The popularity of massage therapy has grown so much over the past few years that it is now thought of as a mainstream treatment rather than an alternative treatment choice. One area where this change of attitude is clearly shown is within the insurance industry, where coverage now frequently covers massage treatments as part of a course of treatment following illness or injury.
A massage treatment involves a hands on therapy where specific techniques can relieve stress and tension, decrease feelings of anxiety, increase circulation, improve sleep quality and generate a sense of relaxation, as well as many other benefits. The muscles, tendons and connective tissue are known as the body’s soft tissue and if someone has suffered injury to these areas, are tense and need relief from the pain resulting from this damage, then it may well be worth looking into the benefits that massage therapy could bring them.
1. Relief of stress:
The negative impact of stress is part of today’s fast paced life across the world. Some cultures and massage therapists already know that massage reduces stress, but now considerable bodies of research back this up. This stimulates recipients on both physical and emotional levels.
2. Relief of post-operative pain
Research shows that massage is shown to decrease post-operative pain, its intensity and the related distress which in turn can lessen the need for analgesics and increase the feeling of well being. It accelerates the decrease of post-operative pain and increases levels of calmness.
3. Reduce anxiety
Seemingly the number of people who suffer from anxiety disorders is increasing year on year and its effects can shape the quality of life of those individuals who are affected in a radical and negative way. Broad areas of research show that massage therapy can help reduce many types of anxiety, both physical and emotional.
4. Manage low back pain
Many examples of low back pain are work related, the appropriate massage therapy is effective for this condition, easing pain and reducing the necessity for time off of work.
5. Help fibromyalgia pain
Fibromyalgia presents as chronic pain in the muscles, ligaments, tendons and other soft tissues and can often be suffered alongside chronic fatigue, migraine and other sleep problems, it affects more women than men and children. Massage therapy can help manage this disorder and give relief from the pain.
6. Reduce muscle tension
Those taking part in exercise and sport, both at an amateur or professional level, or perhaps simply as part of a health regime, can find that a sports massage helps improve performance and recovery, improve conditioning, and prevent injury when given by a specialist therapist.
7. Enhance exercise performance
Those taking part in exercise programmes will experience benefits from a sports massage as it improves soft tissue function and helps muscle tone. Following exercise it helps decrease muscle stiffness and fatigue and also decreases muscle soreness and swelling.
8. Relieve tension headaches
This is the most common type of headache, triggered by stress and contracting the muscles in the neck, face, scalp, and jaw resulting in anxiety, lack of sleep, even depression. It presents as a constant pressure to the front of the face, or to the head and neck. Research has shown that tension headaches can benefit from massage therapy.
9. Improvement of sleep quality
Massage therapy can help improve sleep; poor sleep patterns are associated with a number of chronic diseases and conditions—such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression. A direct result of sleep loss can be injury at work or on the road due to tiredness and lack of concentration, or simply a feeling of reduced quality of life.
10. Easing symptoms of depression
The feeling of general emotional dejection and withdrawal, sadness beyond the natural expectation, emptiness and pessimism are all typical symptoms of depression. Massage therapy can improve the mood and as part of a collaborative treatment reduce depression.
11. Improvement of cardiovascular health
Already accepted by many that massage is an important approach to relieving muscle pain or as a means to relax, clients now appreciate that working with a qualified massage therapist can also play a significant role in improving cardiovascular health. It is logical that if stress is decreased, then wellness will increase. Measures of oxygen consumption, blood pressure, and salivary cortisol levels were all lower after as little as a 10 to 15 minute massage.
12. Reduction of pain of osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis may be due to excessive weight bearing, sports, overuse of the joint, and the general aging process, additionally, problems may be caused by a traumatic injury. Massage therapies can treat pain including joint pain or stiffness or other joint conditions, arthritis, and other musculoskeletal conditions.
13. Lessening of stress in cancer patients
Recent studies show massage therapy can reduce pain, stress, nausea, depression, distress, anxiety and fatigue, while improving health related quality of life for cancer patients. Pain may be the result of cancer treatment, such as chemotherapy, radiation or surgery, or a symptom of cancer growth, which can destroy tissue and add pressure on nerves, bones and organs; patients find massage therapy significantly reduces pain compared to the conventional standard of care alone.
14. Improvement of balance in older adults
A growing number of aging adults receive massage therapy as part of their integrated care to alleviate aches and pains and promote relaxation, regularly receiving massage as part of a regular healthcare regime can contribute towards a better quality of life and whilst also improving stability and posture.
15. Decrease of rheumatoid arthritis pain
Based on recent evidence, massage therapy can provide significant improvement for pain, anxiety and health-related quality of life for those looking to manage the pain of rheumatoid arthritis. Pain is multi-dimensional and may be better addressed through an integrative approach.
16. Temper effects of dementia
Many older adults find a better quality of life and additional relief from a multitude of health issues by receiving massage therapy, including tempering the effects of dementia by promoting relaxation and reducing anxiety. Even a brief massage can reduce agitation behaviour in older adults living with dementia, such as the physical expressions of pacing or wandering.
17. Promotion of relaxation
With an increased focus on improving and prolonging quality of life in the population, the understanding of massage therapy and relaxation is playing an ever increasing part. There are many benefits of massage therapy, including the role it can play in overall health and well-being.
18. Lowering of blood pressure
The risks of high blood pressure, which can lead to cardiovascular issues including stroke, heart disease and kidney failure, can with proactive management, give individuals their chance of lessening the development of these conditions. In a study on the effect of trigger point therapy, there was a significant decrease in heart rate, systolic blood pressure, and diastolic blood pressure.
19. Decrease of symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome
Massage can reduce pain and pain intensity in patients with bone pain on an immediate, intermediate and long term time frame. It is recognised that massage improves subjective perception of and function for those with carpal tunnel syndrome.
20. Helping reduce chronic neck pain
Pain affects the life, quality of life, and work of many individuals. Indeed neck pain can often be work related. Massage can reduce the incidence and frequency associated with chronic neck pain, giving relief and preventing the inability to attend to day to day duties without the recourse to analgesics.
21. Relief of lower joint replacement pain
The increase in hip replacement and knee replacement is due to several significant factors, including technological advances in prosthesis development, advances in surgical technique and an aging population. Massage therapy is proving itself helpful in a large number of ways relating to health care including post-operative care in regaining early mobility and decrease of post-op pain.
22. Increase in range of motion
It has been found that either due to age, medical challenges, or injury, regularly receiving massage has been shown to promote increased ability in the range of motion. The primary reason for massage is for medical purposes—pain relief, soreness/stiffness and the appropriate massage techniques can greatly improve mobility and motion of limbs.
23. Decrease frequency of migraine attacks
Migraine attacks can impinge negatively on an individual’s life and limiting the frequency of such attacks can be an important step. Massage therapy is seen by many sufferers as a treatment which contributes to limiting their attacks.
24. Improvement of quality of life in hospice care
In care residences, the benefits of massage therapy are increasingly apparent for these senior citizens or for those younger patients in end of life, palliative care. Studies have shown that massage therapy provides clinical benefits to hospice patients, such as decreased pain and improved quality of life.
25. Reduction of chemotherapy related nausea
Massage reduces nausea in chemotherapy patients and can also increase feelings of wellness, calm and relaxation. Massage has been shown to decrease stress, patients rested more easily, had less depression and anxiety over the sensation of nausea; massage increasing the feeling of wellness and should be included in everyone’s health management plan.