Several everyday ailments can be soothed by regular massage.

1. Massage increases vitality.

Massage activates your parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for digestion, elimination, sleep and libido. When you are able to draw deep nutrition from your food as well as eliminate on a regular basis, all of your bodily systems function much better.

When you are in a chronic state of stress, digestion and reproduction functions are often the first to shut down. After all, if your body thinks you’re in danger, all it’s programmed to do is fight or flee. (1)

2. Massage boosts immunity.

How many of us get sick when we are burning the candle at both ends?

I know that if I’m tired and have a lot to do, all it takes is someone sneezing near me and I’m done for. When I take the time to get some focused rejuvenation, that tickle in my throat doesn’t stand a chance.

Massage is one of the few activities that directly moves the lymph in our bodies—our local superhero garbage man (or woman)—that defeats those cold invaders. Additionally, if you suffer from swelling or inflammation, massage should be part of your health regimen. (2)

3. Massage aids recovery.

A gentle and rocking massage increases recovery time after hard workouts, marathons or post-operation. Massage helps by breaking up adhesions, releasing tension and promoting the flow of oxygen rich blood to your hard worked muscles. Lactic acid, the byproduct of muscle movement, is what makes us sore after a workout.

Water, along with gentle and rocking massage, can make all of the difference! (3, 4, 5)

4. Massage manages mood

Healing touch can soothe anxiety and depression. Massage reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol, resulting in a deep, settling calm. Lowering cortisol can also lower blood pressure and assist with fat loss. Simple touch, simple human contact, can also boost the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin, which are the hormones responsible for what we call happiness. When we have healthy emotions, even the hard things get easier. (2, 6)

5. Massage gives headache relief.

Did you know that many headaches that aren’t cured from increased water intake can disappear with massage? You will find resolved symptoms after one treatment, but you can expect lasting results with fourto six weeks of regular sessions.

If you work at a computer all day, carry around children or drive a lot, you may want to consider incorporating massage into your life on a monthly if not weekly basis. You will have more energy, ease and grace to give to your work, family and self. (7, 8)

References:

1. Massage and the Autonomic Nervous System
2. Effects of Swedish Massage on Hypothalamic, Pituitary, Adrenal, and Immune Function
3. The Effects of Massage Therapy on Pain Management in the Acute Care Setting
4. Effects of massage therapy on sleep quality after coronary artery bypass graft surgery
5. The effects of massage on delayed onset muscle soreness
6. Massage Therapy Improve Pain and Mood in Patients
7. Reduction of Current Migraine Headache Pain Following Massage
8. Massage Therapy and Frequency of Chronic Tension Headaches

Amy Isakov is a nationally certified massage therapist, certified medicinal aromatherapist, and Reiki practitioner on the Philadelphia Main Line in Wayne, Pa. For more information about Amy and her practice, please visit Wayne Family Wellness.

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