How do you view massage? Is this your treat to yourself every few months or is this a necessary part of your health?
I used to think that massage was that extra fluff or only in cases of pain but as I went further into the realm of massage I realized how important receiving regular massage really is for your health.
Here are my top reasons why EVERYONE should get massages regularly.
1. Managing stress and anxiety
Anytime someone fills out client paperwork for me, I always expect to see stress/anxiety marked on their intake. At today's pace of life everyone has stress or anxiety in their lives. So what exactly causes stress?
The human body was designed in response to danger which back in the day that could mean devastating climate changes, animal attacks on a village or fighting to protect your people. All of these put us in what is called fight or flight.
Even though we don't face many of these challenges today, the fight or flight response has evolved into digestion issues, chronic pain, and sleep deprivation . This response brings on higher levels of cortisol which suppresses our immune system and shoots our blood sugar up in order to keep our muscles ready for that fight or flight moment.
When you get a massage this increases oxytocin and serotonin levels which result in combating the stress. This also in turn helps lower blood pressure and puts you in a better mood.
2. Boost Immunity
Certain types of massage like Swedish and Lymphatic Drainage are lighter modalities that stimulate your lymphatic system.
Your lymphatic system involves tissues and organs that help remove waste, toxins and other unwanted materials in the body. Certain organs in the body like your spleen whose role is controlling the amount of red blood cells and blood storage it the body but also helping fight infection.
What this means exactly? These types of massages actually naturally boost your immune system!
3. Increase Athletic Performance
Even if you are not an athlete, anyone who works out regularly can improve their fitness goals with massage. Massage helps increase flexibility and range of motion. This could mean increasing the length in your quads shave off that extra second in a sprint or it may give you the depth you need to max out that squat.
On top of increasing those athletic gains it also helps in muscle recovery. Lactic acid is a byproduct of metabolism which is achieved through intense exercise and is what you know as soreness. Remember the Lymphatic System I mentioned earlier? Lactic acid would be considered a toxin build up in your muscles which therefore can be removed through massage.
4. Pain Management
Certain types of massage like Trigger Point, Myofascial Release and Deep Tissue can be very helpful in managing muscular and joint pain. These types of massage help break up adhesions which are essentially knots but in our facial system. Any tender, hot or stiff area can get released with these techniques and also help flush out the toxic build up in these areas.
When you get a massage regularly you will start to notice a difference in how your over all muscle tissue feels. The massage therapist is manipulating the tissue and over time can change the health of the tissue that is causing pain.
5. Increase Flexibility
As we age we start to lose certain capabilities that we used to, like flexibility. Flexibility is important in that the more flexible we are in our joints the less energy we exert through out our range of motion during activity. This over all will help prevent injury.
Stretching helps our muscle tissue by decreasing the resistance in our muscles during activity. This also increases blood flow and nutrients to muscles that may be deprived.
Invest in yourself by investing in your health!
Sure you can get many benefits from one massage here and there but the true value in bodywork is coming regularly. Taking the time to budget and schedule massages as a part of your self care regimen is not only a good practice for other healthy habits but its also looking out for your future wellness. Just because massage feels like you are getting pampered doesn't mean that it holds less importance to your well being.