If you take advantage of regular visits to a registered massage therapist then you already know that the benefits of massage therapy abound. Massage therapy is a drug-free, natural way to promote overall health. In addition to soothing sore muscles and encouraging relaxation, registered massage therapy provides a number of benefits, some of which may surprise you.
Massage helps combat sleeplessness by producing serotonin, which the brain uses to help the body enter into sleep. Serotonin increases the production of melatonin, which helps circadian rhythms to reset.
Headaches are often triggered or exacerbated by stress and poor sleep. Massage therapy performed on a regular basis helps the body maintain an optimal level of relaxation and stress-relief, which reduces the chances of migraine attacks and tension headaches by relaxing muscle spasms and trigger points. By focusing on the neck, shoulders, and head, massage can decrease the pain and discomfort brought on by migraine or tension headaches.
Soothes Anxiety and Depression
Massage therapy can fight depression by lowering cortisol levels (stress hormone) by as much as 50%. When an individual experiences stress, the body produces unhealthy levels of cortisol, which in turn can contribute to weight gain, sleeplessness, digestive problems, and headaches. In addition to decreasing cortisol levels (ie – stress), massage therapy can also increase levels of serotonin and dopamine in the body, both of which are neurotransmitters that help stabilize mood.
Individuals who experience high levels of stress are more vulnerable to illness and injury. Studies have indicated that regular massage sessions not only help reduce stress, but can also boost the immune system’s cytotoxic capacity (activity level of the body’s natural “killer cells”) and enhance the body’s ability to deliver nourishment.
Eases Muscle Pain & Promotes Healing
Massage promotes circulation to injured muscles which increases nutrients and oxygen to the damaged tissues. This increased activity reduces stiffness and swelling in the muscles and joints, as well as increases flexibility to help reduce pain. In addition, this form of therapy also releases endorphins (pain-killing hormones), which boost the dopamine and serotonin levels in the body - hormones that promote healing, pain management, and feelings of euphoria.