Researchers have been studying the medical, physical, and emotional benefits of therapeutic massage since the late 1800s. Their findings suggest that massage is beneficial in many daily aspects of human life. This article discusses the many proven benefits of therapeutic massage:
Stress and Anxiety Reduction
According to the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA), therapeutic massage has been found to foster peace of mind, promote a relaxed state of mental alertness, help relieve mental stress, improve ability to monitor stress signals and respond appropriately, reduce levels of anxiety, and increase awareness of mind-body connection. Studies have shown that medical students who were massaged before an exam experienced a significant decrease in anxiety and respiratory rates. Cancer patients were found to have a similar reduction of anxiety levels.
Focus and Attention
Research studies have found that office workers who receive regular massages perform better at their job tasks than those who did not receive regular massages. Additionally, office workers who were regularly massaged were more alert and less stressed than those who weren't regularly massaged. Another study performed on autistic children showed that massage could promote a reduction in the erratic behavior common among autistic individuals.
It's fairly common for pregnant women to undergo massage therapy in order to alleviate the discomfort associated with pregnancy. Additionally, athletes frequently get massaged to alleviate muscle pain. Massage has been proven to reduce the pain and swelling caused by strained muscles and sprained ligaments. Additionally, it helps to relieve tension-related headaches and headaches related to eye strain.
Rehabilitation and Healing
Therapeutic massage can stimulate weak and inactive muscles resulting in a faster, more complete recovery from an illness or injury in which inactivity causes muscle deterioration. Massage has also been shown to promote weight gain in both premature and HIV-exposed infants.
Massage improves blood circulation and lymph fluid movement. It decreases blood pressure and strengthens the immune system. People who receive regular massages have greater joint flexibility and range of motion. Massage enhances athletic performance, promotes deeper and easier breathing, enhances the health and nourishment of the skin, and improves posture.
While the physical benefits of therapeutic massage are great, perhaps the most notable effects of therapeutic massage are its emotional benefits. Many of the ailments found among persons in today's society are stress-related. Massage has been found to be extremely effective in stress and anxiety reduction, and it has also been proven to reduce the symptoms and feelings of depression. In fact, studies have shown that women who had recently experienced the death of a child were less depressed after being massaged. People who rely on prescription medications to relieve symptoms of anxiety or depression may benefit by indulging in a weekly massage session.
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