Back in the day, massage therapists could only be found in posh spas and health clubs. However, a lot has changed over the few decades and considering the countless benefits of massage for one’s health and well-being, massage centers have also paved their way to resorts, hotels, workplaces, airports, and clinics. Massages have almost become a necessity for a healthier lifestyle, therefore, modern technology has allowed individuals to get therapeutic treatment at the comfort of their homes. Take zero gravity shiatsu massage chair as an example. It makes your body feel weightless and comes equipped with a variety of premium features without you having to go to a massage therapist.
No matter which massage technique you opt for, there’s no denying how beneficial massage is for your physical as well as mental health. Before we consider the benefits in this article, let’s look at the basics and types of different massages first. Read on!
In This Article
What Is Massage and Its Types?
Massage is the rubbing and pressing of one’s tendons, muscles, ligaments, and skin in order to generate feelings of calmness and relaxation, along with other health benefits.
Massage therapy has helped with symptoms of different conditions like fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, chronic pain syndrome, depression, and anxiety.
The different types of massage are:
- Swedish massage – It is a more focus-based massage and involves long strokes, deep kneading, and vibration.
- Deep massage – This massage technique involves slower movements yet forceful strokes in order to target the damaged muscles deep in the body.
- Sports massage – Although it is quite similar to Swedish massage, it is geared towards sportsmen to prevent or heal injuries.
- Trigger point massage – This massage type helps with muscle knots or tight muscles due to an injury or overuse.
- Prenatal massage – Pregnant women who suffer from joint and muscle pain and feelings of anxiety can get help from this kind of massage.
- Shiatsu – This massage is based on a traditional massage therapy used in Japan. It uses acupressure to release tension and bring the body into balance. It will help lift your mood and relax you.
It’s important to be familiar with the different kinds of massages as every kind works differently for an individual with a specific ailment. Therefore, a massage therapist will ask about your medical history and what you want to get out of the massage sessions. This will allow them to focus on your problematic areas accordingly for better results.
Benefits of Massage for Health and Well-Being
Patients who are diagnosed with a certain kind of medical condition are often prescribed massage therapy along with the standard treatment in order to ease and quicken up the healing process.
Some of the many benefits that massage has to offer are listed below.
Helps with Chronic Pain
Patients with chronic pain tend to have many problems with mobility and even living a normal, healthy life. This pain also affects deep, restorative sleep required for exceptional cognitive abilities.
Therefore, massage can help such individuals to lead a better life while coping with the symptoms of chronic pain syndrome. With the movement and vibrations caused by massage, the neurotransmitters that deliver “pain information” to the brain are blocked.
Whereas, feelings of calmness that are stimulated by massage take over the pain gates of the brain. This allows the patients to deal with the pain more efficiently and effectively.
Relieves Anxiety and Depression
People who suffer from anxiety and depression are usually more stressed than a normal, healthy brain due to the high levels of stress hormones in their body called cortisol.
As massage slows down the electrical activity in your brain, therefore, slowing down the nervous system, it also slows down your heart rate and lowers blood pressure.
Along with this, it also relaxes the pain receptors under your skin. As a result, happy hormones such as dopamine and serotonin increase in your body, whereas, level of stress hormones significantly drop.
Moreover, professional massage therapists also create a soothing environment such as dimmed lighting, relaxing aromas, and slow music to enhance the feelings of calmness along with the massage itself.
All of this allows individuals to calm down their anxiety and cope in a better way with their depression without having a major, adverse impact on their life.
Helps with Deep, Healthy Sleep
Pain or restlessness can prevent you from getting a healthy quantity and quality of sleep at nighttime. Whether you give yourself a massage using a tennis ball or textured massage rollers, or you ask someone to massage your pain areas while you’re in bed, it can block the neurotransmitters for the pain. This will ensure you don’t have to go through countless tosses and turns.
Sleep has a major impact on one’s daily life, and healthy sleep can allow your immune system to work more efficiently and even help you make better, informed decisions related to work and life.
Not being able to focus on daily activities in your life or even at work can be quite frustrating. However, massage can drastically improve your ability to focus and influence your life in a more positive way.
One of the major reasons for the lack of focus is an elevated heart rate. Massage helps you boost focus by calming your nervous system, which also lowers your heart rate.
This way, you can stay focused and vigilant in the everyday life activities.
Soothes Muscles after a Heavy Workout
If you go to the gym, you know how deadly leg days can be. Even if you’re a first-timer, and you successfully pull off your first gym session, you may not be able to move properly the next day as your muscles become extremely sore and stiff.
Massage therapy helps with the inflammation within the muscles and allows for smooth blood circulation. This helps you to not miss even a single workout day required for a healthy lifestyle.
Suffering from a severe injury or joint pain can restrict smooth blood flow in the body and if it’s not treated properly, it can lead to several other health problems down the line.
Massage therapy helps you to take out the muscle knots and allow undisrupted blood circulation to heal current injuries and prevent furthermore from happening.
However, it’s essential to keep in mind that you need to go to a licensed and expert massage therapist, as you don’t want to cause more damage to already-injured soft tissues.
A professional massage therapist will know how to treat your concern specifically and properly and will tailor the massage techniques according to your needs.