• Rebecca Watts

Anyone for Massage?

"Im going to treat myself to a massage this week"

Massage, for most, is always seen as a luxury, but with the health and wellbeing benefits is it time we change our perception and start making it a routine part of our life?

For many, spending our time and money on exercise and diet, whether this be diet clubs, plans or just healthier foods, is seen as essential for health.

Here is why you should add a regular massage into your health routine and lifestyle.

The Benefits of Massage

The benefits of massage can vary from person to person and the type of massage received, but the positive effects on general health and mental wellbeing are impressive.

Although not conclusive here is a list of benfits to get you thinking...

Improved Circulation - massage boosts blood flow and is becoming more popular as a complimentary therapy for circulation problems and conditions.

Reduces Stress - everyday life can be hectic and stressful, but did you know that massage has been shown to reduce cortisol - the so called stress hormone. It can also be a great way to relax and help you manage the stress in your life.

Relieve Muscular Strain and Tension - strain and tension in our muscles can be caused from everyday stresses, over work, repetition... one of the obvious benefits of massage is the relief of muscle tension.

Eases Pain - just about every culture through time as used some form of massage to help alleviate pain. Massage is said to help with pain through a number of ways - blood flow, reduce tension in muscles, triggering natural pain killers, and changes in the way the brain sense pain. By improving muscle tone and balance, massage can also relieve stress on joints and bones.

Helps Prevent Injuries - massage, in particular sports massage can help prevent injuries by breaking down scar tissue, increasing bloodflow, reducing tension and stiffness, reduce muscle imbalances, and encourages the healing of damaged fibres.

Enhance Sports Performance - regular massage may help sports performance by increasing blood flow, reducing pain and muscle tension, improving mobility and range of movement, correcting muscle imbalances, aiding quicker recovery and reducing ongoing injuries and weaknesses

Rehabilitation - sports massage therapists in particular have specific injury knowledge to enable the treatment and rehabilitation of injuries, aiding the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to cells, breaking down scar tissue and adhesions, increasing range of movement, encouraging fibre replenishment and repair, assisting the healing process for quicker recover from injury.

Better Sleep - sleep is where most of our magic happens - we recover and repair and balance our hormones and is vital for good health, so getting enough of it is important. Massage can help relax your mind and body by releasing tension and stress, encouraging circulation and inducing a relaxed state and more undisturbed sleep.

Help Exercise Recovery - Massage has be shown to reduce muscle soreness if delivered with a few hours of activity and is also said to have a positive effect on an individuals perception of muscle soreness.

Helps Anxiety - massage has been shown to have a positive effect on anxiety symptoms thus more people are turning to it as an alternative or complimentary treatment.

Boosts your Mood - its not your imagination, a good massage does make you feel better generally. Massage has been shown to reduce the stress hormone cortisol and increase the more happier hormones dopamine and serotonin. Massage has been shown to have a positive effect on those that suffer with depression.

Counteracts our Day Sitting - in todays society much of our daily life is spent sitting which is not good for our body and in particular our posture. Massage can help counteract too much sitting by helping to correct muscular imbalances, releasing tighter muscles, strengthening weaker muscles and working on trigger points, all often caused by our sitting position.

Boosts Immune - studies have shown an increase in white blood cells post massage. White blood cells are known as your immunity cells that help you body fights off infection and other foreign invaders.

Increases Range of Movement & Mobility - muscle tightness, weaknesses, repetition, inflammation, restricted fascia and injuries can all contribute to restricted mobility and our range of joint movement. By benefitting all of these symptoms, massage and stretching techniques can help increase range of movement and the general mobility of our body.

Energizes You - we all know that massage can relax you and make you feel sleepy and sometimes a little groggy but by getting your blood pumping, stimulating nerve endings, encouraging better sleep and reducing stress and tension, massage can also give you more energy.

Relaxation - its already be mentioned how massage can relax muscles, and help enduce better sleep but massage also has a great effect on relaxing our minds. Which for many with hectic lives can often be hard to do. take some time for yourself to relax and unwind.

Helps with Digestion - massage, in particular abdominal massage can help improve digestion through stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system which promotes relaxation and better digestion, it is also said to have a positive effect on the mind - gut connection.

How often?

As you can see the benefits of massage are remarkable and this list isnt everything. The question im often asked is how often should i get a massage to feel the benefits??

What that depends on your aims, reasons, your activity levels, your lifestyle, etc. For example, if you regularly participate in exercise, sit at a desk all day and suffer back ache, have a stressful job then you should include regular massage to help. If you have a specific problem you may need a couple of massages together to work out the problem. You should also consider the type of massage, some massages need time to recover and repair, other massages are more relaxing that you could have every day if you wished. Probably more important when deciding how often will be your budget. Not many of us can afford a massage every week, but if you can then do it - you will definitely feel the benefits. For most every 4-8 weeks for a good massage and the occasionally in between if a problem arises should help promote the many health benfits you can receive from regualr massage.