, which reduces muscle soreness. To stay strong and health, as well as for healing, the tissues of the body need fresh blood that carries oxygen and nutrients. This is very much like feeding your body fresh foods in a steady supply. Improved circulation brings much needed oxygen and nutrients to all parts of the body, while removing metabolic waste, old hormones, and damaged tissue. With all of this going for it, you now might be asking yourself, why doesn’t everyone get a massage?
40) Enhances Growth and Development in Infants
Infant massage has been practiced for centuries and is one of the earliest types of stimuli a parent can offer their baby. Massage is not only an important source of stimulation, but it improves a child’s social, emotional, and cognitive development, reduces gas and colic difficulties, promotes sleep and helps babies learn how to relax and release tension.
Preterm infants also benefit from massage therapy. One study found that infants who received massage 3 times a day for 15 minutes at a time, over a 5- day period gained more weight and had less crying and stress behavior than those who did not receive massage.
41) Improves Overall Mood
Everyone knows that a full-body massage can make you feel great, it can keep you in a good mood for a longer period of time than you might imagine.
One study found that the benefits of massage therapy vs touch therapy improved the mood and quality of life in a program that involved 380 subjects.
Even at the airport, those spas where you can get in a little massage time before your flight can help to calm you when your flight is delayed and can help to soothe your nerves without alcohol. Massage is the perfect strategy that you can add to your toolbox of self-care options that are healthy alternatives to alcohol or pharmaceutical drugs.
42) Helps with Myofascial Pain Syndrome
Myofascial pain syndrome is a chronic disorder that is characterized by an intense tightness and sensitivity in the myofascial tissues of the body. Myofascial tissues support the muscles and are found everywhere in the body. The pain is located in specific points, which vary from person to person. These are called trigger points.
Massage therapy helps to reduce the pain caused by myofascial syndrome by releasing these trigger points and offering relief from muscle tension and stress. This is a specific type of massage that not all massage therapists offer. Most chiropractors offer this type of massage therapy, along with helpful chiropractic techniques that help to reduce the pain from this chronic health problem.
43) Helps with Soft Tissue Strains
Soft tissue strain, commonly referred to as a pulled muscle, occurs when you overuse or improperly use a muscle, causing pain, swelling, even bruising. There is often little you can do to help these types of injuries, other than ice and rest, letting time do the work, but massage therapy might speed up the healing process.
By improving circulation, a gentle massage can bring much needed oxygen and nutrients to the affected area, while removing the damaged tissues. Massage is also a natural pain reliever and can help people feel better mentally.
44) Helps with TMJ
Temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMJ, causes pain and stiffness in the jaw, face, and neck area. This is often caused by stress, injury to the teeth or jaw, or misalignment to the teeth or jaw, as well as teeth clenching or grinding at night. Most patients have very little recourse for addressing their pain, but prevention could be as easy as a massage.
A massage of the head, neck, and shoulders in particular can help to release the tight muscle of the face and jaw, which can relieve pressure. If stress is a factor, massage will also help to reduce this, as well as improve sleep patterns, which can help patients grind their teeth less while sleeping.
45) Relief from Neck Pain
A pain in the neck is a …pain in the neck. The U.S National Institute of Health Statistics states that a minimum of 15% of Americans have neck pain at any given time. Whether it is due to a bad pillow, poor posture, tech neck or text neck, neck pain can really interfere with your day. You can try home remedies to find relief from neck pain, as well as chiropractic care and massage therapy.
Depending on the source of your pain, massage therapy can relieve the tight muscles of the shoulders and neck, offering substantial pain relief and possibly preventing or delaying future pain. One study found that two or three 1-hour massage sessions for four weeks, then reducing the frequency to 30-minute massages, helped subjects have far less neck pain than those who only did 30-minute sessions, even if those sessions were more frequent.
46) Reduces Muscle Soreness
Perhaps one of the most common reasons people get massages is to relieve muscle soreness. Massage therapy reduces inflammation, improves blood flow, and reduces muscle tightness and tension. This has long been known and explains why both athletes and health professionals tout the healing benefits of massage therapy.
One study found that massage therapy reduced the production of compounds called cytokines, which play a part in the development of inflammation. Massage was also found to stimulate the mitochondria of the body. These are the tiny batteries that convert glucose into energy. Stimulation of the mitochondria enhances the recovery of the cells in the muscle tissue.
