If you are searching for massage therapy benefits articles, then you are at the right place with complete information regarding the benefits of massage therapy. Massage is a system of methodical hand movements, i.e. a combination of grips that the therapist applies to the patient. Massage can be therapeutic, sports, relaxing, aromatic, anti-cellulite, etc.
It has a direct mechanical effect on the tissues of the human body. If you make sure that the massage is performed properly by an expert with practiced movements, knowledge of the anatomy and problems of the body related to the massage, you will enjoy many surprising benefits of massage.
An ancient Indian proverb says that the one who practices a massage every day will not suffer from poor health. Massage is one of the most famous methods of relaxation and healing. The word massage comes from the Arabic word “massa”, meaning touch. Massage involves a number of different techniques but is based on pressing, stretching, and smoothing muscles and connective tissues with varying intensity. The most famous types of massage include Swedish, sports, shiatsu, aromatherapy, and Ayurvedic massage.
Massage Therapy History Facts
Massage is probably the oldest form of medical and healing treatment. It has been in use since ancient times and different nations. Namely, ancient Chinese, Indian, and Egyptian manuscripts mention massages as very good tools for the prevention and treatment of various diseases and injuries. In Greece and Rome, massage was used after sports, for faster recovery from illness, after bathing, and for various conditions, such as asthma, digestion problems, and even infertility. Likewise, massage is a key part of Ayurvedic medicine.
In Europe, a great influence on popularizing massage was brought through the Swedish massage. Today, Swedish massage is offered at wellness centers and massage salons everywhere in the world, and many other types of massage have their roots in Swedish massage.
Today, it is generally accepted that massage is of great therapeutic value. Thousands of people around the world use it as a great way to stay healthy and reinforce their healing.
How Does Massage Therapy Work?
Massage is suitable for all ages. In addition, you can even perform it yourself. It is not necessary to massage the whole body to achieve the desired effect.
Research shows that as many as ninety percent of different diseases are caused by different kinds of stress. Massage is an excellent way to relieve stress like different types of facial massage, and, thanks to the application of relaxing essential oils, the results can be surprising (1). In this way, you can experience the long term benefits of massage.
Massage relaxes both mentally and physically. If you are stressed, treat yourself with a quality massage – it will definitely provide instant relief.
Massage for Health-Benefits of Massage Therapy
Massage helps in Insomnia
Massage is a great solution for insomnia (1). Most residents of industrialized countries suffer from insomnia, lack of sleep or insufficiently restorative sleep. All this adversely affects the physiology, makes the body more susceptible to inflammation and infections, and increases the sensitivity to pain. Without enough sleep, the body cannot rest and get a chance to heal.
Research suggests that therapeutic massage contributes to deeper and better sleep, especially in people who suffer from pain, e.g. due to fibromyalgia. Massage promotes good sleep because it relieves pain and relaxes the muscles and mind. A regular visit to massage centers promotes deep and quality sleep. It is best to do a full body massage, but if you do not have time, a back or foot massage will be sufficient.
Good for Heart
For heart patients, massage is extremely beneficial as it relaxes and lowers blood pressure. Massage can greatly improve mood (1). In sports, massage relieves muscle cramps and inflammation, improves endurance and mobility. You should massage the most active muscles before exercising. After exercising, a good massage relieves fatigue and exhaustion (1).
Benefits of Massage for Weight Loss
Massage is also important for the weight-loss process (1). It can strongly stimulate circulation, as well as establish proper digestion. Likewise, it speeds up the excretion of toxins, stimulates metabolism and the lymphatic system, promotes better posture, strengthens the will, and works wonders for your skin. In the same vein, anti-cellulite massage strengthens your skin tone, improves circulation, and speeds up a fat loss at critical points.
Heals Sore Muscles
Most noteworthy, it heals sore muscles (1). Namely, massage helps with tense and painful muscles, in which, due to fatigue, lactic acid builds up. While the healing effect of touch on sore muscles has long been known, recent research has suggested an unexpected analgesic mechanism or different kinds of massage. In the same vein, massage relieves muscle tension. Numerous activities require unnatural postures of your body, which can cause muscle tension.
This tension is not only physically unpleasant but also weakens your mental capacity. The feeling of constant tension, even mild, contributes to chronic hormonal, biochemical and neurological problems. The muscle connective tissue that surrounds the muscles, becoming denser and less pliable, adversely affects posture and breathing. Constant muscle tension impedes blood flow and nutrient delivery to organs and tissues. Massage lowers the concentration of stress hormones and breaks down the tension, bringing the body into a state of balance.
Moreover, massage can significantly help in relieving headaches (2). Mental tension causes headaches, but the massage relieves them. Massage at critical points is the most effective therapy – places where muscle tissue is strongly contracted. Critical points on the shoulders and neck convey pain to the head.
