8 Benefits of Massage You’ve Probably Never Heard Of
A professional rubdown feels fabulous, invokes deep relaxation and is a favorite among the spa set for its calming yet rejuvenating effects. However, a little R&R isn’t the only perk you’ll reap. This ancient practice has some surprising health benefits you might have never considered.
The human body and mind are intricately entwined. Furthermore, the various subsystems inside of you influence one another in sometimes surprising ways. Why should you prioritize booking some table time? Here are eight benefits of massage you’ve probably never heard of.
1. It Helps to Heal Addiction
Addiction is a growing problem in American society. While cannabis use remained steady throughout the pandemic despite increased legalization, alcohol and benzodiazepine use skyrocketed, as did positive drug screens for fentanyl, heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine. These drugs are particularly concerning for their dangerous side effects and impact on criminal behavior.
The pandemic uptick demonstrates how high-stress situations and a lack of connection with other humans increase addiction. The relaxing benefits of massage lower stress hormone levels while rebuilding that all-important link to others.
When done by an informed practitioner, it can even reacquaint you with what a safe touch feels like. For example, one in five women experiences an assault in her lifetime, which can result in recoiling from physical contact until she rebuilds trust in a controlled, secure environment.
2. It Boosts Your Immunity
Stress increases the production of various hormones, most notably cortisol. Cortisol promotes inflammation and is beneficial in small amounts but can cause health woes when it gets out of control, including suppressing your body’s defense system. Therapeutic massage keeps these levels balanced so you’re better able to fight off colds, flu, COVID and RSV.
Additionally, massage benefits your immune system in the following ways:
- It improves circulation and lymphatic drainage to carry waste from your body more quickly.
- It releases endorphins, your body’s natural painkillers and mood boosters.
- It promotes better sleep, a lack of which can make you more susceptible to germs.
- It lowers blood pressure. High blood pressure weakens immunity.
3. It Protects Your Smile
You know that you should brush at least twice a day, with the nighttime scrub job being the most important for removing acid and debris before it can cause damage while you sleep. However, massage can also improve your dental health.
Although you should take care to avoid overbrushing to protect enamel, research suggests that massaging your gums with toothpaste after you eat keeps them covered in fluoride, preventing cavities, especially in those prone to them. Pair this practice with a tooth-healthy lunch, such as a spinach salad with apple and feta, and you can enjoy that fresh-mouthed feeling all afternoon, even without a brush.
4. It Can Help You Give Birth
Pregnancy creates structural changes in your body, most notably in the muscles, bones and connective tissue around your hips. Massaging this area is fantastic if you have a partner, but what if you’re a single parent-to-be? Fortunately, handheld devices can step in and serve as an extra pair of hands — seek one with an ergonomic grip and soft pads to go easy on pelvic bones.
Please don’t fall prey to the myth that prenatal massage induces labor. While it won’t bring on a premature birth, it may keep your muscles and ligaments well-conditioned, easing the birthing process.
5. It Nurtures Infant Growth
It’s not only mama that gets perks from a healing touch. Babies can also reap the benefits of massage to nurture their growth and development. The positive effects of this practice include the following:
- More restful sleep for easier nap times
- Increased awareness of the physical body
- Better digestion and less constipation
- Healthier circulation and stronger immunity
- Fewer colicky symptoms
Massaging your infant requires a gentle touch. You might place your hand on their bottom while they lay on their bellies, tap their feet with your palms or hold their hands while rubbing their hands.
6. It Can Soothe an Upset Tummy
There’s a huge gut-brain connection in your body, and psychological unrest can often result in gastrointestinal upset. The calming effects of therapeutic massage may help your IBS symptoms if mental stress contributes to worsening flares.
However, some techniques, such as deep tissue and lymphatic massage, can increase the urge to go after a session as your body rids itself of waste. Your best bet is to stay hydrated, eat high-fiber and probiotic-rich foods to nurture your intestines and avoid alcohol and other harmful substances while your body cleanses itself.
7. It Alerts You to and Eases Painful Imbalances
Doctors often recommend massage to patients with chronic pain. It addresses the mental stress of ongoing illness and its physical manifestations, which often include tight muscles.
However, many factors contribute to chronic pain, including your daily routine and behaviors. If you continually hunch at your desk or engage in other bad postural alignments, you could develop mysterious aches.
Selecting more ergonomic furniture helps, but only if you know what’s ailing you. Your massage therapist can identify areas of excess tension, inviting you to explore what may cause them — and how you can correct them.
8. It Reconnects You to What It Means to Be Human
Life today would be unfathomable to humans even a century ago. Today, you can perform a day’s labor from an isolated room, never leaving your desk or interacting with anyone. While this arrangement is convenient for employers and overall productivity during blizzards, pandemics and other conditions that make the daily commute more treacherous, it’s devastating to the human psyche.
One-third of Americans say they feel more lonely than ever before, and 37% go an entire week or more without interacting with another person in real life. The problem isn’t a lack of tech tools for connection but that they’ve taken over so much of people’s lives there’s little time left for human touch.
An hour-and-a-half massage session is a powerful way to reconnect. Learning a few techniques and sharing them with loved ones can strengthen your bond and make you feel human again instead of like the only cog with feelings, dreams, emotions and hopes in a vast, impersonal machine.
Make the Most of Massage
Myobuddy’s primary goal is always to help our clients get the most benefits out of their self-massage tools. Our tools are helping to change the game in the world of muscle therapy. If you have a question about a specific product or our other service resources, let us know and we’ll help you find the answers.