We already know that massages feel great. And there’s a reason why: massage not only feels good, but it’s good for you as well. Here are just a few of the reasons why massage is a smart health choice for everyone.
Massage reduces stress.
Have you ever heard of “fight or flight?” When we’re under duress, physically or emotionally, our bodies produce a hormone called cortisol. While cortisol is generally benign – for example, it releases more glucose fuel to the body’s muscles – too much is not a good thing. Elevated cortisol levels can lead to mood disruptions and a weakened immune system.
Enter massage. Swedish massages have been proven to lower the body’s levels of cortisol. Even one massage can have a beneficial effect, though the more frequent the massage,the more marked the results.
Massage boosts your immune system.
The flip side of stress reduction: not only do massages lower cortisol levels, but they also boost the immune system. Cortisol interferes with the body’s immune system, so lowering cortisol increases the number of available, bug-fighting white blood cells.
Massage eases aches and pains.
Athletes take note: massage has been proven to fight muscle soreness after a brisk workout. A 2012 study shows that massage cuts down on the production of proteins that spur inflammation in the body, thus reducing post-workout pain up to 30%. Moreover, massage increases the body’s release of dopamine, a hormone that helps with pain control.
Massage helps you sleep.
Ever feel super-dozy after a great massage? There’s a reason for that- massage ups your body’s levels of serotonin. Serotonin relieves anxiety, which can keep you up at night. And a lack of serotonin has also been connected to insomnia. So get a massage and sleep better – sounds good to us.
And there’s more – scientists are finding that massage is helpful with conditions ranging from carpal tunnel syndrome to depression to arthritis. It’s a great way to be good to yourself.