For thousands of years, massage has helped people to heal, feel better, and have more energy. There are pictures of people having their feet massaged on the walls of Egyptian tombs and ancient Chinese books detailing massage techniques used to heal particular diseases and disorders.
In recent years, scientists and medical professionals have begun to investigate some of the claims made about the health benefits of massage. Here are just a few of the benefits that have been confirmed.
- Trigger finger and carpal tunnel syndrome – These disorders are typically caused by an inflammation of the sheath that surrounds tendons in the hands and arms. Massage is able to reduce the inflammation and provide relief. Over time the sheath heals itself, reducing the need for painful and debilitating surgeries.
- High blood pressure – Multiple studies have shown that massage therapy is able to reduce high blood pressure during and long after a massage. The exact mechanism is still being investigated, but many researchers theorize that the combination of increased blood flow and relaxation causes vein and artery walls to relax in the same way that many drugs designed to fight hypertension do.
- Frozen shoulder – This is a disorder where the shoulder loses a significant amount of its range of movement. There are adhesions in the tissue of affected muscles (tiny scars that cause the muscles to become tight and restrict movement). Massage of the affected area causes blood to flow into the muscles. By increasing blood flow and manually breaking down these adhesions, the body will heal over time. This results in increased range of motion and a significant reduction of pain.
- Better skin – Whether you prefer a facial massage or a full body massage your skin will benefit from the increased circulation. This is very effective for helping to keep skin healthy. Massage encourages lymphatic drainage, causes capillaries and veins to dilate, and carries toxins away from the skin to bring more life-giving oxygen to it.
- Prevent injury – Sports massage, in particular, is designed to help prevent future injuries. An athlete will often receive a massage both before and after a game. This loosens the muscles and helps to increase freedom of movement. Along with traditional stretching and warm-ups, massage can help an athlete be prepared for the game ahead with a decreased risk of injury.
The study of the effects of therapeutic massage is ongoing. For millennia people have experienced the benefits of massage, and now modern science is able to show proof positive that massage is an excellent way to maintain and improve physical health