The benefits of massage therapy are well known; it helps reduce stress, pain and muscle tension. But here some scientific benefits that may surprise you:
Sleep better. Many people are up nights worrying about their financial problems, a tough relationship, or issues at work. A massage may be a key to sleeping better. Studies show that regular massage sessions have been found to decrease depression and anxiety to improve sleep quality. This happens because it can trigger the release of serotonin, a neurotransmitter which makes people feel calmer.
Fight off illness. The effects of a massage may extend deep into the body. People who received a Swedish massage showed improvements in their immune system responses after sessions, according to a study from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Specifically, it may boost the number white blood cells circulating to help fight infection.
Reduce depression. After reviewing 17 studies, researchers from Taiwan concluded that massage therapy significantly alleviated people’s depression symptoms. In addition, people with anxiety may benefit from a massage according to a study from Emory University. After six weeks of Swedish massage therapy, these people experienced a significant reductions worries, tension, insomnia, and restlessness.
Lower blood pressure. According to a study from Iran, women with prehypertension who received Swedish massage for 15 minutes three times a week saw a 12 mm Hg drop in their systolic blood pressure. In addition, this blood pressure lowering effect remained for 72 hours after the massage!
Help asthma. Full body massage can loosen the muscles of respiration and allow deep breathing. A study from Touch Research Institute found that children who suffered from asthma and cystic fibrosis that get regular massage therapy showed improved lung function.
Relieve constipation. Massage can help people who suffer from this malady, according to research published in the International Journal of Nursing Studies. Researchers set up two treatment groups—one received laxatives along with abdominal massage, while the others were given only laxatives. After eight weeks, the people in the massage group reported less severe gastrointestinal symptoms and less abdominal pain than the laxative-only group.