Massage Therapy: Why is it good for Stress and Pain?

Massage therapy provides a ton of health benefits, but possibly none more life-changing than the effect it has on stress and pain. This powerful tool is a great way to take control of your own health and avoid self-medicating with prescription drugs, alcohol, or other substances. There are tons of different types of massages and a wide variety of places that now offer this therapy as an alternative form of treatment, but all will provide similar health benefits – while reducing your stress and relieving your pain.

Stress relief

Stress is an important part of life – it keeps you motivated and on task, and keeps your reflexes sharp. The fight-or-flight response created by the adrenaline stimulating your heart rate and the boost to your blood sugar from increased cortisol plays an important role – but too much stress can cause your body to react in a very negative way. This can manifest through physical symptoms like upset stomach, chest pain, headaches, insomnia, and even elevated blood pressure. Increased stress can also worsen symptoms associated with certain conditions or diseases.

However, massage has the power to help your body deal with stress in a positive, healthy way. Just one session can be enough to make a significant impact on your heart rate, cortisol levels, and insulin levels – lowering them enough to take your body out of fight-or-flight mode and promote relaxation. While loosening your tense muscles, massage increases your body’s “feel good” chemicals – endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine – creating an all-over calming effect that can make any stress seem a much less pressing issue.
Pain relief

More than a quarter of Americans over the age of 20 have dealt with chronic pain that persists more than 24 hours – which has a huge impact on anyone’s quality of life and productivity at work. Unfortunately, most pain medications come with a host of unwanted and very unpleasant side effects, leading more and more people to turn to massage as a way to deal with ongoing pain issues.

Patients suffering from pain syndromes like arthritis and fibromyalgia have reported positive results from incorporating massage into their treatment program – noting that massage therapy resulted in an increased range of motion and quicker, easier movements. Grip strength and associated pain were diminished, and patients also showed lowered levels of anxiety and elevated moods. This makes sleep much easier, giving chronic pain sufferers more opportunity to heal and fight their pain in a more effective, efficient way.

Massage therapy, and the release of the “feel good” chemicals into the brain, can be a great way to treat pain and stress in a natural, healthy way. Living with chronic pain or ongoing stress is incredibly hard on sufferers, but by introducing the non-invasive, medication-free therapy of massage, patients can see benefits almost immediately.

However, keep in mind that massage is not a replacement for other types of medical care. If your stress or pain can’t be managed through medications or massage, you should see a health care professional to determine the specific cause of your condition and look at other alternative treatments.

Thank you to Jon Reyes who wrote this article. Jon is a guest author for Therapeutic Massage from Happysitewriter.com and is a respected and expert voice in a plethora of health related subjects with over 10 years of writing under his belt.

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5 health benefits to getting a massage

We want you to know the 5 Health Benefits of getting a regular massage!

massage

Massage therapy from a licensed practitioner can:

  • Lower stress
    The long-term effects of stress can take emotional and physical tolls. Massage therapy may relieve stress and conditions associated with it, such as tension headaches.
  • Increase immune function
    Medical research indicates that massage therapy can help boost immune system strength by increasing the activity level of the body’s natural “killer T cells,” which fight off viruses.
  • Boost mental health and wellness
    Research suggests that symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression (all associated with mental health) may be directly affected with massage therapy.
  • Manage pain
    Pain can negatively affect a person’s quality of life and impede recovery from illness or injury.Recent findings highlight the role of massage in pain management.
  • Improve physical fitness
    Elite and recreational athletes alike can benefit from massage therapy-massage can reduce muscle tension, improve exercise performance and prevent injuries.

(source – American Massage Therapy Association)

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A Swedish Massage

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A Swedish Massage is the most common and best-known type of massage in the West. If it’s your first time or you don’t get massage very often, Swedish massage is going to be the best massage for you. If you desire deeper work and can tolerate more pressure, even momentary discomfort, to get relief from muscle pain, it’s better to book a deep tissue massage. Deep Tissue is just another form of Swedish massage.

Swedish massage is based on the Western concepts of anatomy and physiology as opposed to energy work that is more common in Asian-style massage. Both Swedish massage and physical therapy were pioneered by a Swedish physiologist, Per Henrik Ling (1776-1839)at the University of Stockholm.

Swedish massage techniques include circular pressure applied by the hands and palms, firm kneading, percussion-like tapping, bending and stretching. Before and during your Swedish massage session, communication is encouraged with your professional massage therapist so that your massage is customized to your specific needs.

Before the massage, the therapist should ask you about any injuries or other conditions that he or she should know about. Things you would want tell a therapist include areas of tightness or pain, allergies, and conditions like pregnancy. You can also tell them up front if you have a preference for light or firm pressure. It’s best not to get a massage if you are ill.