47) A Non-Prescription Drug Pain Reliever
With the opioid overdose epidemic in everyone’s mind, it’s vital that healthcare professionals learn to offer other means of pain relief other than these addictive pain killers.
Massage therapy is one of those alternatives. In May of 2018, the AMTA published the latest studies which found that massage therapy was proven to be one effective tool for helping to manage pain, especially chronic pain syndromes, such as arthritis and fibromyalgia. While massage therapy cannot take the place of opioids for some conditions (advanced cancer patients for example) but it can allow those with other types of chronic pain reduce the amount of prescription pain killers that are needed.
48) Prepares the Body for Exercise or Chiropractic Adjustments
Whether you are preparing yourself for your marathon race, spin class, or chiropractic adjustment, having a massage beforehand will help your body prepare itself for these endeavors. Massage therapy prepares the muscles, tendons, and ligaments for movement by giving them improved circulation, increasing the temperature, and improving the flexibility of these tissues. When the body is flexible and relaxed, it is ready to take on anything.
49) Makes Exercise Feel Easier
Did you know that regular massage therapy sessions can have a positive impact on your workout? It’s true! How can something that feels so good be so good for you?
Massage therapy shortens the recovery time your muscles need between workouts. If you become injured, massage is also helpful in reducing the amount of time needed to recover from injuries, as well as helping you prevent injuries from happening to begin with. Perhaps most of all, massage addresses stress. When stress levels and tension are lower, you feel better overall and can focus more on your exercise routine than whatever is going on at the office.
50) Alleviates Morning Stiffness
Whether you suffer from stiff, sore joints in the morning due to arthritis, old injuries, rheumatoid arthritis, or another condition, one thing is certain; you want the pain and stiffness to end as quickly as possible.
Having regular massage can help! First, by lowering the body’s production of cortisol and a neurotransmitter that is associated with feelings of pain, massage can naturally help the body fight stiffness and soreness in the muscles and joints. Massage also increases flexibility and range of motion, which allows more use of the affected limb or joint. Regular exercise is also a natural way to fight arthritis pain and the more you can move without pain, the more exercise you will indulge in.
51) Offers Relief from Pain Caused by Typing or Texting
Chances are that you have a desk job that involves typing of some sort and you have a cell phone that you also type or text on. While these are terrific modern miracles of science, our bodies have yet to evolve so that these activities don’t cause us pain.
Computer elbow (AKA tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow), tech neck, carpal tunnel syndrome, chronic neck, thumb, and joint pain in the fingers is becoming more common every day due to these activities. Especially when combined with chiropractic care, massage therapy can help to reduce pain felt in the neck, shoulders, upper or lower back, fingers, wrists, elbows, and even hip pain.
52) Breaks Down Adhesions
Adhesions, or scar tissue, can be reduced through a type of massage therapy called Graston massage or Graston technique, that will break down the scar tissue, making the scar appear less noticeable and softer.
Some types of adhesions are internal, especially after having abdominal surgery. Another type of therapy, called Mayan Massage, can also help to break up abdominal adhesions that tend to wrap themselves around the pelvic organs and hurt terribly.
Whether you are interested in relieving the pain and appearance of external scars or internal adhesions, massage therapy can help. Be sure to ask the therapist if they perform these types of massages since not all therapists do.
53) Super Sciatica Relief
The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the body. Neurological pain that radiates down the back of the leg is a common problem for millions of Americans each year. Sciatica pain has a wide range of causes, including herniated discs and degenerative disc disease, but other issues can cause this type of pain as well, including poor posture, poor mattress support, and a lack of exercise. You can read more about sciatica pain here.
Chiropractic care and massage therapy can help. Most people want their sciatica pain to go away as quickly as possible and massage therapy can be highly effective in this area. One study found that patients with sciatica who received weekly massage treatments had minimal amount of pain when compared to the control group. Manage your sciatica pain with regular chiropractic care and massage therapy for the best results.
54) Helps with Piriformis Syndrome
Piriformis syndrome is often mistaken for sciatica pain. While the symptoms are similar, the treatment is a bit different. The piriformis muscle, that can be found in the glutes, can compress the sciatic nerve, causing pain. One way to determine if the problem is with the piriformis muscle or sciatica from low back problems is that the pain from piriformis stays in the lower back and buttocks and does not radiate down the leg.
