A vast majority of people across the globe believe massage therapy to be a hoax until they get it done. In this pacy world of goals and targets, a man falls prey to long stretched hours of working. This strenuous and hectic activity takes a toll on his body.
To get off this burden of tiredness, some rely on the use of medicinal drugs that have their side effects too. On the other hand, the sharp ones resort to massage therapy and liberate themselves from the achy and sore muscles with absolutely no side effects. Therefore, it is being recommended to get massage therapy for a number of health issues owing to the benefits it imparts.
The health benefits of massage therapy (identified by the doctors) are given below:
Health Benefits Of Massage
1. Say Good-Bye To Anxiety And Stress
The recent events of a pandemic have increased the anxiety and stress levels of the general public. The advent of the COVID-19 pandemic has marked a manifold increase in stress levels of adults as well as youngsters.
Previously we had to face occupational and financial stresses. Pandemic and lockdown-induced stress is a new addition.
Massage For COVID-19 Induced Stress
In a 2020 study, it was found that a long-lasting pandemic and lockdown have brought a negative impact on the minds of college students. An evident increase in fear, anxiety, and stress is noted.
Getting a home massage is the best way to go. Massage therapists are entirely aware of the efficacy of massage in reducing such types of stress. Therefore, we have seen an increase in home massage therapists during the pandemic.
Massage For Occupational Stress
Occupational stress refers to work-related stress and is very common in the developed countries. It is a serious, mental health condition that can push you into the abyss of tobacco or alcohol consumption. This further aggravates the condition.
To find out the effect of massage therapy on occupational stress, a study was carried out on female nurses serving in intensive care units of a hospital. This was done because nursing is considered one of the most stressful professions in health services.
It was found in the study that massage therapy has the following health benefits on nurses:
- Significant reduction in stress
- Improvement in mental health
- Better quality of life and work
The procedure is non-invasive and inexpensive too. Therefore, it takes off the financial burden of the patient.
2. Improves Circulation
Massaging your muscles aids in dilating the blood vessels and therefore, improving the blood circulation through the vessels.
According to 2020 research, it is found that light massage is beneficial in improving upper limb circulation, especially in tuberculosis patients. Occlusions in the blood vessels seem to decrease in size with massage therapies.
In another study, it was found that massaging an area improves the blood flow of the region. Massage therapy is proving to be an effective discipline of physical medicine. This improved blood flow helps in healing and removing inflammation. In the study, different massage styles were observed.
As per another study, soft tissue massage improves blood flow of the region that has undergone massage.
Therapeutic, recovery and preventive massage preferred a proximal to distal approach. On the other hand, sports and classical massage support the idea of massaging limb parts in the opposite order (distal to proximal).
Lumbar massage enhances blood circulation in the site. In a study, 29 healthy male subjects were given a massage for 5 minutes. The skin blood flow, muscle blood volume, and skin temperature were noted before and after the massage. The study found out that there was significant betterment in skin flow and some increase in skin temperature was also seen (that too indicated an increased blood flow to the site).
3. Get Rid Of Pain Without Pills And Injections
Getting a massage can help you flush out pain from the body. No need of taking those gastric-irritating pills, and scary injections. Massage therapy is an effective way of managing pain and the associated fatigue, nausea, and depression, a study suggests. There are different types of pains that can be relieved by the magic of massage.
The third trimester of pregnancy is characterized by notable increases in fetal weight. This increases the load on the mother’s back and muscles. The ultimate result of this is back pain. Back pain during pregnancy is tricky to treat because pharmacological interventions are minimal. In such cases, massage therapy is the most potent treatment modality. It effectively reduces pain and removes pressure from the back, as proved by a study.
In a 2018 study, the impact of back massage on women undergoing childbirth was noted. The changes in perception during the first stage of labor were noted using the Face Pain Scale. It was found that back massage is pretty effective in pain management and is superior to the postural change approach.
A meta-analysis also validates the use of massage therapy for providing labor pain relief. Another detailed meta-analysis screened 58 studies and reached the conclusion that massage therapy can be considered as a pain relief method.
Newborns (especially sick ones) are faced with many issues. Pain is one of them. In most cases administering drugs is risky due to their side effects. Different strategies are employed to provide pain relief, one of which is massage therapy. A 2018 study vouches for the use of massage therapy in pain management of infants.
