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.
Marcy is the SVP of People and Communications at Zeel. In addition to overseeing the humans of Zeel, Marcy has written about workplace topics for more than 20 years both at Zeel and as VP of Content for Vault.com, a career information web site and publisher.