Piriformis syndrome or sciatica pain responds well to massage therapy. By releasing tight muscles, the pressure on the nerve is reduced, thus relieving pain. Massage therapy can be done to address the piriformis muscle specifically, which will stop it from spasming and reduce pressure on the sciatic nerve. This is where having a massage done at your chiropractor’s office is super beneficial. Your chiropractor will discover that it’s the piriformis muscle causing irritation to the sciatic nerve and after adjusting the spine to ensure that everything is in place, the massage therapist will do the rest, all in one location.
55) Relief from Tennis Elbow
Tennis elbow, frequently referred to today as computer elbow, is commonly felt as a pain on the outside of the elbow and the outside of the upper forearm. Subjects frequently have difficulty gripping items such as pens or hairbrushes and difficulty turning items, such as doorknobs or removing the lid from a jar. This is due to strenuous overuse of the tendons in the elbow and the muscles in the forearm, either due to overuse (such as typing or playing tennis), excessive gripping or wringing of items, or tight muscles in the forearm.
In the case of tennis elbow, massage therapy relies on trigger point therapy to relieve pain and improve circulation to the area, which will help stimulate healing. This type of therapy will also reduce inflammation levels. This is a far more desirable method to try first before submitting to painful surgery.
56) Reduces Muscle Spasms and “Charlie Horse”
Let’s face it; while a Charlie horse or a muscle spasm isn’t a life-threatening illness, they are very painful. Involuntary spasms in your neck, hands, thighs, calves, back, or almost anywhere can sometimes strike without warning and stop you dead in your tracks.
Certain medications and dehydration, as well as a lack of certain minerals can sometimes be the cause, but if muscle cramps due to overuse, over-exercising, or stress are a problem for you, massage therapy can help. By increasing blood circulation, reducing stiffness, and improving flexibility, massage therapy will not only reduce pain, but it will reduce your chances of having another painful Charlie horse.
57) Reduces the Effects of Cubicle Syndrome
You might find cartoon character Dilbert’s “cubicle syndrome” amusing, and while it isn’t a “definitive” health issue by any medical standard, it is a thing for those who spend their lives working in a cubicle, especially one without windows.
Cubicle syndrome includes joint pain, general muscle pain, fatigue, depression, and lethargy. Whether this is a real condition or merely a shared feeling among cubicle workers, ask anyone who works in these conditions and they will explain what it does to the body and soul.
Massage therapy can help to relieve the pain, depression, and fatigue that accompanies cubicle syndrome, while helping to improve the mood and reduce those feelings of depression.
58) Mood and Mental Health Improvement
Stress and depression are at all-time highs in the US. Many of the symptoms of stress, including anxiety, depression and mood disorders, can be relieved through massage therapy.
Anxiety and depression can be relieved through this hands-on type of therapy by lowering the hormone levels that are associated with these feelings. Massage can also reduce depression and relieve stress, decrease the heart rate and lower blood pressure.
59) Nerve Pain Syndrome Relief
Nerve injuries are not only painful, but they take a tremendous amount of time for healing to occur. The pain from neuropathy and sciatica can be debilitating, interfering with everyday tasks including standing and walking, even sitting, but massage therapy can help.
The main benefit of massage therapy is in soothing tense muscles. When our bodies feel pain, it is natural to tense up the other muscles of the body, putting more pressure on the nerves. Massage relaxes these muscles, and also helps to improve the pain threshold by stimulating the body to release endorphins. Endorphins are the feel- good hormones that cause us to have those feelings of well-being, relieving pain and boosting the good feelings we have. A 2014 study found that massage therapy worked better than NSAIDS when it came to reliving sciatica and low back pain.
You can read more about relieving the pain of sciatica and other types of nerve pain using massage therapy and chiropractic care here.
60) Reduces the Need for Painkillers
You would have to be living under a rock to be unaware of the deadly prescription overdose epidemic that has hit America. Pain killing overdose victims have claimed more lives than heroin and cocaine combined. With more than 45 people dying from pain killers every day, using massage therapy as a natural means of reducing pain makes more sense than ever before.
Especially for those who suffer from chronic neck and back pain, chiropractic care combined with massage therapy is the best way to manage and reduce pain with no drugs and no side effects.
61) Bountiful Benefits for Pregnant Women
While pregnancy is a wonderful thing it does have its drawbacks. Anything that can make the mother-to-be more comfortable is welcome and one of those would be massage therapy.