Specialized massage techniques have been introduced to relieve pain in cancer patients. A study was carried out on 229 cancer patients receiving physiotherapy for post-cancer therapy pain. As per the study, both methods of massage i.e. Healing Touch (HT) and Oncology Massage (OM) therapies provided immediate relief from pain.
Individuals hospitalized for long periods are commonly faced with a common stressor i.e. pain. This is especially true for patients in the Intensive care units. According to a randomized controlled trial, foot massage is efficacious in reducing the pain of ICU patients and that too at a low cost.
4. Increases Flexibility And Range Of Motion Of Muscles
Massage is an effective way of increasing the range of mobility and flexibility of the muscles. There are a number of diseases that lead to a decrease in the range of motion. Injury or neurodegenerative diseases can negatively impact the flexibility of muscles. Massage, be it manual or via equipment has shown improvements in symptoms.
Massage therapy works by improving the elasticity of the tissues. This improvement helps to relieve muscle tension that eventually leads to pain relief.
A review on the effectiveness of massage guns revealed that the medical equipment works well in improving the range of motion of lower limbs.
Not only muscles but you can also experience wonderful progress in spine mobility. In a study, classical massage was given to 36 volunteers. It was concluded from the study that massage therapy improves spine restrictions in youngsters
A 2017 meta-analysis, suggests that massage therapy is effective in improving shoulder flexion and abduction. Sports massage was considered the most beneficial in improving flexibility among all other types of massage.
Decreased extremity mobility is a common complaint after breast cancer surgery. According to a 2018 randomized controlled trial, myofascial massage is efficacious in managing chronic pain and decreasing muscle rigidity following cancer treatment. In this study, all participants (21 women with chronic pain) received massage therapy for 8 weeks, and at the end of the treatment, all individuals reported improvement in symptoms.
5. Boosts Immune System
Patients suffering from cancer and those who have received therapy should get massage therapy. Such patients are constantly faced with chronic pain and stress. Strain and stress negatively impact the immunity of the patient leading to fatigue and sleep disturbances.
According to a 2019 study, massage therapy reduces stress and stimulates immunity in women with breast cancer.
Another branch of massage, aromatherapy aids in boosting immune function. In a randomized controlled trial, aromatherapy with essential oils helped improve sleep quality by reducing stress and boosting immunity.
In another study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, weekly massages of individuals lead to improvements in immune function. The type of massage used here was Swedish massage.
Research has shown that frequent massage therapies can help boost the immune system by increasing blood flow and flushing out toxins. It was also found in a systematic review, that therapeutic massage has multiple benefits in children with cancer. In addition to relief from pain, nausea, stress, and anxiety, massage therapy increased the number of white blood cells in the sight, thus boosting the immune system.
6. Helps Soft Tissue Healing And Repair
An integral part of massage therapy is Healing Touch. It is believed that vital energy flows through the body and a gentle touch is known to improve quality of life and enhance healing in cancer patients. This touch is known as the healing touch.
As per a study published in Sage Journals, Healing touch and massage therapy improved healing and reduced stress in cancer patients with mood disturbances.
Soft tissue injury to the shoulder can be painful and takes time to heal. Massage therapy is a beneficial way of minimizing this pain. In a trial, pain in the shoulders was assessed using Patient-Specific Functional Disability Measure (PSFDM), before and after the massage therapy. This soft tissue massage improves function, healing, and range of motion of the shoulder.
Another study revealed that massage therapy with infrared radiation is extremely potent in subsiding the symptoms of radial nerve paralysis.
7. Ideal Treatment Modality For Back Pain And Sciatica
Chronic low back pain is a curse that seriously compromises your life. It can arise due to numerous different reasons. One of the most common causes is sciatic nerve impingement and inflammation i.e. sciatica.
Low back pain (that may be due to sciatica) debilitates you and reduces the range of motion. According to a study, massage therapy can help not only in reducing the pain but also in increasing the range of motion. The stretches done during massage therapy are becoming increasingly popular for the non-pharmacological management of sciatica.
As per 4 randomized trials, massage therapy was found to be efficacious in managing pain arising due to sciatica.
