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Many people take a massage to be an indulgence to be enjoyed by the rich and wealthy or a way of relieving body stress. What many do not know is that a massage can also be a powerful tool for health and well-being that can actually keep you away from your doctor. Below are some benefits of massage that maybe you never thought existed
1. Soothes tension headaches and migraines
According to Albert Moraska, PhD, a university of Colorado researcher of complementary medicine based in Denver, pain trigger points in the neck and shoulders relay pain to the head. According to Moraska, reducing the activity of these trigger points can reduce the headaches. One effective way that Moraska found to be particularly effective was massaging the shoulders and neck in order to reduce tension. When this tension is reduced, the triggers are disrupted because the muscle cells in these areas relax.
2. Relieves lower back pain
In 2008, the Cochrane Collaboration published an examination of the evidence that shows massage relieves lower back pain. This is because a massage increases circulation. The theory behind it is that pain travels and affects small-diameter nerves, while a massage affects the larger diameter nerves. Because large diameter nerves relay messages to the brain faster than small diameter nerves, a massage with its soothing effect will waive off the pain relays from the lower back.
3. Alleviates anxiety
In a 2004 meta-analysis publication, psychologist Christopher Moyer found out that on average subjects who received a massage treatments had lower levels of anxiety than those who did not. The main reason behind this is that a massage lowers the body’s level of cortisol, the hormone that triggers the “fight-or-flight” mode. Moyer claimed that after a massage subjects showed low levels of cortisol and though it may not be the only thing responsible, massage significantly contributed.
4. Reduces symptoms of depression
According to Moyer, in the same 2004 publication, massages had big effects on reducing symptoms of depression. According to him, depression patients receiving massage treatment had 73% lower levels of depression than those who did not. The reasoning behind this is that a massage treatment helps to increase the body’s natural levels of serotonin. Serotonin is a natural substance in the body that works like ‘Prozac’ in the brain. Tiffany Field a researcher at the Touch institute also states that a massage also enhances the brain to release dopamine, a neurotransmitter that acts as a mood enhancer and oxycytocin, a hormone that generates feelings of contentment.
5. Restores deep sleep
Surprisingly, according to the Hong Kong therapists one in five Asians suffers from sleep deprivation. Lack of sleep lowers immunity, makes people more sensitive to pain, as well as making them more vulnerable to inflammation. This is a big problem. The body needs enough sleep in order to heal naturally. Thus if this lacks, no healing occurs. Therapists state that a massage can greatly help people, especially those with chronic pain or lower back pain to get better, deeper, and less-disturbed sleep. A massage also soothes tired muscles leading to relaxation, a critical component to healthy sleep.