Massage has been used as therapy since ancient times. In 3000 BCE, it was considered a scary system that could cause natural healing to wounds and injuries. It was commonly used by Hindus in Ayurveda. And later on, this practice passed through generations to prevent and relieve pain, cure illness and heal injuries. See 10 Benefits of Massage.
This massage practice gained popularity in the 1800s when the names “masseur” and “masseuse” became popular. And at that time, messages were only available at health clubs or luxury spas. But today, massage therapy is being offered in clinics, hospitals, businesses, and even airports.
What is Massage?
Massage is used to press and rub one’s skin, muscles, ligaments, and tendons. The field of massage is so broad it can range from light stroking to deep pressure. There are many different types of massages. Some of the most common are:
- Swedish massage: This is a gentle massage that contains kneading, deep, circular movements, tapping, vibration, and long strokes. This massage makes you feel energetic and relaxed.
- Deep massage: This massage targets the deep layers of muscles and tissue with the help of slower and more forceful strokes. This massage is mainly used for the damaged muscle in case of injury.
- Sports massage: this massage is similar to Swedish massage but it is mainly given to people involved in sports activities as this massage can help treat injuries.
- Trigger point massage: This massage focuses on the specific area of tight muscle fiber formed in muscles due to injuries or overuse.
Massage makes you relax and energized, but it also has a lot of benefits for people with medical conditions. Massaging your head will help manage headaches, and gently kneading your stomach can reduce stomach aches. Similarly, there is a different message for every medical condition. Which can make you feel better and will improve your health.
1 Relieve Stress:
Massage therapy can be very effective in reducing stress. Stress is a prevalent component that can harm a person’s health and well-being. As stress can be the cause of risk factors for some major diseases like high blood pressure, stroke, and heart attack.
Massage therapy is very effective in reducing that stress. And the massage therapist knows from their experience that it can reduce stress. There are also many studies present which can validate that experience.
For example, according to one study (Delaney, 2002), the 10-15 minutes chair massage sessions experienced a significant reduction in heart rate, systolic blood pressure, and diastolic blood pressure. And after measuring the psychological states, their stress scale and anxiety state scale were also decreased.
2 Help in Reducing Fibromyalgia Pain:
Fibromyalgia syndrome has a group of signs and symptoms, including chronic pain in tendons, ligaments, soft tissues, and muscles. It is a collection of diseases that goes hand in hand. As Fibromyalgia is related to other diseases like irritable bowel syndrome, sleep disorder, headache, and chronic fatigue syndrome.
Massage therapy can be very beneficial for those suffering from this medical condition. In fact, there are a lot of people who use it to reduce symptoms of fibromyalgia syndrome.
A survey (NIAMS, January) was conducted with those who have Fibromyalgia syndrome. In that survey, the researchers found that 44% of those surveyed chose a massage therapy to treat their disease. Studies (Barbour, 2000) have found that up to 91% of people with Fibromyalgia use some form of CAM, and 75% use massage therapy.
3 Can Reduce Muscle Tension:
There are millions of people in the world who participate in sports and exercise, from professional athletes to a person who just started a walking program for his general health and fitness. Exercise is recommended to everyone.
The U.S. government provided the physical activity guidelines in 2008, which provided the basic recommendations. According to these recommendations, physical activity is important for everyone, from children to adults and older.
And sports massage was also included for the individuals in high-intensity exercises or professional and collegiate athletes. As high-intensity workouts can cause muscle tension sometimes, which can be painful if not treated.
Sports massage can be very helpful in improving athletic performance. Most athletes contract with a massage therapist to quickly get a massage to relax their muscles whenever needed. Sports massage has been used for many years by athletes and professionals.
4 Can Reduce Arthritis:
Arthritis is a common medical condition that affects the hips, hands, knees, and spine. It can cause pain, swelling, and stiffness in joints. Millions of adults over the age of 50 are suffering from this disease. But massage can be beneficial in reducing the pain and swelling of joints.
Research has shown that a 60 minutes session of Swedish massage session once a week can be very helpful for those with osteoarthritis, a type of arthritis that breaks down the slippery tissue covering the end of bones and causes pain and swelling. Swedish massage has shown to be effective for the pain and swelling of the knee.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a second common type of arthritis that damages the joint’s lining and causes stiffness, pain, and swelling. Massage has also been found effective in treating rheumatoid arthritis. Regular massage can decrease pain and improve grip strength in the wrist and upper joints of people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.
5 Improve Cardiovascular Health:
Many people think that massage can only help in relaxing their massage, but it can do way more than that. Working with a professional and qualified therapist can play an important role in improving cardiovascular health. Various researches show the relation between massage and improved cardiovascular health.
For example, according to one study of women (M, 2013), massage therapy can be beneficial in controlling high blood pressure in hypertensive women.
Researchers noticed an immediate drop in blood pressure which lasts for 72 hours after the massage. Another study (Supa’At, 2013) has the same findings: women who received Swedish massage regularly for four weeks had lower blood pressure compared to those who didn’t have a massage.
