If your neck and back muscles are all knotted up from stress and overuse, it’s no surprise that a massage can make you feel a whole lot better. However, the health benefits of touch extend beyond simply soothing aches and pains. In fact, massage has been used since ancient times to relieve pain and promote healing.
The use of massage therapy dates back thousands of years to ancient Chinese and Egyptian cultures that believed in its medical benefits. Egyptian tomb paintings from 2500 BCE show that massage therapy was part of their medical customs.
There are many different types of massage and each of them can benefit your health. The most popular are:
- SWEDISH MASSAGE: The primary goal of the Swedish massage technique is to relax the entire body. This is accomplished by rubbing the muscles with long gliding strokes in the direction of the heart.
- TRIGGER POINT THERAPY: A trigger point is a tight area within muscle tissue that causes pain in other parts of the body. With trigger point therapy, direct pressure is applied to specified points on tender muscle tissue to reduce pain and soften the affected muscle tissue.
- DEEP TISSUE MASSAGE: With deep tissue massage, firm pressure and slow, short strokes are used to focus on the deepest layers of muscle tissue. It’s especially helpful for low back tightness and sore shoulders.
While massage is becoming a treatment approach which is growing in demand and popularity, it is not typically considered a replacement for other types of medical care. However, it can be beneficial when used along with other methods of treatment such as chiropractic care.
A NATURAL PAIN RELIEVER
Massage relieves pain by reducing muscle tension and by also promoting the release of natural pain-relieving chemicals in the brain.
Long-term mental stress produces a hormone called cortisol which can increase anxiety and depression. Manipulation of the muscles through massage can help increase relaxation and improve a person’s overall mood.
Regular massage sessions have been found to improve sleep quality. A massage triggers the release of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that can help you feel calm.
Improved circulation is a long-term benefit of massage therapy. It brings damaged, stiff, and tense muscles the rich blood supply they need to promote healing. A person who receives massage therapy on a regular basis not only will experience alleviated muscle soreness but an improved blood flow to the organs.
Massage can help migraine sufferers reduce the frequency of attacks. It relieves tension that is held in the muscles of the head, shoulders, and neck. When muscle tension eases, there is less pressure on the nerves and blood vessels that supply them.
Massage therapy offers a drug-free, non-invasive approach to wellness based on the body’s natural ability to heal itself. It involves hands-on techniques to increase circulation, relieve tension and promote relaxation throughout the entire body, as well as many other benefits.