Massage therapy during pregnancy can reduce the swelling many women experience in their lower legs and feet, help to balance hormones, and lead to a quicker recovery time after giving birth. Massage therapy can also help reduce muscle and joint pain both before and after delivery.
62) Help You Look and Feel Younger
Everyone wants to look and feel younger and massage therapy can help. Facials include a massage of the face muscles, relaxing them, softening the expression and reducing lines. No Botox required.
63) Reduces Inflammation
Inflammation is the body’s natural response to injury, alerting the immune system of injury. However, when inflammation becomes chronic, it causes more harm than good. Massage therapy has been shown to reduce inflammation and pain the same as NSAIDs without the side-effects.
64) Improves Lymphatic Circulation
The lymph system of the body is vital for the removal of waste and toxins. For those who have had surgery or who suffer from lymphedema, fibromyalgia, or other conditions that cause swelling, improvement and stimulation of the lymph nodes is a natural way to reduce the symptoms and pain of swollen tissues.
The lymph system relies on smooth muscle movement to operate, but when you have limited movement, this system can become backed-up, clogged, or sluggish. Lymphatic massage can reduce swelling and improve overall drainage of the lymph system. A 2015 meta-analysis concluded that lymphatic massage was helpful for relieving the symptoms of swelling, stiffness, and depression for those with fibromyalgia.
65) Increases Libido
Lost your mojo lately? Did you know that regular massage therapy might help you to retrieve it? It’s true! The fact is that most people, men and women, are feeling so stressed out by modern life that sex has become a chore, rather than a pleasure. This is where regular massage therapy can help.
By reducing stress, pain, and improving sleep, massage therapy can help renew those buried feelings of desire. Improved circulation is also of tremendous benefit as both the body and mind are stimulated from the fresh nutrients and oxygen that massage provides.
66) Can Help You Lose Weight
Let’s be very clear on this point. You cannot eat anything you like in huge quantities and get zero exercise but believe that massage therapy will cause you to drop pounds like a Biggest Loser contestant. That will not happen.
However, if you are actively trying to lose weight through a sensible diet and exercise plan, massage therapy can help you in this area. You can use massage therapy as a reward for sticking to your diet and exercise routine for starters. Regular massage will also help to reduce muscle soreness, so you are more likely to stick to an intense exercise program, reduce stress and anxiety, as well as improve the quality of your sleep.
67) Makes You Happy
In addition to making you feel great, massage therapy can make you a happier person overall. With its overwhelming list of benefits (which you are reading), massage therapy can help your mind to unwind and relax, enjoy a bit of alone time or enjoy a couple’s massage, increases that feel good hormone serotonin, reduces inflammation and headaches, and makes you feel oh-so pampered and cared for. Who wouldn’t feel happier with all this going for it?
68) Reduces the Risk of Injury
While it might seem strange to get a massage before you exercise or play in a sports game, but this practice can help you to avoid injury to begin with. The most common causes of injury include muscle tightness, muscle weakness, and overuse. By maintaining healthy, flexible muscles, you can reduce muscle fatigue, tightness, and improve performance, thereby reducing the risk of injury.
69) Increases Social Interaction
While some people prefer their massage to be done in a private room since they are partially or completely disrobing, others enjoy a regular foot massage or back and neck massage via a chair. While waiting for your regular appointment, it is not unusual to see the same people week after week. If you are having a foot massage at a day spa, you are free to talk to other patrons, who can share their stories. Some people make friends with other patrons or even with their massage therapist. Social interaction is an important part of our lives and it has been shown to be important when it comes to longevity.
70) Enjoy a Healthy Leisure Activity
Rather than spend another Friday night with Netflix or hitting up your local pub, imagine how your life might change if you had a massage every week? This is a terrific way to release the stress of the work week and get a jump start on a relaxing weekend. Even just a chance to get away from the house and your usual activities can be seen as a soothing leisure activity that is loaded with health benefits.
71) Health Maintenance
Massage is far more than a nice treat; it has measurable health benefits that have been widely documented. This explains why professional athletes, dancers, and others regularly go for massage therapy. You can counteract many of the potentially serious health problems (or at the very least minimize the pain) that come with sitting in front of a desk, wielding a hammer, or standing all day passing items across a scanner through regular massage sessions.