This high blood pressure can be a risk of many cardiovascular diseases like stroke, heart attack, and increased heart rate. Massage can help in reducing the risk of all of these cardiovascular diseases by managing blood pressure.
6 Can Provide Benefits During Pregnancy:
Pregnancy is thought of as a nine-month of full joy and memories, but in physical reality holding another human being and letting him grow inside can be very challenging. But these challenges can be overcome with the help of massage therapist experience.
There are a lot of women who feel depressed during pregnancy, and massage can help in reducing that stress. Some types of massages have also been very effective in treating vomiting and nausea during pregnancy as they improve digestion. There are many benefits that pregnant women can get through massage:
- Reducing back and leg pain
- Easing insomnia
- Improving mood
- reducing depression
- Reducing labor pain during childbirth
Not only for pregnant women but massage therapy has also shown to play an important role in newborn health. Several clinical trials have shown that women who take massage during pregnancy had cortisol levels and fewer chances of prematurity and low birth weight.
7 Can Improve Sleep:
Proper sleep is very important for overall health and well-being. Lack of sleep can cause a risk of some severe health conditions like diabetes, depression, and obesity. Lack of sleep can be linked with all of these diseases and also affect the management and outcomes of these.
Moreover, lack of sleep not only causes some serious diseases but can also cause injuries due to motor vehicle crashes. Drowsy driving can lead to accidents. According to an estimate (Medicine, 2006), almost 50-70 million people in America have health issues that are related to their sleep.
Massage can provide benefits. As there are many types of massages that can provide relaxation and reduce stress which makes your mind peaceful and improves your sleep. Most people like to have a massage in the evening after their hectic day, which helps them sleep better.
8 Improve Balance in Older Adults:
People got older with time, and the natural process of aging continues to change them both mentally and physically. Skin wrinkled and sagged, it tears easily but heals slowly. Muscle and bone mass start to decrease, and strength and flexibility reduce, increasing the risk of diseases like osteoarthritis.
Regular massage can be very effective in reducing the symptoms of aging. Like Swedish massage can reduce the pain and swelling of muscles which is common with older age. Moreover, deep massage can also help in relaxing the muscles.
Regular massage can also reduce skin wrinkles as it keeps your skin tight and makes you look younger. Therefore, most spas and salons have separate massage rooms as well. Where different types of massages are given to the clients for their muscles relaxation and good skin health.
9 Can Reduce the Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease:
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 5 million people are currently suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. And it is the seventh leading cause of death in adults. And within the increasing population, it is estimated that almost 16 million people will be suffering from this disease in 2050. It has been said that
“In the next 25 years, there will be two kinds of people: those who have Alzheimer’s disease and those who are taking care of one with Alzheimer’s disease,” says Ann Catlin.
Massage therapy can offer a lot of benefits to people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. As massage reduces the feeling of anxiety and confusion and helps calm agitation. Massage therapy has also been shown to ease the effect of loneliness and boredom while encouraging the feeling of well-being.
A study (Remington, 2002) about the effect of hand massage and calming music on the behavior of a person suffering from dementia found out that both the music and massage help reduce verbal agitation, which lasted for one hour after the therapy.
Another study (al, 1995) conducted by Snyder et al. examined the effect of massage on care activities and its link with agitation behaviors. In this study, both aggressive and non-aggressive agitation were studied. His massage therapy was only for five minutes and performed twice a day, in the morning and the afternoon, for 10 days. The study found a significant decrease in the intensity of agitated behavior in the morning.
10 Help in Reducing Migraine Pain:
Migraine can be exceedingly hurtful; this pain is so severe that it can disturb both the personal and professional life of one suffering from it. Whether a migraine hits regularly or once in a while, finding relief is the top priority. And massage therapy can be very effective for this.
Massage therapy has been shown significantly in reducing pain for people suffering from migraine. According to a study (Chateau, 2017) conducted to determine the effect of massage as a treatment for migraine.
Half of the participants received a 30-minutes traditional massage twice a day for almost five weeks. The heart rate, cortisol level, and anxiety level of each participant were measured before and after the massage session.
The study found a significant decrease in migraine attacks of the participants in the massage group. The Heart rate and anxiety level of the massage group were also lower as compared to those who didn’t receive massage.
Massage therapy has been used for medical purposes for thousands of years because of its a lot of health benefits. There are many different types of massages.
And each massage has its specific purpose. For example, Swedish massage tends to keep you relaxed and reduce anxiety levels through soft movements and vibrations, and sports massage contains long strokes and deep circulation, which is given to professional athletes for treating injuries.
Massage therapy has also been shown to be very effective in reducing the risk of certain diseases like cardiovascular diseases, Fibromyalgia syndrome, depression, insomnia, and migraine.
But the effectiveness of massage depends upon the type of massage you are receiving. So always consult professional issues and talk about your medical conditions. So that you can get the right message according to your body.
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