3 Powerful Effects Of Massage Therapy
Buddha said that “to keep the body in good health is a duty, otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.”
We should listen to Buddha on this one, don’t you agree? Our bodies go through relentless daily stress, and we often ignore the messages of pain and fatigue until it’s too late.
One of the ways we can honor the body is through massage therapy. Getting regular massages is known to improve sleep, relieve headaches, depression and anxiety while boosting immunity and easing muscle pains. A good massage could be just what the doctor ordered – good for the body, good for the mind.
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“Everyone Deserves a Massage Week”
For the past 21 years, massage therapists from around the country have donated their services for a full week during the month of July for an event appropriately titled “Everyone Deserves a Massage Week.” If you’ve never treated yourself to a massage, this is your week!
The celebration is designed to give massage newbies, or those who can’t afford it, a chance to experience bodywork. It’s also a way for massage therapists to give back to their community and raise awareness about the benefits of massage.
Receiving a massage is a poignant reminder to slow down and tune into the body that works so hard for you. Here are some physical and mental conditions in which massage therapy could bring you to a happier place:
There are many physical and mental techniques to reduce stress, anxiety and depression. Massage is one way to release the physical strains on the body, but it’s also good for the mind. Often clients who are getting treatment for physical pain are simultaneously experiencing depression and anxiety. Over the course of a year, 18% of people in our country will experience diagnosable anxiety and 6.7% will experience depression – both are common mental health challenges.
Patient-centered care involves treating cancer with more than chemotherapy alone. Researchers at the University of Miami followed 37 breast cancer patients who either received massage therapy or practiced progressive muscle relaxation for five weeks. Those in the massage group reported feeling less depressed and angry, and more energetic.
Lymphatic massage is a technique developed in Germany for treatment of lymphedema, an accumulation of fluid that can occur after lymph nodes are removed during surgery, most often a mastectomy for breast cancer.
Another study by the International Journal of Neuroscience followed a group with spinal cord injuries who were also suffering from depression. Twice a week for five weeks, half the patients received two 40-minute sessions of motion exercises while the other half received two 40-minute massages. Both groups improved their physical abilities, but not surprisingly, the massage group became less depressed.
Massage allows the body to let go of stress. The muscles and tissues release on an emotional level in much the same way they release physical tension. This explains why laughing or crying is a rather common response during a massage.
Not getting enough sleep is frustrating to say the least and can lead to all sort of problems, including reduced cognitive functioning and depression. Massage therapy can make a significant difference. It’s worth a shot and beats taking prescription meds.
Massage is known to promote relaxation and encourage restful sleep in those undergoing chemo or radiation therapy, says Lisa Marie de Miranda, registered massage therapist and kinesiologist at Paleolife Massage Therapy.
If a bout of insomnia brings on a tension headache, try booking a last-minute massage.
“Massage decreases frequency and severity of tension headaches,” de Miranda says.
Massage isn’t meant to replace medical care, so be sure to let your doctor know if you’re going to massage sessions. The benefits of massage for specific conditions are numerous. Plus, some people just need that human touch because it makes them feel connected and comforted. What I wouldn’t give to lay on a table in a peaceful room for an hour to receive a therapeutic massage about now.
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