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What Are The Benefits Of Massage?

When it comes to relaxing There are a few things that we associate with relaxing in a spa, reclining in front of the fireplace, staying at home until two p.m. and of course getting a massage. Although massage can be great to help you relax however, it can also provide positive therapeutic effects, too.

The term “massage” in itself encompasses an array of kinds of massages, ranging between Swedish massage (the most well-known kind) and massages that serve a more specific and targeted goal, such as a sports massage, which is aimed to aid athletes in recovering.

Whatever the form, the benefits of massage are based on one factor it’s pressure. “The surface of the body moves during moderate pressure massages that results in a calm and slowing of the nervous body,” claims Tiffany Field, PhD, director of the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine. The slowing of the nervous system is accompanied by other physiological effects, too including a drop in the heart’s rate, lower blood pressure, and changes in EEG patterns (electrical activity in the brain) according to Field.

In addition, to experience the benefits, it’s not as long as you think. “For research we’re able document positive effects of massages that are only 20 minutes long,” says Mark Hyman Rapaport, MD, chief of the psychiatric services offered by Emory Healthcare, who has led numerous studies focusing on the effects of massage. So, when you decide for a massage (most of them are advertised for being around 50 minutes, according to Dr. Rapaport), you’re under pressure for more than enough time to reap the maximum benefits.

And if you can’t afford to head to the spa across the street? “You do not have to visit an acupuncturist constantly,” says Field. “You could give yourself an ointment.” Because we’re able to get into the most regions of our bodies, you can do a 20-minute self-massage by using a massage brush in the shower or even by rubbing a tennis ball against your limbs, as she explains.

If you’re thinking about scheduling a session of massage West End, here are six of the treatment’s major benefits to be aware of.

If you’re suffering from anxiety, a study suggests that massage can help alleviate your symptoms. “What we believe is happening is that it’s decreasing the sympathetic tone we see with people with generalized anxiety disorder, and also increasing the parasympathetic response,” says Dr. Rapaport who led the study.

Your body actually has two different nerve systems, the sympathetic nerve system as well as the parasympathetic nerve system. “Your sympathetic is fight or flight,” says Rudy Gehrman, DC, a sports chiropractic doctor and the founder of Physio Logic in New York. “If you’re getting chased by a lion it’s the sympathetic nervous system.”

During a massage, however, your parasympathetic (or the calming) response increases and can result in a reduction in anxiety, claims Dr. Rapaport.

Also, what’s equally exciting? The effects of massage on reduced anxiety could be lasting. “We carried out a brief follow-up, and a significant number of those who were treated remained stress-free for anywhere between six and 18 months after,” says Dr. Rapaport.

Are you having trouble sleeping? Or suffer from insomnia? Massage can actually help you sleep more deeply. “Sleep is all related to the amount of activity in the nervous system,” Field says. Field. And when you get massages, your nervous system itself decreases due to the pressure.

Plus, when you’re getting deep, restorative sleep, she says that this decreases your levels of substance (a neurotransmitter for pain) that reduces overall pain. So if you have any discomfort, massages can serve double duty.

It’s all too common. You’ve been tossing and turning all night, work has been completely draining and you’re exhausted to the point that you don’t even have five minutes to take a long breath. “Some people get fatigued because they’re sleeping too little,” says Dr. Rapaport. “Other people are getting fatigued because of some biological factors.”

No matter what the cause of your fatigue is, one simple solution is (you guessed it) a massage. In actual fact, one research conducted by Dr. Rapaport found that breast cancer patients who had weekly Swedish massages noticed a reduction in fatigue, a particularly debilitating effect of the cancer. To get the best effects in accordance with Dr. Rapaport’s research, try taking a massage twice a week.

Aid certain health conditions

The body has two immune responses: Th1 and Th2, and both need to be balanced to keep your immune system function optimally, says Field. “If Th2 levels are in excess of the Th1 and you develop autoimmune problems,” she says.

But during massage, you’re decreasing stress hormones to keep this balance, she says. In turn, this could assist in making autoimmune disorders, such as asthma type 1 diabetes or dermatitis, more manageable by reducing fatigue or pain.

Are you having trouble staying focused during a meeting that lasts longer than 10 minutes, or reading a book before bed? The effects of a massage will actually help improve your ability to pay attention and focus.

In order for you to pay attention your heart rate has to be lower. “If there’s a reason I’m not attentive, it’s because my heart rate is high,” says Field. “And once I’ve gotten my heart rate down, I’ll be more attentive.”

Since massages slow down your nervous system, the heart rate will slow down as well. During a massage, your pressure receptors stimulate vagal activity that originates from a nerve in your brain that connects to various organs including the heart states Field. If you’re experiencing the pressure of a massage it could decrease the heart rate in turn, which will improve your focus.

If you’ve been injured or joint discomfort (especially if the problem is long-term or chronic) according to Gehrman You’ll also experience what are called soft-tissue restrictions that cause knots or trigger areas of pain. “Massage Therapists are working to rid themselves of tightness in the soft tissues and expanding circulation,” Gehrman affirms.

They can, in time, lead to issues such as joint degeneration or ligament issues, so by regularly massaging out these soft-tissue restrictions, you’re not only helping the injury you’re currently experiencing, but also helping prevent from developing other problems down the road. But the important thing in getting a massage to treat your injury is to go to an skilled, licensed massage therapist that has extensive experience treating injured patients.

“Because any kind of soft tissue work, you’re essentially creating damage to the scientific community If you do it too deeply, that person can’t heal from that treatment,” says Gehrman. A good, licensed massage therapist will be capable of determining which areas near the injury require massage and which ones are best to avoid.

Are there any potential risks to massages?

There aren’t any documented risks of massage, if an underlying medical condition such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, or diabetes, these are the things that you must make any massage provider aware and consult the therapist with experience with the particular condition.

Women expecting a baby are advised to seek out a therapist with pregnancy experience–“For pregnant females, you have to be very, very cautious regarding your positioning,” says Gehrman.

Osteoporosis sufferers should seek out the help of a professional who has expertise in treating this condition, too. “You might break bones or ribs if a person is really very osteoporotic” says Gehrman.