When you look into the future, you imagine the best version of yourself.
Like everyone else, you hope to be happy, successful and fulfilled by achieving the goals you set for yourself.
To get to this place, you need to take care of yourself. You need to maintain good physical and mental health, strength, positivity and determination.
No matter what your goals are, whether you want to achieve more at work, have more energy to pursue your interests, or just feel better about yourself, massage can help, but how?
Massage for wellness
Many people tend to assume getting a regular massage could be for one of two reasons: as a way of pampering the body during a lazy day at the spa; or for an athlete to recover from injury and to prime his or her body for competition.
Both of these are good reasons to get a massage, but in actual fact, regular massage can and should benefit everyone.
In many cultures across the world, massage therapy is an integral part of everyday culture. This is because it offers wide-ranging health benefits, both physical and mental, that serve to complement a holistic wellness routine.
There are many popular types of massage: from gentle Japanese shiatsu massage, to oil-based ayurvedic massage from India, to firmer Swedish massages.
Despite the many variations, different massage types share one thing in common: the use of touch to invigorate and to stimulate wellness.
Here are 5 ways massage can improve your wellbeing:
1. It reduces everyday aches and pains
Many of us suffer from regular pain. This could be anything from an occasional niggling pain in our back or shoulder to daily chronic pain.
Aches and pains can make even everyday tasks a huge challenge.
If you are suffering regularly or severely from pain, being productive becomes nearly impossible. Aside from the pain, trying to work through it every day can be incredibly frustrating. You may also be conscious of taking more pain medication than you would like.
Massage, particularly sports and remedial massage, can help to relieve pain by treating the pain source and cause. A sports and remedial massage therapist has a mastery of the musculoskeletal system and will be fully-qualified to pinpoint problems and provide treatment.
2. Helps improve sleep
You know that after a bad night of sleep, you are not at your best. You may find yourself to be irritable and impatient, unable to concentrate fully, or you may lack the stamina it takes to make the most of your day.
A good night’s sleep is essential for everyone, and massage can help you get it.
Often, the root cause of poor sleep is a form of anxiety. If you have something important you need to accomplish, your worries related to this may be affecting your sleep, just when you need a good night of shut-eye the most.
Regular massage is proven to reduce anxiety and to benefit sleep. It works by lowering blood pressure and heart rate to help the body achieve greater relaxation.
Massage also releases serotonin into the body. This substance is often referred to as the “happy hormone.” It is also the precursor of melatonin, the sleep hormone.
Your more relaxed body should be able to fall asleep faster, and there should be less chance you’ll awaken in the middle of the night feeling anxious.
3. Boosts positivity and reduces clinical depression
Aside from the physical benefits, massage has amazing psychological effects, too.
This is because the act of manipulating soft tissues releases feel-good chemicals into the bloodstream, such as endorphins and serotonin. This results in more positive thoughts and feelings.
Researchers who studied the effects of regular massage on a group of breast cancer patients found that their patients “reported being less depressed and less angry and having more vigor.”
Massage can be a great aid to finding a more positive outlook.
4. Keeps everyday ailments away
It is very common for adults to have several bouts with coughs or colds per year.
When this happens you definitely are not at your best: it’s hard to get much done at all when you’re constantly reaching for the tissues, sniffing and sometimes suffer from coughing fits. It can be quite a miserable time.
Since popular wisdom says that prevention is better than cure, aside from eating nutritious foods and practicing good hygiene, you may want to add massage to your wellness routine so you do not get quite so many colds.
Massage therapy has been proven to increase the activity level of white blood cells. These cells are an integral part of the body’s immune system so the more active they are, the more defensive against viruses your body can be.
5. Prevents injury and helps with recovery
Many of people have quite physical jobs that may involve lifting, stretching, carrying or walking long distances. In roles like these, injury is not uncommon and can occasionally affect a person’s ability to work for some time.
Injury is generally caused by two things:
- By performing an unusual movement beyond the capabilities of the body that damages soft tissue.
- By repeating a movement that eventually also damages the tissue.
Those of us who have less physical jobs and are office-based still have to worry about repetitive strain injuries (RSI) from making the same movements over and over again whilst sitting at our computer.
Deep tissue massage treatments can help in three ways:
- They can help you recover quickly from work-related injuries.
- They can address long-standing injuries you’ve never fully recovered from.
- They can help prevent them from cropping up.
With any kind of injury, massage helps in the recovery process in the following ways:
- It stimulates blood circulation which means more of the oxygen needed for recovery can get to the injury site, and more waste products can be removed.
- Massage can help relieve tension, which improves flexibility and strength in the injured area, and helps reduce pain.
Massage can also help loosen, stretch and strengthen muscles as a way of preventing injury. By making sure your body is primed for the kinds of movements it needs to make regularly, you are less likely to suffer from injury.
Integrate regular massage into your life
Massage can help prevent and treat so many of the irritations and obstacles that stop you from doing everything you want to do: aches and pains, minor injuries and ailments, sleep deprivation, unpleasant moods and a negative outlook.
Consider integrating regular massage into a plan to improve your overall physical and mental wellness, so that you can be the best you can be always.
Marc Innes is the Owner and Principal of the School of Natural Therapies, a training school for Massage & Holistic Therapies located in London. Marc began his career in the NHS, working in a number of managerial and training roles within the Ambulance Service in London. He spent much of that time educating and coaching medical staff. Over time, he developed an interest in all things complementary to Allopathic Medicine, in particular, Reiki Healing and EFT, which culminated in running a successful teaching and ‘energy healing’ practice. Marc is passionate about the massage and complementary therapy industry.