Regularly scheduled massage therapy is one of the best practices for treating new and old pains and injuries, reducing stress, or generally improving your life. In using techniques such as deep tissue massage, traditional Swedish, or sports massage, your massage therapist can reduce pain, reduce blood pressure, remove scar tissue, relieve stress, and improve healing time. Let’s look at how each of those things can happen.
Decades of research have shown that massage has done wonders for patients with chronic pain (link to next blog Jan 21 2015). From migraines to lower back pain to old injuries, there are different massage techniques for different types of pain.
Studies have shown that massage has helped cancer patients reduce the perception of pain and anxiety during treatment. Other studies have shown that massage is more effective than cold pack treatments for headaches. Massage is also an effective pain relief treatment for surgical patients.
If you’re looking to slow your heart rate a bit, try scheduling a massage. A number of studies have shown that because of its ability to help direct blood flow and stimulate the release of toxins from the body, massage therapy is a wonderful way to reduce blood pressure and decrease heart rate. Many physicians recommend that patients with hypertension visit a massage therapist on a semi-regular basis to help control blood pressure.
Scar tissue can do more than just leave a physical mark on your skin. Over time, scar tissue in the muscles can restrict movement in your joints and muscles, and might even become painful.
Scar tissue is made up of adhesions, or strands of tissue that have clumped together in rope- or knot-like structures. Adhesions can form almost anywhere in the body, from the muscles to the organs. Over time, the adhesions can grow to incorporate more and more tissue. It’s best to get rid of adhesions as soon as possible, but even adhesions that have been forming for years can be tackled by massage therapy.
Through various massage therapy techniques, most commonly deep tissue or trigger point therapy, scar tissue can be broken down and restricted, painful areas can become loose and flexible.
One common reason that people seek out massage is to reduce stress. Not only does massage feel good, allowing for people to relax at the hands of their massage therapists, but there’s a science behind what makes massage so soothing!
Massage is known to reduce the occurrence of the stress hormone cortisol in the blood stream, while simultaneously increasing the presence of dopamine, a hormone associated with joy, and serotonin, a hormone known to counter the effects of anxiety and depression. In fact, several studies have shown that just 15 minutes of massage can measurably reduce stress levels. Imagine the benefits of a half hour massage, or a regular massage routine!
Research at McMaster’s University has demonstrated that even ten minutes of massage can help reduce inflammation and increase healing time.
The study was performed on eleven men who ‘pushed themselves to exhaustion’ on stationary bikes. After 2.5 hours of recovery time, massage therapists performed 10 minutes of deep tissue massage. Biopsied muscle tissue showed that inflammation was reduced, compared to a controlled sample of tissue that had not been massaged.
With all of these proven benefits, are you ready to schedule your massage session?