The Surprising Benefits of Massage Therapy

It’s no secret that massage therapy can help alleviate back pain. But, there are several other benefits of massage of which you may not be aware. For instance, massage can lower blood pressure as well as help fight off illness. Receiving a massage can also help reduce the pain of arthritis.

For centuries the Chinese have used massage for a wide variety of ailments, but recently a professor of pediatrics discovered a new benefit because of her premature baby. Tiffany Field kept massaging her baby daughter and she found the results to be astounding. So much so, in fact, that she started the Touch Institute to help explore new ways that massage can help people

Massage can be extremely effective even when it’s applied to a part of the body that isn’t hurting. For instance, if a person is nervous about having someone touch his or her aching back, a shoulder massage can help, reducing a chemical that is related to pain. When individuals receive a massage, studies have shown that substance P decreased – which means that they are getting some relief from pain.

Immunity can be bolstered with massages. Studies have measured the stress hormone, cortisol, before and after massage sessions, and they found surprising decreases after – which is great news. The hormone kills cells that are important for immunity and it is created when a person is stressed or agitated. So, when a person receives a massage it will help kill that hormone in the body, which can help to avoid getting a cold or possible illness.

And lastly, a great deal of research suggests that massage can reduce hypertension. The vagus nerve determines blood pressure and in a recent study, hypertension patients who received ten massages over three weeks had significant blood pressure reduction.

Massage can also work as a preventive measure in other ways. A regular course of massage therapy is a beneficial treatment for maintaining and improving flexibility. Because it works on muscles, ligaments and joints, it can support flexibility by keeping joints filled with fluid, which will make them less injury-prone as a person ages.

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