Massage is not a simple indulgent treat, it is a hugely beneficial and scientifically-proven health tonic. It has been practiced for thousands of years and its effects has been well documented telling us clearly that it is good for us. Even single massage session will give you great therapeutic benefits. Regular practice will make you healthier, happier and calmer.
The Importance of Touch
One of the definitions of touch is ‘to make physical contact, to affect emotionally’. Newborn babies depend on touch to survive. The quality of touch we receive as we grow up has a great impact on the levels of our self-esteem, our ability to to build lasting relationships with others and our capacity to be comfortable with ourselves, both physically and mentally.
Massage for Stress Relief
A session of massage is much more than a way to relax. According to research, the beneficial effect of some types of massage is much greater than simple relaxation. For example, a moderate pressure massage can decrease your heart rate. This was proved by a study conducted by researches of University of Miami School of Medicine. Here is the link to their official report. Any type of massage can reduce blood pressure (1), but according to Pacific College of Oriental Medicine Shiatsu massage seems to be particularly effective (2). In addition, massage decreases cortisol levels while boosting your serotonin and dopamine, also known as feel-good hormones (official report here). High levels of cortisol cause such serious health issues as
- deficits in cognitive performance,
- sluggish thyroid function (hypothyroidism),
- high blood sugar levels,
- decrease in muscle tissue,
- low immune system,
- increased abdominal fat.
Massage for Lower-back Pain
Got a lower-back ache? Have a massage! According to researchers at Group Health Research Institute and the University of Washington in Seattle, the Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, and the University of Vermont in Burlington massage is more effective for relieving back pain than most common treatments, including chiropractic and acupuncture (3).
Massage to Boost Immunity
According to a preliminary study conducted by researchers from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, a single 45-minute Swedish massage produces noticeable biological changes and is likely to have a positive effect on immune system. They found that the Swedish massage caused significant decreases in vasopressin, a hormone that is responsible for aggressive behavior, slightly decreases cortisol and increases levels of lymphocytes, cells that help your immune system protect the body from harmful substances (4).