Ask anyone who’s ever received a professional massage: A few good elbows in the back can work some serious magic. After a high-quality, professional massage, you leave feeling incredibly peaceful, yet somehow powerful. It’s like all you needed was to get a few kinks worked out.
As it turns out, those benefits aren’t just anecdotal. Nope — the power of massage therapy is backed by decades of scientific research, with some of the most groundbreaking studies being less than 10 years old (in the science world, that’s not long).
You probably already know that massage makes you feel better mentally and physically, but it’s worth discovering exactly why that is. Ahmad Sprouse, DC, and his staff at Integrated Body & Medicine in Highland, Indiana, really want you to know how your body responds to massage, so we’ve put together information about five of the top benefits of therapeutic massage.
1. Massage reduces muscle pain and soreness
A tough workout, whatever tough means to you, leaves you feeling like a regular flight of stairs is a 20-mile uphill backpacking trip. Therapeutic massage is one of the top recovery tools for sore muscles after workouts, especially in elite athletes.
In addition to soothing sore muscles, massage therapy can reduce bodily pain in people who struggle with chronic pain or any syndrome of which pain is a side effect. Studies show that therapeutic massage can relieve pain related to fibromyalgia, surgery, and more.
2. Massage relieves stress and anxiety
Endless to-do lists, work deadlines, family obligations, attempting to keep up with the goings-on of all your friends — most adults today are slammed with duties and responsibilities, many with more than they can handle on any given day. While the world has become more attuned to the striking state of mental health, busyness still seems like a badge of honor.
Regular massages can help to reduce the levels of stress and anxiety you feel on a daily basis. Not only does taking some time for yourself feel good, but massage therapy is scientifically proven to help your mind and body relax.
Physically, massage allows your body to release tension and tames your fight-or-flight response (which is constantly turned on for many of us); mentally, massage induces a feeling of calmness and reduces anxious thoughts.
3. Massage can help you sleep better
Just like stress and anxiety run rampant today, so does lack of sleep. If you need a little help unwinding, consider adding regular massages into your wellness routine. Scientists have found that therapeutic massage can help you fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, and get better quality shut-eye. Massage therapy is even known to help people with insomnia catch more ZZZs.
4. Massage can improve your immune function
If you feel like you often come down with a cold or other minor illness, you may benefit from therapeutic massage. Research suggests that massage therapy can increase the number of lymphocytes — a type of white blood cell that defends your body from disease — in your blood. Science also shows that massage therapy can reduce markers of disease, such as inflammation and cortisol.
5. Massage can increase your flexibility and range of motion
Can you touch your toes? If you just tried and realized that no, you can’t touch your toes, you can benefit from a massage (even if you can touch, you can still benefit). By manipulating the soft tissue throughout your body, massage therapy can improve your joint range of motion and flexibility.
Sports massage, in particular, is known for its effects on movement functionality, but any manipulation of muscle and connective tissue can improve these parameters. Researchers believe this occurs because massage therapy encourages blood flow to the joints, promotes circulation of the lymph, and relaxes the muscles.
Ready to reap the benefits of massage? Schedule your appointment at Integrated Body & Medicine today by calling our office today.