Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Massage Therapy - Benefits of Massage
Massage is no longer available only through luxury spas and upscale health clubs. Today, massage therapy is offered in businesses, clinics, hospitals and even airports. If you've never tried massage, learn about the possible health benefits of massage and what to expect during a massage therapy session.
As you lie on the table under crisp, fresh sheets, hushed music draws you into the moment. The smell of sage fills the air and you hear the gentle sound of massage oil being warmed in your therapist's hands. The pains of age, the throbbing from your overstressed muscles, the sheer need to be touched -- all cry out for therapeutic hands to start their work. Once the session gets underway, the problems of the world fade into an oblivious 60 minutes of relief and all you can comprehend right now is not wanting it to end.
An increasing number of research studies show massage reduces heart rate, lowers blood pressure, increases blood circulation and lymph flow, relaxes muscles, improves range of motion, and increases endorphins (enhancing medical treatment). Although therapeutic massage does not increase muscle strength, it can stimulate weak, inactive muscles and, thus, partially compensate for the lack of exercise and inactivity resulting from illness or injury. It also can hasten and lead to a more complete recovery from exercise or injury.
In response to massage, specific physiological and chemical changes cascade throughout the body, with profound effects. Research shows that with massage:
* Arthritis sufferers note fewer aches and less stiffness and pain.
* Asthmatic children show better pulmonary function and increased peak air flow.
* Burn injury patients report reduced pain, itching, and anxiety.
* High blood pressure patients demonstrate lower diastolic blood pressure, anxiety, and stress hormones.
* Premenstrual syndrome sufferers have decreased water retention and cramping.
* Preterm infants have improved weight gain.