In a study involving 220 adults suffering from sciatica, it was found that referring the patients from primary care to physical therapy improved symptoms and reduced disability.
Another pilot study in 2018, found improvements in pain levels, mobility, the flexibility of the lumbar spine. Another randomized controlled trial promotes the use of massage for relieving old patients of chronic low back pain. In this study, 140 patients suffering from non-specific chronic low back pain were given a massage and the results approved of the use of massage.
8. Provides Relief From Chronic Diseases
According to a study, massage therapy has multiple benefits. This non-invasive treatment helps reduce stress and imparts psychosocial relaxation. This, in turn, helps in the reduction of blood pressure values. The stress levels of the 25 young female participants were analyzed using the criteria of the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory.
In another study, it was found that people suffering from psychological issues due to workplace/occupational stress showed improvement in stress levels. Massage therapy efficiently reduces levels of blood pressure.
Detailed analysis on the impact of massage therapy was carried out by the National University of Health Sciences Massage Therapy Clinic, Lombard. The analysis revealed that systolic blood pressure decreased by 1.8mmHg.
Insomnia And Sleep Disorders
It is not uncommon to find sleeping disorders in the modern generation. According to a study in 2019, back massage was potent in helping elderly people sleep. Thus, massage therapy can be used for the management of insomnia.
Stroke patients often complain of insomnia. This is known as post-stroke insomnia. According to a meta-analysis, massage therapy is a reliable intervention for Post-stroke Insomnia (PSI).
Similarly, patients with congestive cardiac failure have sleep issues at night. In a study, the back massage technique is proven to be a safe and effective treatment modality for managing sleep disorders in CCF patients. Another study claims that massage and aromatherapy improve sleep quality in cardiac patients.
9. Rejuvenates The Skin (Anti-Aging)
Massage therapy improves the blood flow of the region and also reduces stress. Therefore, it helps rejuvenate the skin cells and keeps you young. You can maintain a fresh and young skin’s condition, texture, and tone.
According to a randomized controlled trial, massage with violet oil reduces the severity of skin diseases such as pruritus.
Facial massage is rapidly gaining popularity as an anti-aging therapy. The different techniques of facial massage are effective in bringing about different effects on your facial skin,
Swedish massage, shiatsu, gua sha, and remedial massages are the most common types. The most evident benefit of a facial massage is the anti-aging effect. According to a study, massage with essential oils leads to an anti-aging effect.
Another study done in 2018, identified massage as an effective method to prevent aging effects on the skin.
In another study, massage therapy was combined with the use of anti-aging creams. The participants were given a massage and the cream for 8 weeks and the results analyzed. The study concluded that there was an evident reduction in wrinkles, neck sagging plus an improvement in neck texture was seen.
This very therapy also boosts scar healing. You better get a facial massage to speed up the healing of a facial scar.
10. Improves Mental Health
Improved mental health is a pleasant outcome of massage therapy. Therefore, it is highly recommended to nurses and artists to get massage therapy as this can help them connect to themselves and others, a study suggests.
Specialized manual massage i.e. Brain massage helps in removing mental fatigue and improving cognitive function in patients, a study suggests.
According to a 2019 meta-analysis, massage therapy has positive effects in improving the behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia patients. Another literature review promotes the use of massage therapy as a complementary treatment for Parkinson’s disease.
Parkinson’s disease is characterized by bradykinesia, rigidity, and rest tremors. These symptoms are accompanied by cognitive and memory issues. Fatigue is a frequent finding of the disorder too. The effect of Thai massage was noted on Parkinson’s patients. The controlled trial found that Thai massage therapy improved upper limb strength and cognitive function.
Massage therapy has shown to have multiple benefits on the human body. There are numerous studies that confirm the positive impacts of massage therapy.
The most evident benefit of massaging is stress reduction. In today’s world of the pandemic, stress-reduction is a must. If you feel faintest of the signs of anxiety, call a massage therapist to give you a session in the comfort of your home.
More benefits of this non-invasive therapy include improved blood flow, reduced pain, and increased mobility of the massaged region. This cost-efficient massage therapy enhances your mental health and focus and rejuvenates the skin.