Massage chairs aren’t just a luxury. They provide many benefits that can improve your health and mental state. The history of massage therapy goes back several thousand years. The first texts came from ancient China. This text was published in 1949, but it’s estimated that it was written in 2700 BC.
As a testament to how effective massages can be, much of the same techniques in the text are still used today. Here are some of the most notable ways that regular massages can benefit you.
Reduces Stress, Anxiety and Tension
Stress and anxiety are a huge problem in America. In fact, anxiety affects over 40 million adults in the country. That’s more than 18 percent of America’s entire population. Unfortunately, not enough people take anxiety seriously. Stress is your body’s way of telling you that you need to change your environment or situation. It’s not just an emotional response, but rather a chemical one inside your body. Failing to address stress is healthy way can lead to a host of serious health issues later on down the line.
Getting massages on a regular basis beats dealing with the ramification of stress later on. When you have the opportunity to relax with a massage, your body’s cortisol levels drop by up to 30 percent. Cortisol is a stress hormone that’s released by your adrenal glands. It’s responsible for that “fight or flight” feeling that you get whenever you’re faced with a stressful situation or overall uncertainty.
Relax and Loosen Sore Muscles
Whether you like to stay active or not, muscles are prone to damage with excessive use. Pushing your body too far or performing physical movements that you’re not used to can result in muscles that feel tight and tense. In most cases, this uncomfortable feeling is a direct result of microscopic injuries. Tears within the muscle fiber can lead to inflammation.
A massage forces your body to relax, tight muscles and all. A couple of different things happen during a massage that leads to a relaxation response. Your breathing gets slower and your overall blood pressure goes down. In the area that you’re getting massaged in, circulation is improved. With better blood flow to the area, your muscles are finally able to release all of that tension they’re bottling up. This can reduce pain and speed up the recovery process.
Relieve Postoperative Pain
No one likes dealing with postoperative pain. Depending on the procedure that was done, it may take several months for the pain to subside. On top of that, you may be bedridden or unable to move around your home freely. It’s like being trapped in a world of hurt.
Luckily, massage therapy is used quite extensively for postoperative recovery. Research has shown that massages can help decrease pain and even accelerate the rate of recovery. It’s not just conjecture. There’s a lot of science backing up that claim. Essentially, massages affect how neurons react to signals of pain. After an operation, large neurons in the spinal cord can amplify pain signals, making the whole ordeal feel much worse than one would expect. Massages prevent that amplification process from occurring, effectively decreasing pain levels and improving overall comfort.
Improve Blood Flow
Proper blood circulation is a crucial part of good health. Your heart needs to be able to deliver vital oxygen and nutrients to every part of your body. Poor circulation deprives your organs and muscles of the things they need to thrive. As a result, many health issues can occur.
The very nature of getting massage helps to improve circulation in just one session. You see, as pressure is applied to your muscles, the congested area can be cleared. The squeezing and pulling motions flush out the fluids that are causing you muscle pain and allow fresh blood to come in. Because the new blood is enriched with oxygen and nutrients, improved circulation to your muscles can lead to faster recovery.
Boost Immune System
Your immune system is meant to fight off disease and keep you healthy. Though, lifestyle choices and certain medical conditions can cause it to weaken. This is especially true with older individuals.
Despite all of the other health benefits that massages provide, it wasn’t until recently that scientists were able to show that the activity can help to strengthen the immune system. Ultimately, it all comes down to your blood. A deep massage improves circulation throughout the body. Not only that, but it increases white blood cell activity. Because your blood can flow through your body better, those white blood cells can work harder to prevent illnesses from taking hold. More specifically, it’s the lymphocytes that are affected. They’re one of three different types of white blood cells.
Help Fibromyalgia Pain
Fibromyalgia is a debilitating disease that can affect everything you do. It’s a serious disorder that causes musculoskeletal pain. Those who suffer from it can experience daily pain even if they didn’t do anything to strain their muscles. About four million people in the United States are diagnosed with the condition. While there are a variety of treatment options available, regular massages can complement them.
The reason that massages are so effective is that it targets specific muscles while also benefiting the entire body. As we mentioned earlier, massages help the muscles relax. Your body’s natural reflexes to the pressure applied are to stretch, which can make the fibers more pliable and less likely to rupture.
