Many people believe that going to a massage therapist is just a way to pamper or indulge yourself. This is why so many of us wait to have one.
We treat it as a way to reward ourselves for special occasions, like birthdays or vacations. The truth is, the benefits of receiving a therapeutic massage run much deeper than the superficial feeling good.
The art of massage for healing and relaxation dates back many thousands of years. The Chinese, Indians, Ancient Greeks, and Romans all practiced it extensively as a vital component to their healing and health regimes.
There are endless positive benefits to receiving a massage, but here are just a few:
1. Receiving a massage can alleviate chronic pain.
This may seem obvious, but there are many people out there who live with chronic back, shoulder and neck issues. Massages can reduce the causes of this pain, which can be a healthier and more holistic approach than reaching for synthetic drugs or other forms of pain relief.
2. Massages promote better sleep.
Many people struggle with falling asleep or staying asleep. When we get a massage, it not only reduces tension in the muscles, but it can also change our hormone levels in such a way that allows for more profound relaxation to arise. Massage therapy has been linked to increased delta waves in the brain, which are connected to deeper, more restful sleep.
3. Massage therapy may relieve mild depression.
Massage therapy has been touted for releasing the tension, stress and anxiety that is often accompanied with mild depression. It’s believed that receiving physical touch can change our bio-chemisty and lower our cortisol levels, our bodies stress hormone. If our cortisol levels are too high on a regular basis it can lead to all kinds of imbalance in our system, including feelings of depression. Massage therapy can be a beautiful, natural way to regulate these hormones levels thus creating a more relaxed, improved state in our overall mental and physical wellbeing.
4. Getting a massage is a great way to boost your immunity.
When we’re stressed and anxious all the time, it’s harder for our bodies to fight off and defend against the pathogens we’re exposed to every single day. Even a light, gentle touch can allow the lymphatic system to drain and release waste like bacteria and viruses from the body more efficiently, increasing our chances to fight off the germs we come in contact with as a part of our everyday lives.
5. Massages improves your digestion.
The major benefit of massage on the digestive system is the way it stimulates the movement of food through the digestive tract. However, it can also be used to help relieve bloating, constipation and even conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
You can even learn to self-massage so you can provide yourself with instant relief. When performed properly, self-massage is simple and incredibly effective.
So the next time you’re thinking about getting a massage, remember that the experience runs much deeper than just pampering yourself. Having a massage can be seen as a great tool for improving your overall health, and it’s a step in the direction for increasing your own capability to enhance and practice exceptional self care.Reprinted with permission from Organic Health