Recent studies suggest that a massage can not only help you relax, but may also benefit your immune system.
Researchers who provide massage therapy at the Outpatient Physical Therapy Clinic, UAB Rehabilitation Center, identified two reasons why massage can help you stay healthier: immediate changes in the body and cumulative effects of regular massage.
Changes to the body
Immediate changes in the body come from the stress reduction gained during the session. Your heart rate can decrease, your breathing can deepen and slow, your brain gets a few minutes of rest time. There are benefits long term as well:
“Over the long-term, the benefits of massage accumulate; massage can increase a person’s range of motion, strengthen the immune system and provide an improved sense of well-being” A. Kelly, University of Alabama, 2013
There are more than 640 recognized complementary and alternative medicine modalities–everything from acupressure, to chiropractic work, to yoga, to meditation, to massage therapy. Over the years there have been many studies to try to determine if these techniques are as effective as other “traditional medicine” options, or if they’re better as a compliment to other treatment, or if there are any negative aspects. The good news is that when it comes to massage therapy, there are some very promising results. The bad news is that there there still aren’t enough studies to tease out the benefits of massage by modality (technique). Most focus on the effects of massage therapy on a specific disease or condition.
Just the facts about massage
Massage therapy has been around for more than 5000 years. The practice of using touch as a therapeutic and healing method are evident in the ancient history of India, Egypt , China and Japan, Greece and European countries. It wasn’t until the latter half of the 20th century, however, that there was a rising interest in natural healing methods in general, and massage specifically, in the US and other Western countries. Massage has since earned a place as a respected and legitimate form of complementary medicine focusing on increasing wellness, disease prevention, and more. Continue reading “Is Massage Really Good For You?”