72) Speeds Recovery Times from Illness and Injuries
Waiting for the body to heal from any type of injury or illness can be frustrating. While it takes only a minute to injure yourself, healing can take weeks or months! Whether you want to recover more quickly from a sprained ankle or a bout with the flu, massage therapy can help.
Regular massage therapy stimulates the immune system and reduces inflammation while reducing stiff or sore muscles. It also helps to reduce stress and pain, which can lead to improved sleep and an overall improved mood.
73) Helps to Calm Those with ADHD
Children and adults with ADHD suffer from sensory deprivation of a sort. Children, especially, appear to have a short temper, become hyperactive, and are desperate for physical sensations and experiences that allow them to feel. This is why most of these individuals like very hot or very cold water and enjoy intense movies or video games.
Those who suffer with ADHD have a buildup of energy that needs a release. Massage therapy helps ADHD subjects get the stimulation they need. It also increases serotonin levels, which relieves feelings of anger and frustration. Massage therapy provides an outlet for those with ADHD and it has no side effects, unlike the medications that are commonly prescribed.
74) Helps Preemies
The good news is the more pre-term infants survive to adulthood than ever before. This is due to advances in modern medicine and more advanced newborn intensive care units that help keep them alive. However, the very machines and technology that keeps preemies alive stresses them out. Premature infants have undeveloped immune systems that cannot adjust to even minor stresses.
Massage therapy stimulates the maturing of premature infants’ autoimmune systems while reducing their stress levels and allowing them to gain more weight and improve emotionally by soothing their temperament and making them more social.
75) Perfect for the Homebound
For those who cannot leave home for whatever reason, you can still get a massage since nearly every major city has massage therapists who will travel to your home or even your office!
If you are too afraid to drive, don’t have a car, or are disabled and can’t easily leave home to make it to your chiropractor’s office or to a spa, have a massage therapist come to you!
76) Relieves Sciatica Symptoms
With some estimates saying that at least 40 percent of people will have sciatica pain at one point in their lives, is it any wonder that people are willing to try (and buy) nearly anything to find relief from sciatica pain?
The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the body, and one of the main causes of sciatica pain is a herniated disc. This explains why a combination of chiropractic care and massage therapy remains one of the most effective methods for treating and preventing sciatica pain and why most chiropractors offer massage therapy right in their clinics.
One study that involved 400 individuals with sciatica and low back pain received massage therapy and chiropractic adjustments over a 10- week period. The patients who received these treatments were functioning better and had less pain (with more than 1/3rd of them saying their pain had vanished) than the control group.
77) Improve Job Performance/Productivity
Studies show that massage increases mental alertness. Since they will also lower your change of developing a stress related illness, it makes you wonder why more companies don’t offer massage therapy as an employee perk?
78) Protects the Heart
A variety of studies have found that there is a link between massage and improved heart health. Even just a 10-minute chair massage will lower blood pressure, heart rate, and improve circulation. The benefits of massage can last as long as 72 hours afterwards.
79) Improves Overall Skin Condition
If you work in a cold office, have to deal with the dry air produced by air conditioners, or if you frequently get dry skin from cold weather, did you know that a full-body massage can actually fight dry skin and improve its overall condition? Massage therapy uses oil or lotion for the skin. Asking your therapist to use coconut oil or anther natural oil, such as grapeseed or almond oil, will not only help to fight dry skin, but the improved circulation can cause your body to produce more collagen, which will help to keep your skin smooth and younger looking.
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80) Stay Warmer
Speaking of cold weather, do you find that you are cold a great deal of the time? This is a problem for many women who work in air- conditioned buildings where the temperature is turned way down in an attempt to keep everyone comfortable. It is not unusual to see women working inside wearing sweaters in the middle of July! Regular massages can dramatically improve the circulation, which can help to keep you warmer.
81) Eases Seasonal Arthritis Pain
For some people, cold or rainy weather causes their joints to act up. Whether it’s from arthritis, an old sporting injury, or a simple increase in inflammation, cold weather is a real pain in the joints! Getting through the fall and winter months can be as easy as getting a regular massage. For those with arthritis, your chiropractor can not only help to minimize the pain with adjustments, but a chiropractic massage can mitigate the pain by loosening the connective tissue, reducing inflammation, improving circulation and just making you feel good. The natural pain killers that your body release through massage will help to keep that pain at bay until your next visit.
