Prescription pampering: Learn the health benefits of massage therapy

Massage on the beachWhen you need to blow off a little steam, relax and unwind, you may head to the nearest spa for a massage.  We all know that getting a massage can help us reduce stress, anxiety and muscle tension, but did you know there are proven health benefits of massage therapy?

Massages were once thought of as an indulgent treat after a stressful workweek, or an alternative healing practice.  Now the benefits of massage therapy are showing up among respected medical studies.  Massage is increasingly being offered alongside standard treatment for a wide range of medical conditions and situations.

In fact, massage therapy can be helpful for:

  • Anxiety and depression
  • Blood pressure
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Sports-related injuries
  • PMS
  • Boosting immunity
  • Cancer treatment

Let’s take a look at some therapeutic massage therapy benefits and how they can help aid many common health issues.

Chicken soup, Vitamin C … and a massage?
It’s true.  Studies show that a full body massage can boost immune function.  Massages help boost your natural killer cells, white blood cells, which are your body’s first line of defense in fighting off infections.  A massage can also reduce the amount of the hormone cortisol in your body.  Cortisol releases when you experience high levels of stress, and it suppresses your immune system.  Less cortisol means a stronger immune system!

No more cloudy days
Massages have also been shown to help relieve depression.  A full body massage has been shown to lower the amounts of cortisol and boost the amounts of serotonin and dopamine in the body.  Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that relays signals from one area of the brain to another.  Dopamine, another neurotransmitter, controls the brains reward and pleasure center.  When levels of serotonin and dopamine become unbalanced it can lead to depression.

Limber up
Massage therapy is already widely used for osteoarthritis.  Studies have shown patients with osteoarthritis who had a massage twice a week for four weeks, and then once a week for an additional four weeks, had less pain, stiffness and a better range of motion than patients who didn’t receive massages.

Despite the many benefits of massage therapy and new proven evidence, you should remember massage isn’t meant to replace your regular medical care or prescription medications.  Always let your doctor know if you have tried massage, and stick to your standard treatment plans for any medical condition you may have.   Also, always make sure you are seeing a licensed and trained massage therapist.  Just like any medical treatment, you must make sure it is practiced safely!

Do you think you might be interested in a career in Medical Massage Therapy?  Daymar College offers a Medical Massage Therapy program that can equip you with the knowledge and skills you need to perform various modalities of medical massage.  Contact Daymar College today to learn more about this program!

Sources:
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/massage/SA00082
http://www.cnn.com/2007/HEALTH/03/08/healthmag.massage
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304537904577277303049173934.html
http://www.cnn.com/2007/HEALTH/03/08/healthmag.massage

Comments

I can't express how important it is to have a regular 'Therapeutic' massage. It's not only pampering but helps termendously for chronic problems.