Massage therapy is seeing renewed interest as a form of alternative medicine. As more people turn to natural remedies for common ailments, massage therapy offers many benefits for an array of conditions and complaints. This article covers the benefits of regular massage therapy, including tips on where and how often to get a massage for optimal results and improved wellbeing.
What Happens During a Massage?
If you’ve never gotten a professional massage before, it can be intimidating. During a session, the massage therapist uses different techniques to apply pressure and manipulate the tissues around specific areas of the body. These techniques, usually circles, long strokes, and percussive movements can help relax the muscles and work out tension throughout the body. The pressure ranges from light to deep into muscles and tissues depending on the style of massage.
Benefits of Regular Massage
Massage is more than just a way to feel good. In fact, massage therapy is a recognized form of integrative medicine, especially for treating chronic pain. Some of the most commonly experienced benefits of massage therapy include:
- Reduced stress
- Reduced pain and chronic pain
- Relief from muscle soreness
- Relieved tension
- Improved mood
Beyond relaxation, studies have shown that even just one massage session can improve circulation, boost energy and alertness, and help people sleep. Many of these common massage benefits result from lower heart rate and blood pressure during the treatment. It’s important to note that many people feel sore for a day or two following massage therapy. This is totally normal, and the benefits listed above can last up to a full week after each massage appointment.
How Often Should You Get A Massage?
One massage every year may feel good, but it’s likely not enough to produce lasting effects. Especially for those that suffer from chronic conditions, or physically active people, regular massage therapy treatment can be a great addition to wellness routines. According to recent research on the effectiveness of massage therapy, regular massage has proven effective for patients undergoing treatment for cancer, skin conditions, prenatal depression, osteoporosis, and chronic pain conditions. People new to massage therapy should start slow, and work their way up to more frequent appointments.
Getting massages weekly or twice a month can be a great way to assist in minimizing the symptoms of conditions such as:
- Chronic low back pain
- Neck and shoulder pain
- Recurring headaches
- Sports injuries
- Breast cancer and lymphoma
- Stress-induced insomnia
- Digestive conditions
- Nerve pain
- Autoimmune disorders
While not a replacement for traditional medicine or medical care, massage therapy can be a helpful addition to a care treatment plan. A doctor should always be consulted before starting massage therapy to treat any medical condition.
Massage for Mental Wellbeing
Massage therapy has also proven an effective method for improving mental health. Studies comparing levels of cortisol, also known as the stress hormone, have found a correlation between massage and lower cortisol levels. Getting a massage relaxes the body and mind, which allows many people to practice mindfulness and gratitude. In addition, the element of human touch during a massage session fosters feelings of connection, which can aid in building meaningful relationships. As a form of self-care, regular massage treatments can help with:
- Chronic and acute stress
- Boosting confidence
- Improved focus
- Better sleep
- Increased energy
Where to Get Regular Massage Therapy
For the best results in regular massage treatment, always work with the same therapist or practitioner. This helps the therapist measure progress, and make adjustments to treatment based on specific needs or changes over time.
It’s important to always book massage therapy appointments with a certified and licensed professional. There is a small risk of injury with massage, so proper training is essential to preventing unwanted pain. Professional massage therapy is usually available at spas, chiropractic facilities, through alternative medical offices, and at home with mobile massage therapy. Companies like Soothe make massage therapy more accessible by pairing clients with licensed therapists; and having the therapist come directly to the client for their treatment.