82) Far More Enjoyable than a Trip to the Doctor
Massage therapy is a preventative approach that beats going to see the doctor any day! People have no issues with making appointments for dental checkups, wellness checkups, but when you consider that massage therapy has so much to offer in the way of health benefits, it’s a wonder why people don’t think of it as being the “ounce of prevention.”
83) Massage Therapy Has Cumulative Benefits
It’s easy to see from all the above reasons and research that massage therapy has a therapeutic and cumulative effect. Once you begin regular massage therapy, you will notice improvement in your posture, mental health, energy levels, mood, and overall sense of wellbeing. These are the cumulative benefits of receiving regular massage therapy.
84) Helps to Spark Creative Ideas
If you’ve ever pondered on a problem for a long period of time and finally gave up, only to find that a solution came to you when you were sleeping or relaxing while watching a movie, then you understand how massage therapy can help to stimulate creative ideas.
When the mind is stressed or preoccupied, it’s similar to a horse wearing blinders; half of the solutions are out of sight, hiding behind stress. Massage therapy reduces stress and allows the mind to relax, allowing your creative juices to flow. Many high-level executives have discovered this benefit and have scheduled regular massage therapy into their work week.
85) Helps to Recover from Mental Trauma
Anyone who has ever been involved in a car accident, skiing accident, or other type of trauma inducing type of incident can tell you that allowing the body to heal is one thing, but the mind takes so much more time. Some people become stuck in the aftermath of traumatic events.
You can ease your pain and streamline recovery, including soothing the mental trauma that occurs after any type of accident or incident, with regular massage therapy. Physical trauma is something everyone can see and understand, but the mental anguish after these types of events can become a major roadblock when it comes to healing, including sleep disorders and depression.
Massage therapy can help treat stress, PTSD, and ease the mind so it can relax and sleep again. The ATMA reports that studies have found massage therapy helped ease not only the physical pain, but the mental anguish that tends to remain after traumatic events.
86) Improves Scalp and Hair Health
You might not know it, but regular scalp massages can not only bring you more lush, beautiful hair, but it can improve the skin on your head, otherwise known as the scalp. Improved circulation is what causes this to happen. Massage therapy can even help to prevent hair loss.
Of course, hair loss can occur for a variety of reasons, including hormone imbalance and a poor diet. Any underlying problems will need to be dealt with first, but to prevent or minimize hair loss, a study found that a standard scalp massage for only 4 minutes each day improved hair thickness and stimulated hair growth.
87) Relieves Pain and Prevents Pinched Nerves
Pinched nerves should be more accurately called compressed nerves. This happens when force or pressure on the area surrounding a nerve causes it to register pain, numbness, or weakness of the affected part. While pinched nerves can occur in any part of the body, they most typically affect the neck, back, wrists, shoulders, and elbows.
Effective treatments include yoga, stretching exercises, chiropractic care, and massage therapy. While deep tissue massage is not recommended, the gentle Swedish massage works well for helping the muscles relax, removing stress and muscle tension, while reducing general pain.
88) Relief from IBS
If you or someone you love suffers from irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, you know how painful this condition is. IBS affects the large intestine and it can cause abdominal pain, cramps, gas, bloating, diarrhea and/or constipation. While some symptoms of IBS can be relieved through diet, massage therapy can help in other ways.
While there is no cure for IBS, massage therapy can help to relieve one of the triggers of this condition; stress. Massage therapy can also relax the muscles of the abdomen, which tend to contract much harder in those with IBS. Regular massage therapy can reduce the symptoms of IBS and can allow relief from feelings of anxiety, which improves overall quality of life.
89) Helps to Manage Gout
Gout is a type of inflammatory arthritis. Some individuals have high levels of uric acid, which forms needle like crystals in the blood. These crystals tend to settle in the joint of the big toe, but they can settle in any joint of the body, causing redness, intense pain, and even joint damage.
Massage therapy has long been used to help stimulate the body’s natural healing mechanisms, encouraging circulation to the joints, and relief from muscle spasms. While massage therapy cannot cure gout, it can help those who suffer from gout attacks to better manage their pain.
90) Beneficial for Diabetics
Type 2 diabetes is the inability of the body to produce sufficient amounts of insulin to metabolize sugar, or the cells resistance to insulin. The result is high blood sugar levels that can cause extensive damage if left unchecked.
Massage therapy stimulates the lymph system, lowering blood sugar levels naturally. Improved circulation also increases the oxygen and nutrients provided to the cells of the body, which improves the utilization of insulin.
