In the past, massage therapy may have been considered a luxury for the wealthy, or a purely pampering experience with no long-term benefits. Today, however, people know neither of these is true.
In fact, massage therapy is more than a brief relaxing break, and it can be found for reasonable prices nationwide. Just a few sessions offer benefits, with more benefits coming from long-term massage therapy.
Here are four things massage therapy can do for you.
“One third of Americans are living with extreme stress and nearly half of Americans (48 percent) believe that their stress has increased over the past five years,” according to the American Psychological Association.
Besides impacting enjoyment of daily life, this level of stress contributes to poor relationships, lost productivity and health problems.
The main source of this stress? Money and work, says the APA, neither of which can be eliminated with an easy solution. For treating the symptoms of stress, however, massage therapy offers relief.
“It’s increasingly being offered along with standard treatment for a wide range of medical conditions and situations,” according to the Mayo Clinic. “Studies of the benefits of massage demonstrate that it is an effective treatment for reducing stress, pain and muscle tension.”
Back pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide, according to a study in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases journal, with age being a major factor.
“Age has a pronounced effect on (the spine) and over time the back tends to curve forward resulting in an increasingly stooped posture,” according to Medical University of South Carolina.
Luckily, poor posture isn’t inevitable, and the pain associated with it can be alleviated by massage therapy.
Massage Envy, a nationwide wellness franchise providing massage and skin care services, believes that regular massages are an integral part of total body wellness.
“Massage can relax and loosen the muscles made sore by bad posture, allowing your body to position itself in its natural-and pain-free-posture,” Massage Envy says. “With ongoing massage, the muscles are loosened and relaxed. … This allows the body to position itself in a healthy and natural posture, therefore avoiding the movements and positions developed over time as a reaction to the pain.”
Encourage relaxation and recovery
With a culture that is constantly on-the-go, it’s difficult to find time to relax. However, relaxation is a crucial part of dealing with stress and daily pressures. Massage gives you the time to slow down.
The relaxation associated with massage can also improve healing and recovery rates, especially after sports related injuries.
“Used as a complement to traditional, Western medicine, massage can promote relaxation and reduce cancer symptoms or side effects of treatment,” National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine says. “It may help reduce swelling, fatigue, nausea, or depression, for example, or improve the function of your immune system.”
Your doctor can let you know whether massage would help with your specific sources of pain.
Relieve respiratory issues
Some people who report symptoms of anxiety and stress may manifest respiratory symptoms, including constricted or labored breathing. One reason for this is that the muscles around the rib cage and abdomen may have tightened, constricting air, according to Healthline.
Other sources of respiratory issues, like sinus problems, asthma, allergies and bronchitis, can also benefit from massage therapy according to Massage Envy Magazine. This is because chronically shortened or tight chest and upper body muscles will prevent normal breathing patterns. Optimal lung function requires full rib cage expansion and a fully opened chest area.
For more information about the benefits of massage therapy or to schedule an appointment with a massage therapist, call or visit a Massage Envy franchised location near you.