Additionally, the increased circulation helps. As your body starts to relax, your circulatory system will flush out pain-causing fluid, which is the primary culprit of muscle pain.
Mobilize Lymphatic Circulation
Perhaps one of the most noticeable benefits of getting a massage is pain reduction. We mentioned earlier that increased circulation gets rid of pain-causing fluids. Those fluids are called lymphatic fluids. They are part of your lymphatic system, which is responsible for delivering toxins away from organs and tissue.
As you exercise or exert more physical energy than you’re used to, lymphatic fluids start to build up in your muscles. That increased pressure is, in most cases, the main cause of muscle pain. It takes some time for the fluids to be released naturally, especially if your lymphatic system isn’t doing so great.
A massage gets those fluids flowing. Deep tissue massages are the most effective for this job. The stimulation of your muscles paired with the improved circulation of your blood and lymphatic system can cause the fluids to drain out pretty quickly.
Alleviate Pain and Headaches
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could relax in a massage chair instead of reaching for that bottle of pain pills whenever you experienced a headache? Headaches are fairly common. They can be caused by certain stimuli you were exposed to and may take several hours to subside.
There are a number of reasons why you’re feeling pain. Most often, the awful sensation is caused by tension in the muscles around your head. Poor blood flow can also be the culprit. Whatever the case may be, a massage can treat it. Like we said earlier, massages can dramatically improve blood circulation and force your muscles to relax. Pain relievers, while effective, use drugs to achieve those same results. A massage is an all-natural alternative.
Decompress and Improve Spine Alignment
One of the biggest issues of hard labor and physical jobs is back pain. 80 percent of all Americans will experience back pain at some point in their life. While there are a couple of different reasons why your back may be causing strife, muscle problems are one of the most common.
You see, as the muscles in your back tense up, they can affect your spinal alignment. They can push your vertebrae out of position, which makes you susceptible to a host of other problems in the future. Your spinal cord is a crucial part of your central nervous system. So, any pain caused by your back muscles can feel amplified.
Typically, spinal decompression is the way to deal with spinal alignment issues. However, massages can help, too. Why go through an awful procedure to get relief when you can just lay back in a massage chair? The functions of the chair will get rid of tension in those back muscles and promote healing.
You don’t have to be an athlete to experience muscle pains. For many people, poor posture is the offender. When your body is in an unnatural position, your muscles, joints, and tendons will react negatively. Your muscles will become tense while your joints will cause unnecessary pressure on sensitive spots.
Getting a massage is a lot like hitting the “reset” button on your body. As your muscles relax, they will naturally align themselves back to where they are supposed to be. This may come as a surprise, but most cases of bad posture are a direct reaction to pain. You experience some discomfort standing or sitting a certain type of way. So, you shift positions without even thinking about it. Over time, your body will just get used to going into these positions. By resetting the natural position of your muscles, you can avoid those subconscious movements. To see the best results, it’s recommended that you get massages regularly.
Reduce Muscle Tension
Muscle tension is usually caused by injury and inflammation. When the muscles are overworked, the tiny fibers making up you the tissue are torn. Your body’s natural defense mechanisms kick into gear, causing inflammation. Unfortunately, things don’t always get better with time. Those tears have to heal. Scar tissue is formed, which results in tight muscles that have much less mobility than they once did.
So how does a massage help? Well, the pressure that’s applied to the muscles helps to break down the scar tissue. Scar tissue is much tougher than the muscle tissue. If you have ever experienced a physical scar on your skin, you’ll notice that it’s thick and discolored. The same thing happens inside your body as well. By breaking down that tissue, your muscles can properly heal.
Generate More Flexibility
When the scar tissue is manipulated, you may also experience another great benefit. Because that tight feeling is removed, your flexibility is improved. The localized pressure is sort of like stretching. While you may be doing nothing but sitting in a top rated massage chair, your muscles react to the pressure by lightly flexing. Over time, you’ll notice better agility and more mobility.
Massages can even help to improve joint health, which affects flexibility. Like muscles, joints can get stiff with time. A massage can cause produce more joint fluid, which makes it easier for them to function without any issues.
