THE TOTAL-BODY BENEFITS OF MASSAGE
Massage has become a go-to technique for everyday relaxation and long-term health. No longer resigned to the fringes of the health and wellness community, massage has established itself as a legitimate form of integrative medicine. It has evolved from a go-treat-yourself service into a standard treatment prescribed by physicians for everything from physical rehabilitation to anxiety disorder.
Quite simply, the word is out about the revitalizing effects of massage, and people want in. But why is this the case? What is it about the manipulation of things like skin, muscles, and tendons that has moved massage from the margin to the mainstream? And why is there a growing demand for at-home massage technology, including premium zero-gravity chairs?
The answers are many. Whether it’s Swedish, deep tissue, shiatsu, or one of the many other forms of massage, those who receive regular sessions of even just a few minutes each day enjoy proven physical and emotional benefits in various ways.
Massage is Therapeutic for Physical Ailments
Whether your goal is relief from chronic neck and back pain or recovery after trauma, massage offers long-lasting benefits. Massage:
- Soothes muscle pain and imbalance
- Supports posture
- Treats sleeplessness and fatigue
Your body is an amazing machine. And like other machines, it has a built-in alarm system when things go wrong. Overexertion leads to stiff, sore muscles that let you know it’s time to relax. Massage therapy accelerates the recovery process by targeting sources of muscle pain. Once tension subsides, flexibility improves along with the circulation of nutrients and oxygen to affected areas. The result is relief felt throughout your entire body.
Eliminate Chronic Neck and Back Pain
When it comes to chronic neck and back pain, poor posture is another usual suspect. Pain from sitting or standing in unnatural ways can become so severe that it could lead to missed workdays and even disability. Massage is a great means of counteracting postural stresses. It places your body back in alignment, loosens tight muscles storing stress, and relieves pressure points causing joint pain and stiffness.
Improve Sleep Quality
Insomnia can be a frustrating, potentially dangerous condition that affects all aspects of your life. When your body is tired, it simply must recover. The only guaranteed natural way of doing that is through healthy sleep. Studies have shown that massage increases the brain’s deep-sleep delta waves and decreases its wide-awake beta waves. This facilitates sounder sleep, and therefore a more restorative state.
Massage Supports Important Everyday Bodily Function
- Improves circulation
- Lowers blood pressure
- Strengthens immune system
- Helps reduce the risk of injury
Promote Healthy Circulation
As with any complex machine, your body needs to be well-oiled. Your circulatory system is responsible for doing this constantly by transporting oxygen and nutrients from head to toe. This process heals damaged or inflamed areas, removes toxins, and stimulates endorphins to help manage stress. Massage’s various pressure techniques encourage improved blood flow to relieve pain and support overall circulation. Think of reflexively rubbing a stubbed toe: same idea, deeper level.
When your heart pumps blood throughout your body, that blood places pressure on the walls of the arteries carrying it. When this pressure becomes too high—a condition known as hypertension—it puts you at risk for things like heart failure, stroke, and other maladies. Because of its healing effect on body tension and circulation, massage can be an effective treatment in reducing blood pressure. This is especially true when paired with healthy lifestyle changes and, as necessary, prescribed medication.
Boost Your Immune System
An improved circulatory system also directly supports your immune system. This is your primary defense against common sickness as well as more serious illness and injury. When stress increases, so does your vulnerability. Scientists have shown that massage boosts disease-fighting white blood cells and reduces stress-related hormones. So, not only does massage lead to relaxation and recovery, it leads to resilience as well.
Enhance Your Workout
Massage is also an excellent means of injury prevention, especially for athletes. Massage helps the muscles relax – and when they do, flexibility is increased. If you participate in aerobics, boot camp training or strength training, better flexibility significantly reduces the risk of injury. This is why so many athletes and fitness enthusiasts use massage to supplement their workout routines.
Massage Provides Psychological and Emotional Relief
- Reduces stress
- Manages anxiety
- Boosts mood
Your conscious and subconscious mind drives your body’s mechanics. These mechanics are jeopardized when too much physical and mental stress enters the picture. This produces above-normal levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that can affect sleep, weight, appetite, and other areas of your health. Massage is a well-known method for decreasing cortisol and increasing serotonin, which counteracts pain and stress. Even short sessions have proven to be therapeutic not only on a physical level but just as importantly on a psychological one.
Treat Anxiety and Depression
This includes managing negative emotions like severe anxiety or depression. Such conditions can have a debilitating impact on both your daily life and long-term health. These days, doctors recognize the positive emotional effects of massage and include it as an option in their list of treatments. The power of human touch in safe, professional settings can be very therapeutic, particularly in conjunction with positive visualization exercises during sessions.
Boost Your Endorphins
Massage certainly doesn’t need to be reserved for only the severest cases. As you can imagine, when stress and anxiety go away, you’re more likely to have a skip in your step. The same human touch that can be so rejuvenating for serious patients can encourage general positive feelings in others. Massage’s soothing, nurturing experience releases happiness hormones such as endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine. That’s why so many health experts recommend building time into your schedule for relaxing activities regardless of your physical or mental state.
Why You Should Consider a Premium Massage Chair
The above benefits are all inter-related, which makes sense because your body is entirely interconnected. And we haven’t even listed all of the conditions massage can treat:
- Digestive disorders
- Myofascial pain
- Soft tissue strain
With this in mind, although massage chairs may have at one time been considered simply a novelty or high-end toy, dismissing them as such today would be shortsighted. In fact, they can be powerful tools for coping with everyday stress, physical ailments, and emotional strain. Well-built massage chairs can also be more convenient and cost-effective ways to treat these things than through ongoing therapy appointments across town. While they don’t fully replace medical attention, today’s top-of-the-line motorized chairs are designed to produce many of the same results using features such as kneading and rolling, heat, vibration and bodyweight positioning.
That said, it’s always a good idea to consult your physician whenever it comes to managing your health and wellness. Those with specific conditions that can be treated using at-home massage chairs may also want to check with their insurance company or employer. The chair may be covered in whole or in part by an HSA (health savings account) or FSA (flex spending account). Some employers even offer health or fitness stipends as part of their benefits package that may be used here.
You might just discover that your road to simple life balance can begin – and maybe even end – right there in your own living room!