We often think of massage therapy as a spa-like indulgence to help us relax and relieve stress, but this ancient practice has plenty of health benefits, as well. It can be a valuable form of treatment for a variety of conditions, while also helping to help feel younger, healthier, and balanced.
The benefits of massage therapy are vast! Depending on each individual, massage can help:
- Relieve pain
- Improve range of motion
- Enhance immunity
- Increase joint flexibility
- Alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety
- Relax injured, tired, and overused muscles
- Release endorphins—the body’s natural painkiller
Different types of massage can help serve different purposes, each utilizing different types of movement and levels of pressure.
Massage for older adults tends to differ from traditional massage practices, and usually includes gentle stroking, kneading, and light pressure on specific points. Targeted pressure can help lubricate joints, which relieves the pain and stiffness of arthritis. The relaxation and communication promoted during massage can often help those living with Alzheimer’s disease.
And unlike many medications, massage is a natural way to stimulate the nervous system and increase blood circulation. In fact, according to Massage Today, regular massage can often help reduce the need for medications.
In the middle of July, the Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals (ABMP) group sponsors EveryBody Deserves a Massage Week to raise awareness of the health benefits of massage and bodywork. Many organizations offer discounted massages during this week—check with those in your local area for a great chance to treat yourself.
Massage therapy can benefit most people; however, it may not be appropriate for those with bleeding disorders or who are taking blood-thinning medication; people with deep vein thrombosis; or when you have open or healing burns or wounds. Speak to your doctor before scheduling your first massage.