You’ve been sitting at a desk, or in meetings, or on a plane for hours. Maybe your head hurts, or your shoulders feel stiff and sore. Maybe your lower back is aching. And maybe it’s time to make an appointment to have this corrected.
Massage Therapy has evolved over the years. It’s no longer simply an hour getting pampered. People from all walks of life, occupations, and athletes of all levels of skill have come to learn that massage therapy has many benefits that positively influence their ability to perform activities of daily living.
Here are four ways that getting a massage from a registered therapist can help improve your health, happiness and productivity:
Pain Reduction and Elimination
In a process called the gate control theory, massage can interfere with pain signals being sent to the brain by sending touch signals along those same pathways, clogging the pathways and interrupting the transmission of pain signals, effectively, “closing the gate” on pain. Scientists at McMaster University have recently discovered that massage helps to decrease pain by sending anti-inflammation messages to muscle cells. It also stimulates the release of endorphins, the body’s own painkiller, into the brain and nervous system.
Muscle Tension Reduction
Sitting or standing in one position for an extended period of time leads to the development of tension in postural muscles, reducing blood flow and leading to a stiff, sore feeling in muscles particularly in the neck, shoulders and back. Massage techniques applied to these muscles helps increase blood flow, bringing oxygen and nutrients to the muscle and decreasing the tightness of that tissue.
Life throws a lot of stress our way. Worries about employment, family, finances, etc. can initiate a stress response in our bodies causing the release of a hormone called cortisol. High and prolonged levels of cortisol are known to increase blood pressure, increase abdominal fat and impair cognitive function. The time spent receiving a massage can help relax the mind and body, reducing cortisol levels and improving overall well-being.
There’s more than just dust floating around in the workplace, and covering your keyboard. Bacteria and viruses are everywhere. While we can do our best to wash our hands regularly and cover our mouths and noses when we sneeze or cough, we can’t avoid coming into contact with what our coworkers bring into the workspace. Massage can help us avoid becoming ill by boosting our immune systems. “One physical effect of massage therapy is an increase in circulation. The short, rhythmical strokes of a massage can increase lymph circulation in the body, which leads to a greater distribution of neutrophils and lymphocytes. The more even distribution of white blood cells decreases susceptibility to antigens. Massage therapy has also been shown to reduce inflammation and edema. These physical changes contribute to the body’s immune-enhancing ability.”
These are just a few examples of how a massage can help keep you healthy and happy. Everyone needs to relax occasionally and scheduling an hour to do so is a great way to make sure it happens.