Massage is generally considered part of complementary and alternative medicine. It’s increasingly being offered along with standard treatment for a wide range of medical conditions and situations.
Studies of the benefits of massage demonstrate that it is an effective treatment for reducing stress, pain and muscle tension.
Who doesn’t want to reduce the stress in their life? Stress relief is key to finding the balance of a healthy lifestyle. Even a single massage session has been shown to significantly lower heart rate, cortisol and insulin levels – all of which help reduce daily stress.
The body can produce an unhealthy buildup of hormones when we’re stuck in traffic or meeting a work deadline. Pent-up levels of the “stress hormone” cortisol can lead to sleeplessness, headaches and even digestive problems.
Enter massage therapy. Massage has been shown to decrease cortisol in the body. This allows the body to enter a relaxing rest-and-recovery mode: an effect that lingers long after the massage is over. In fact, massage triggers a host of brain chemistry responses that can result in lasting feelings of relaxation, lowered stress and improved mood.
Some studies have found massage may also be helpful for:
- Digestive disorders
- Insomnia related to stress
- Myofascial pain syndrome
- Soft tissue strains or injuries
- Sports injuries
- Temporomandibular joint pain
Beyond the benefits for specific conditions or diseases, some people enjoy massage because it often produces feelings of caring, comfort and connection.