Regulate High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is an issue that can have lasting effects on your health. Severe health complications can occur if you don’t take the steps to reduce your blood pressure levels. These include strokes, heart attacks, aneurysms, and more. High blood pressure is no joke. It’s estimated that over 75 million people suffer from it.
While your diet and activity levels can affect your blood pressure, one factor that contributes to it is much harder to manage. Stress levels can cause your blood pressure to skyrocket. In times of extreme stress, you’re at a higher risk of suffering a stroke or heart attack.
Massages are great for managing stress levels. Your body’s natural production of stress-causing hormones decreases significantly after just a single massage session.
Reduce Pain of Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is a fairly common issue that plagues people all over the world. People with osteoarthritis don’t have the support in their joints that they need to stay comfortable. Wear and tear breaks down the crucial cartilage that cushions the joints. Without that support, the joints can cause immense pain. This leads to decreased mobility and noticeable stiffness.
Massages are often a regular part of the treatment plan for osteoarthritis sufferers. Localized massages in the knees, legs, and arms promote relaxation. The muscles surrounding the joints are able to release their tension. Also, the increased circulation may result in more joint fluid, which can do wonders in terms of comfort. Many osteoarthritis sufferers experience less pain and more flexibility after a short targeted massage.
Decrease Stress in Cancer Patients
If you’re dealing with cancer, stress can take its toll. Battling cancer is no easy endeavor. Depending on the type of treatment you’re using, you may be faced with constant illness and fatigue. To make matters worse, your body is undergoing big changes. All of these factors add up to increased stress.
Many cancer hospitals have started to implement massage therapy into their treatment routines. They have found that regular massages help patients manage their stress levels better. From a biological standpoint, massages reduce cortisol levels while increasing endorphin levels. Endorphins are hormones that are responsible for joy and positive feelings. Those changes can have a significant effect on a patient’s mental well-being.
Enhance Exercise Performance
For seasoned athletes, massages are simply another part of the training regime. That’s because they can improve performance over time. A deep tissue massage is capable of speeding up the recovery process after an intense workout. Not only but, a targeted massage is capable of improving flexibility and range of motion. Pair those benefits with increased blood circulation and you have the perfect recipe to help your body reach its peak performance level.
Improve Balance in Older Adults
Once people start to get older, many bodily functions are affected. One of the biggest is balance. Whether you realize it or not, your balance directly affects everything you do. It helps to keep you safe and aware of your surroundings at all times. Once the sense of balance starts to go, you’re at risk for serious injury. Slip and fall accidents are more common than they should be. About a third of all people over the age of 65 report a fall every year.
Massages can be used as a tool to combat balance issues. The biggest way that massage therapy can help is by improving circulation. A common complaint among seniors is that they start to lose the feeling in their lower body. Eventually, this causes a bit of a disconnect, increasing the likelihood of a fall. Increase circulation can help to restore feeling in the legs and improve proprioception.
Do you have issues falling asleep at night? If so, it’s not something you should take likely. Insomnia can lead to a number of issues the longer it goes unaddressed. Not only do have decreased alertness while you navigate the world, but your physical health can also take a toll.
There are many reasons why people experience sleep issues. However, lower serotonin levels are commonly found in people with insomnia. Serotonin is a hormone that’s responsible for making you feel calm and light. Massages are all about relaxation. We already know that a massage can decrease stress hormones. You’ll be happy to know that the activity is also capable of triggering more serotonin production as well. So, kiss those sleepless nights goodbye.
Keep Depression at Bay
All of the previous benefits play a big part in keeping depression at bay. It’s estimated that over 300 million people suffer from depression. Though, that’s only an estimate. There’s likely to be many more that suffer in silence. Plus, there are people who have chronic depression over long periods of time.
It’s a real epidemic that needs to be addressed. Unfortunately, there are far too many factors that contribute to depression. Physical pain, emotional stress, ongoing anxiety, and so much more can cause people to feel void and emotionless. A massage can help in many ways. Not only are you able to address issues that are causing depression in the first place, but the activity can also cause a chemical response in the brain.
Massages have been shown to trigger more endorphin production. Endorphins can increase mood levels and produce more positive emotions.
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