Many people find massage therapy beneficial for pain, stiffness, and stress is one of the best ways to relieve these conditions without resorting to pills and invasive procedures. The AMTA reports that between July 2013 and July 2014, about 15% of all adults in the United States got at least one massage. The benefits of massage therapy are many, and here’s what you need to know about who can find massage therapy beneficial and what the health benefits of therapeutic massages really are.
Who Finds Massage Therapy Beneficial?
The answer to this question is that almost anyone can benefit from a massage. People suffering from chronic pain conditions like fibromyalgia find massage therapy beneficial to relieving that pain and improving their quality of life. People suffering from cancer find that therapeutic massage can relieve their pain as well as help them to cope with stress. Those who suffer from chronic headaches report finding relief from massage. Even those suffering from mental health issues and depression often find massage therapy beneficial for easing their distress and lowering their stress levels. Those who play sports, whether they been injured or not, report increased flexibility and decreased tension and pain after sports massage.
Why Is Massage Therapy Beneficial?
A study done at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center recently looked at Swedish massage and the results for those who had such a massage. The study found that massage therapy decreased the levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, while increasing the action of the body’s immune system. Another study done by the University of Auckland found that regular massage decreases the frequency of migraines while improving sleep quality for those suffering from chronic headaches. These are just two studies that have been done in recent years showing definitive, medically verifiable benefits to therapeutic massage and medical massage. Other benefits that medical research has verified include a reduction in PMS symptoms, reductions in stress levels and depression, and even enhanced performance for runners.
What Should I Expect When I Get a Massage?
If you are thinking of getting a massage, you may naturally wonder what you should expect. Any reputable massage therapist will offer you a choice of leaving on as many or as few clothes as you feel comfortable with. They’ll also suggest that you don’t eat immediately before your massage, but that you do hydrate after the massage is over. A good massage should never hurt, though you may feel a bit of discomfort in a few points when muscles are being stretched or tense muscles are being worked out.
Your massage will typically last between 15 and 90 minutes, depending on what you prefer and how much time you have available. You may not know you have a lot of choice when it comes to massages, too, so it’s always a good idea to ask your massage therapist or massage professional about what types of massage might be best for your needs. If you’re not sure, explain what you’re feeling and what you’re most in need of help for, and a good massage therapist can tell you exactly what type of massage will help you feel your best.
But Is Massage “Real” Medicine?
You might be surprised to find out that a survey by the American Hospital Association found that, of the more than 1000 hospitals they surveyed, 82% were offering complementary and alternative medicine therapies like massage. In July 2014, 54 million people in the United States had talked about getting massage therapy with her doctor at some point in the previous year. And while plenty of people get massages just because they’re comfortable and enjoyable, 54% of those who had one between 2013 and 2014 got their massage for a medical reason. Massages are frequently recommended by health professionals to manage pain, relieve soreness and stiffness, increase overall wellness, and help with rehabilitation after an injury.
A massage is a great way to increase your feeling of wellbeing, relieve pain, lower your stress levels, and help set you on road to recovery after an injury. Look for professional massage therapists in your area who can help you achieve the results you need.