A meta-analysis of studies found that massage at the insulin injection site significantly increased serum insulin action for those with Type 1 diabetes. Another study noted that while there were only 3 published results regarding massage therapy for Type 2 diabetics, the results seemed to indicate that by reducing stress levels, the body was able to use insulin more effectively.
91) Reduces Pain and Helps Those with Scoliosis
While body braces and spinal fusion have long been the go-to treatments for those with a curvature of the spine, otherwise known as scoliosis, more patients are seeking alternative therapies, such as chiropractic care and massage therapy, to help them alleviate their symptoms.
While massage therapy isn’t a cure, it can help patients find relief. Deep tissue massage helps the spine and muscles relax, which fights muscles pain and cranial-sacral massage therapy helps to mobile the tight tissue around the spinal column, improving a patient’s range of movement.
Patients who combine chiropractic care along with massage therapy or acupuncture and massage, often see the most improvements, including improved mental outlook and overall quality of life due to a reduction in pain and an increase in mobility.
92) Speeds Healing for Whiplash
Whiplash is a terribly painful neck condition that occurs when the head is “whipped” back and forth in a powerful, jerking motion. This strains the muscles and connective tissues in the neck and if left untreated, severe cases could take years to resolve.
The best treatment for quick relief and healing of whiplash involves chiropractic care combined with massage therapy. Damaged muscles and connective tissue can benefit from gentle massage therapy that brings fresh blood via circulation to the area, giving the damaged muscles oxygen and fresh nutrients to begin building new tissue. Massage also helps to relax the muscles, reducing painful muscle spasms. Chiropractic care puts the neck vertebra back into the proper position, restoring proper movement.
93) Relief from Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
TOS, or thoracic outlet syndrome, is the compression of the nerves and blood vessels in the small space where the shoulder and neck meet called the thoracic outlet. This compression causes an aching pain in the neck, shoulder, arm, or hand. Most people with TOS find it difficult to put their arms over their heads.
Massage therapy can help to reduce the compression and offers substantial pain relief. Deep tissue massage has been found to be helpful for this condition.
94) Beneficial for Those with Raynaud’s Disease
Raynaud’s disease is the hyperactivation of the sympathetic nervous system. This causes the fingers, ears, nose, and toes to become so cold that they are numb or tingly. By increasing blood flow to the extremities and reducing stress, massage therapy can help to reduce the discomfort of those who suffer from Raynaud’s.
95) Eases Symptoms of Muscular Dystrophy
At its essence, muscular dystrophy is the body’s inability to produce or an insufficient production of a protein called dystrophin, which is necessary for the normal function of the muscles. Muscular dystrophy cannot be cured or reversed, and treatment plans are mainly about treating symptoms and preventing or reducing deformities of the joints.
Massage therapy can be helpful to those with MD as it can relax tight or contracted muscles, increases circulation and muscle pain while restoring at least partial range of motion. While massage cannot replace a physician’s management plan of MD, it can certainly compliment any treatment plan.
96) Relief for Those with Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the ligament that runs along the bottom of the foot. This ligament connects the front of the foot to the heel. This inflammation is very painful and feels similar to stepping on a sharp rock with your heel. It’s interesting that this pain is often felt after a person has been sitting or in the morning and not when walking or exercising.
One of the identifying factors are tight calf muscles. While many people take pain relievers or resort to painful cortisone injections, the easiest way to find all-natural pain relief is a massage. One study used two groups; one of which received 8 deep massage therapy sessions and the other received ultrasound. While both groups experienced short term pain relief, the massage therapy had significantly more effective treatment of reducing the inflammation than the ultrasound group.
97) Improves Balance and Gait in Seniors
Falling is a big concern for most seniors since, as we age, our bones become weaker, meaning that a simple fall can lead to broken bones. Since massage increases blood flow to the limbs, it can improve proprioception, which is our sense of the relative position of our bodies in relation to other objects. This will improve balance and gait, reducing the chances of falling and sustaining serious injury.
98) Reduce Symptoms of S.A.D.
The winter time blues, also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, is a form of depression where less sunlight, cold temperatures, and more time spent indoors triggers feelings of sadness, isolation, and hopelessness. There are several remedies to help with this disorder, including lamps that mimic natural sunlight and vitamin D therapy, but another tool that can help is regular massage therapy.
