You may think of getting a massage as a luxury, but it can actually be a powerful healing tool. Massage not only helps to ease sore muscles and reduce tension, it can also help treat, and even prevent, illness. Here are just some of the physical and psychological health benefits of getting a full body massage.
Massage boosts your immunity
Massage not only feels great, it may also keep you from getting that cold or flu that’s been going around the office. According to a study by researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, people receiving a 45-minute massage had an increased number of lymphocytes – white blood cells that help your body fight off infection. Participants also had lowered levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Chronic stress can weaken your immune system. Massage combats this by reducing tension. Give your immune system a double shot of goodness with massage – more infection-fighting white blood cells and less cortisol.
Massage reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression
Massage has long been used for relaxation, but in addition to reducing stress, massage can also be used to help treat anxiety and depression. Massage not only lowers levels of cortisol, it also increases levels of serotonin and dopamine, two of our ‘feel good’ hormones. Both are important to feelings of well-being and regulating our mood. Serotonin helps us to feel calm and optimistic, dopamine helps increase motivation. And while massage probably won’t cure your anxiety or depression, it can help with ease symptoms such as tension, fatigue, muscle aches and joint pain.
Massage relieves headache pain
Tension and migraine headaches can be debilitating and difficult to treat. Massage offers a non-pharmacological alternative that may help reduce symptoms and frequency. Researchers at Granada University in Spain found that patients with chronic tension headaches improved within 24 hours after receiving a single 30-minute massage. There is also evidence that massage may help migraine sufferers. One study found participants receiving regular massages had more headache free days, better sleep and less pain.
Massage improves circulation
A 2014 study on the effects of massage after exercise found it not only soothes sore muscles, but also improves blood flow. But the benefits weren’t just for those who exercised. Massage improved vascular function regardless of the level of physical activity – and its effects were long lasting. The study participants had improved blood flow for up to several days after getting a massage.
Massage helps you sleep better
Numerous studies have shown that massage helps improve sleep for everyone from infants to the elderly. Massage not only helps you to relax, it also reduces pain, both of which are beneficial to getting a good night’s rest. Massage also helps improve sleep by increasing levels of serotonin. Serotonin is necessary for the production of melatonin, your body’s natural sleep inducer.
Massage lowers blood pressure
Studies have found that getting regular massages can help reduce blood pressure. By lowering blood pressure you also reduce your risk of stroke, heart disease, kidney failure and numerous other health conditions.
Massage makes a great gift
The benefits of massage go well beyond relaxation, from easing symptoms of chronic conditions to helping your body fight off infections.
Massage also makes a great gift. Instead of another pair of colourful socks, why not give your partner, friend or family member a massage as a special treat this Christmas. Book a 30-, 60- or 90-minute head and body massage at our spa for the ultimate in pampering.
Short on money for a professional? No worries. Go DIY-style. Home massage, including self-massage, offers many of the same health benefits. Try out our range of body oils and rubs for at-home indulgence and healing.
And don’t forget to treat yourself – give your body and mind a boost with a massage this holiday season.