Massage therapy is a popular form of alternative medicine. It is well known as a method of relaxation and stress-relief, but its benefits extend even further. Research has shown that the advantages of regular or occasional massage are numerous and significant. Massage is able to both improve a person’s general health, and supply a sense of personal well-being, among other effects.
The benefits of massage can roughly be divided into two categories: physiological and psychological. The physiological benefits are those that are purely physical, bodily improvements, while psychological refers to massage’s effects on mental or emotional states. The physiological effects of massage will be examined first.
Massage can be defined as the manipulation of muscular and connective tissue via the application of physical pressure. One of the primary benefits this action confers is pain relief. The pain relief that massage brings can positively affect various different types of discomfort. Many people have tension and knots in their muscles. Oftentimes, the person is not even fully aware of these muscular problems. A good massage (especially of the deep-tissue kind) will do wonders to break up these knots or ‘pressure points’. Pain relief and even improved muscle function will result from the alleviation of deep-lying tension.
Massage therapy is quite popular among athletes, from the high school to the professional level. This is because massage is effective in reducing muscle inflammation after exercise, and in improving muscular function. Massage will help disperse the soreness that follows an intense workout. It can also reduce joint stiffness and help to increase range of motion. The benefits that massage provides to elite athletes will also apply to the humble weekend warrior.
As mentioned, the value of massage lies in its psychological as well as its physiological advantages. One of the main psychological benefits of massage is the sense of well-being it provides. Massage can cause a peaceful, relaxed state in the recipient. Because of this, massage is valuable for those who are under a lot of pressure or stress. If you feel harried and mentally drained, massage will probably help you.
Massage alleviates mental pressure in large part because it is an act of pampering. When you get massage you are taking time out of your busy, hectic life to do something for yourself. For this reason alone, massage will make someone feel special and even loved. The human contact that is at the core of massage contributes to the feeling of well-being and happiness that all humans desire. The touch of another person, especially if done in an attentive, caring manner, will make anyone feel good. Even if massage brought no concrete physiological benefits at all, it would still be worth it for that sense of well-being.
Of course, the pain reduction and increased physical function associated with massage will, in fact, also contribute to a sense of well-being. Many of the physiological, bodily benefits already described will also have mental benefits. For example, reduction in muscular tension and pain may also dissipate anxiety and worry. In short, the physical benefits of massage will help your mind too.
It is for reasons like this that massage has its reputation as ‘holistic’ medicine. Holistic refers to considering something as an interconnected, complex whole, rather than a collection of disparate parts. Because massage brings benefits to both mind and body — and treats the two together — it is holistic. Although the term is sometimes used as a pejorative, it should not be considered as such in this context. Actually, the fact that massage treats the mental and the physical together — rather than artificially breaking them apart — is one of its foremost strengths.
Massage therapy is a valuable, useful endeavor. Massage’s benefits are myriad — it will be worthwhile to almost anyone. Many people avoid massages because they think the alleged benefits are hokum, and/or they believe that the benefits do not justify the cost. It should be clear that these concerns are not ultimately legitimate. Massage is effective in both physiological and psychological senses. If you would like to make an appointment for a beneficial massage, click here. Give it a try — you won’t regret it.