Therefore, by reducing tension at critical points, we also alleviate the headache. Massage also helps break down the proteins responsible for muscle spasms. When the proteins are separated, the cells relax and the muscle tension relaxes. As a result, the headache should stop too.
Affects the Full Structure of the Body
In a physical sense, a well-crafted and performed massage affects all the structures of our body (2). The massage movements themselves stimulate the surface of our body, thus cleansing of the skin from the epidermal waste, which allows us to open the pores and improve our breathing, which also takes place significantly across our skin.
This regulates the work of the sweat and sebaceous glands, and the tension of the skin is enhanced by the stimulation of collagen and elastin in it. Improved circulation, which is manifested by redness on the surface of the skin, indicates a better metabolism of the skin, allowing it to supply more oxygen and nutrients, as well as better detoxification of harmful products of metabolism.
To sum up, different kinds of massage are useful in the following cases:
- Back pain
- Rheumatism and arthritis
- Stress and insomnia
- Headaches and migraines
- Muscle inflammation
- Depression and tension
- Cellulite and obesity
- Fatigue and exhaustion
- Weak immune system
- Heart disease (2).
Application of Essential Oils in Massage Therapy
Vegetable and essential oils are the integral parts of every masseur’s equipment. They give the massage a new dimension, and their scents can be relaxing or stimulating (3).
Essential oils should always be diluted in a base oil, carefully closed and kept in a cool, dark place. Here are the effects of some of the most popular essential oils:
acts as a natural antiseptic help with depression and acne. The oil is phototoxic which means that, after the massage with this oil, you should not expose the skin to the sun for a few hours.
A natural antiseptic stimulates, helps with coughs, colds, and pain.
Soothing, antidepressant, helps with headaches, insect bites and mosquitoes.
A natural antiseptic and analgesic, it has a soothing effect, helps with headache and insomnia, stimulates circulation.
It has a calming effect, is a natural aphrodisiac, helps with anxiety and insomnia, nourishes dry skin.
It acts as a stimulant and reinforcers memory, relieves rheumatic pain. It is suitable for sports massage.
Anti-depressant and natural antiseptic also acts as an aphrodisiac, recommended for the care of sensitive skin.
This is a natural antiseptic, soothing and antidepressant.
- Tea Tree
It works against fungi and bacteria, soothes.
Benefits of Different Types of Massage Therapy
Today, we know that there are several hundreds of different kinds of massages in the world. Some of them are a thousand years old, while others are relatively new. Here are some of the most popular types of massage.
Relax Massage Therapy Benefits
Relax massage is a mild, gentle massage that aims for relaxation of the body through several different energy flow control techniques. It aims to nourish the body to raise the overall health level. It is used to prevent stress and fatigue, as well as provide muscle relaxation.
It can be done by relaxing the whole body or partially its individual segments, including legs, back, feet, arms, neck, abdomen, chest, and face. Relax massage is applicable to almost anyone. Long movements will increase circulation and reduce stress, while deep movements will alleviate chronic pain and relieve tension.
Anticellulite Massage Therapy Benefits
The main goal of the anti-cellulite massage is to dissolve the dead skin cells and rigid subcutaneous tissue and to enhance the circulation and increase the heat in this part of the tissue. In addition, a certain amount of relaxation is achieved, but this is not the primary goal of this massage.
Grips of varying intensity are used on the thighs on both sides and on the legs. The front parts of legs and feet are massaged as in a classic massage, but slightly more intense. The legs must be massaged as a whole even if cellulite is not present everywhere.
The duration of one massage, when both legs are treated, should not be less than 30-40 minutes. For optimum results, at least 3 batches should be done.
Sports Massage Therapy Benefits
This massage type can be applied before, during or after intense training or competition. The goal of sports massage is to quickly and efficiently eliminate all the harmful and undesirable consequences resulting from the increased psychophysical efforts of athletes.
Classical interventions are also used here, but they are specifically tailored to the type of sport, athletes, and goals to be achieved. The organization of the massage, as well as the conditions for its implementation, are significantly different from the therapeutic massage. An athlete’s massage must be adapted to the specific circumstances of the sport, as well as the terrain (terrain, locker room, ring, mat, etc.)
Sports massage has the following effects:
- Warms up and softens the tissues,
- aligns muscle fibers,
- improves circulation,
- accelerates the discharge of waste matter and lactic acid from the body.
Athletes usually enjoy the daily massage benefits as they significantly improve their performance.
Anti-stress Massage Benefits
Daily amounts of stress can greatly damage our physical and mental health. If we occasionally find certain stress relief valves, the accumulated negative energy and stress will be much easier for our body to cope with. Anti-stress massage is a full-body massage relying on selected massage oils, and paying special attention to the head, forehead, and foot massage. The goal is to:
- Reduce the psycho-physical tension,
- improve vitality,
- eliminate stress and muscle tension.