Massage therapy lowers hormones that are linked to anxiety and depression while increasing the hormones that make us feel happy. While massage therapy won’t stop SAD entirely, combined with other treatments, it can make a huge difference to the lives of many.
99) It Can Even Make You Look Younger
You might think we put this one in just to reach our goal of 99 reasons to get a massage, but this isn’t just fluff- getting a regular facial massage will make you look younger by relaxing the muscles in your face, taking those frown lines and softening them. No dangerous (and expensive) Botox required!
Professional makeup artists often give facial massages before models hit the runway, so their complexion glows!
Tips and Tricks from Massage Experts
Things Your Massage Therapist Wants You to Know
- Get naked if you want. Or don’t. Undressing to your comfort level will result in you getting your best massage so if you want to bare it all, that’s fine. Your therapist will understand, however, if you want to remain in your underwear.
- A warm shower before your appointment will help to relax your body
- Get in your exercise before your massage. While the muscles might be a bit tired from exercise, the massage will work to alleviate that soreness.
- Ask for your preferred massage type when you book your appointment. This way, the therapist can have things ready for you when you arrive.
- Visit the restroom just before your appointment to avoid any embarrassing gas issues. If you find that you have to go before your massage is finished, you can tell your massage therapist, they will understand.
- Tell them what you want! Do not be afraid to tell the therapist if you want them to rub your shoulders harder or your calves more gently. These are massage therapists, not mind readers.
- Speaking of mind readers, massage therapists are also not marriage or relationship counselors. Talk about your personal life if you like, but don’t expect expert advice.
- Don’t flirt. Don’t even pretend to flirt.
- Avoid talking about politics, religion, or other controversial subjects.
- If you experience any soreness after a massage, it’s normal. They ARE working your muscles. You can get an adjustment at the chiropractors to help stop or prevent soreness the next day or do a bit of light stretching.
Get the Most Out of Your Massage Session
- Don’t eat a heavy meal or drink alcohol just before your session
- Shower before your session if at all possible
- Be on time
- Talk with your therapist beforehand if you have any issues you want to address
- Talk to your therapist if you like as the massage goes on, but it’s not required.
- Breathe normally
- Try to relax- the therapist isn’t there to judge your cellulite, bowlegs, or unshaved legs
Tips for Keeping That Blissful, Post-Massage Feeling
Nothing beats the way you feel when you walk out of the massage office after a super-relaxing session. To keep that feeling going, the following tips will help:
- Schedule Smart. While you sometimes have no choice but to schedule a massage during your lunch hour, if possible, schedule it as late as possible so you can go home and relax.
- Keep the Calm. Don’t get in your car and crank up the rock and roll or listen to the news. Put on some relaxing music.
- Dress for It. Change into some loose, comfortable clothing after your massage if it all possible.
- Eat Light. Avoid chowing down on a big meal right after your massage. If you are hungry, have some veggie snacks or a salad.
- Stay hydrated and drink plenty of water after your massage.
- Avoid stressful situations if at all possible.
This Article Contains So Much Information- It Can be Hard to Remember it All!
Bookmark This Page for Future Reference!
Even if you simply glanced over the information in this article, you can’t help but realize that massage therapy has so much more to offer than simply a relaxing “treat” to be enjoyed occasionally.
Choosing both chiropractic care and massage therapy enhances both your overall health and wellness by mixing the best of both worlds.
Don’t let yourself fall victim to the “massage is a luxury” train of thought. Chiropractic care and massage therapy are one of the best ways to be proactive about your health while preventing the possibility of future injuries. You don’t think twice about a dental checkup or even changing the oil on your car; massage therapy combined with chiropractic is not very different.
Make the decision today to treat your body with the care and respect it deserves. Schedule a massage and chiropractic appointment today.
Better Health Alaska offers highly trained health care professionals that can enhance the healing process if you are injured and keep you in the best possible health regardless of your age or physical condition.
Call us today for a consultation. We have 4 clinics to serve you. Don’t wait another day, call us and set up your appointment so you can start enjoying all the benefits that chiropractic care and massage therapy has to offer.
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Learn more about chiropractic!
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What is the Scope of Practice of Chiropractors?
What Do Chiropractors Do for Patients?
Does Chiropractic Work?
What Does a Chiropractor Do for Lower Back Pain?
Is It Safe to Visit a Chiropractor during Pregnancy?
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