Antistress massage is a blend of several different manual massage techniques, further enriched with a blend of essential oils. Oils significantly reduce pain and successfully remove the accumulated tension and toxins from the body, thus restoring vitality.
Shiatsu Massage Benefits
Shiatsu massage is a manual acupressure treatment technique originating from ancient Japan. It is based on the philosophy of the traditional Chinese medicine: the disease is caused by an imbalance between the Yin and Yang. The goals of Shiatsu massage include bringing a healthy body and a peaceful mind to the individual, with opening the gates of creativity, wisdom, vitality and the joy of life. Benefits of a Shiatsu massage include: • Neck, back, head pain relief, • Rheumatism relief • Solving the problem of stiffness in joints, muscles • Solving problems in metabolism, circulation • Reducing digestive problems (cramps, constipation, nausea) • Reducing respiratory problems (sinusitis, asthma, shortness of breath, allergies) • Reducing and solving gynecological problems (painful periods, irregular PMS cycles, • Solving psychological problems (fear, anxiety, depression, PTSD (if under the supervision of a doctor, as support and relaxation) • Solving sleep disorders, and all other disorders related to a stressful lifestyle.
Full Body Massage Benefits
Almost all of our health problems and illnesses have aside, a symptom or a cause that can be relieved thanks to a massage. Whether it is a problem regarding joints and muscles, respiratory system, heart and blood vessels, glands with internal secretion (thyroid, pancreas …), digestive system, etc., a full body massage can be extremely helpful. This type of massage is an integral part of medicine and very serious business.
This type of massage is usually administered for treatment purposes, on a daily basis. Massage is a great introduction to kinesitherapy exercises as it improves blood circulation, relaxes, and prepares the muscles, ligaments, and joints for successful movement.
Also, great results are achieved with a combination of manual and hydro full body massage. For some problems, ultrasound can be used before manual full body massage.
The greatest benefit of this type of massage is the fact that it acts as a boost to the immune system. How does massage boost our immune system? In the intercellular space, lymph accumulates, which binds a significant percentage of toxins and metabolic products. Stimulation, lymphatic drainage, and excretion of the above substances via the kidneys, intestines, skin, and breathing are important to our immune system.
Likewise, the process of proper, deep breathing, on which the massager, during the massage, insists has the same task. The establishment of psychophysical balance, the balance of the flow of energy, and the harmonization of body thermoregulation make a significant contribution to our immune system.
The beneficial effects of the aromatherapy oils, which are prepared according to precise recipes and, as such, affect the body, and especially the immune system, must be noted here. Spa massage benefits are similar to the above-mentioned full body massage effects. Blood circulation is improved, general blood vessel strength and health, as well as blood pressure and body resistance, are regulated. Similarly, a good and regular spa massage improves your immune system.
Disadvantages of Body Massage
Contraindications for the use of massage include acute inflammation, febrility, bleeding, malignant tumors, skin diseases, acute infectious diseases, etc. In addition, massage is not advisable if you have certain types of viruses, have a fever, if you have been drinking alcohol or taking narcotics, and if you have just taken a painkiller.
The first association when we mention the ancient art of body treatment – massage, is relaxation. However, there are far greater benefits of massage therapy for our body. No matter where it comes from and which tradition and culture it is associated with, and there are quite a number of them, the basic goal is to establish and maintain a balance of body, mind, and soul.
Ideally, a personalized massage should be created solely according to the patient’s sensibility, problem, age, profession, mood, and needs. Other than that, there are many famous, specialized types of massage available in spa centers around the world. In this way, massage in everyday life has a significant place in a preventive and therapeutic and cosmetic sense.
Massage is also known to influence the harmonization of the internal organs. Belly massage has a beneficial effect on the function of the small and large intestine, kidney, liver, spleen, and pancreas. Massage of the interplanetary part relaxes tension in the chest and improves breathing.
Therefore, you should treat yourself with a good massage at least two times a month. If you can afford it and find time for it, you will definitely enjoy the countless benefits of weekly massage.
Massage Research References
- Vickers A, Zollman C, Reinish JT. Massage therapies. West J Med. 2001 Sep;175(3):202–204. PMCID: PMC1071543. Found online on https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1071543/
- Field T. Massage therapy research review. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2014 Nov;20(4):224-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2014.07.002. Epub 2014 Aug 1. PMID: 25172313; PMCID: PMC5467308. Found online on: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5467308/
- Hongratanaworakit T. Aroma-therapeutic effects of massage blended essential oils on humans. Nat Prod Commun. 2011 Aug;6(8):1199-204. Found online on https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21922934