Massage has become one of the most popular trends among health-conscious people in self-care. Recent research states that around 47.5 million adults in the United States received at least one massage in 2020. This data clearly shows the growing demand for massage as a holistic approach to health. Massage has numerous benefits. It provides both physical and mental health benefits.
Additionally, it is now integrated into standard treatment procedures. The potential benefits of massage are limitless. So, let’s explore the world of massage therapy and its health benefits in the discussion below.
What is Massage Therapy?
Massage is usually about applying gradual pressures on different points of the body. It involves kneading of the body, which won’t have tissues. It is an entire or part-body treatment. The practitioners use their hands, fingers, elbows or machines for massaging the body. They perform stroking, kneading, and rubbing with varying pressure each time. There are various sorts of massage for different purposes.
Different Types of Massage
Each type of massage has its benefits. You can select any massage that fits your needs. You can also make a routine after consulting a licensed massage therapist. You can explore various types of massage to find the best one for you. Listed below are the main types of massage and their advantages:
Hot Stone massage
A hot stone massage is a popular massage therapy. Hot stones are used in this massage. Hot stones are kept on different body junctions to increase blood circulation. The stones increase mobility around the body’s joints and ensure better flexibility. This massage eases the tense muscles & damaged soft tissues. The massage therapist uses heated stones with their hands. They generally apply pressure using those massage-specific stones. Here are some advantages of stone massage:
- Reduces stress
- Eases muscle spasm
- Decreases pain
- Promote blood circulation
The Thai massage therapist uses gentle pressure and stretching to relax the entire body. This ancient massage technique originated in India. However, the system that Thai massage therapists use is very different. In Swedish or shiatsu massage, the client passively lies on a bed. In Thai massage, the customer lies on the floor & participates in the massage more actively.
Here are some benefits of Thai massage therapy:
- Relieves muscle tension
- Lowers physical pain
- Reduces Stress and anxiety
- Treats headache and back pain
- Boosts energy
- Increase flexibility and movement
Lymphatic massage is a gentle body massage that is used to increase the lymph movement in the body. It is particularly used in disease conditions like lymphedema. In such conditions, the arms and legs of the patient swell up due to lymph build-up. It can happen when the lymphatic system starts malfunctioning. People often get a lymphatic massage to reduce the swelling. Some advantages of lymphatic massage are listed below:
- Lymphatic massage is used to drain the lymph fluid in the body.
- It is helpful for the breast cancer surgery patients.
- It reduces swelling and lymphedema.
- It decreases pain through lymph fluid circulation.
Swedish massages are one of the most common types of massages. This massage therapy involves kneading, vibration, percussion, tapping & rolling. Lotion or essential oil is also used to protect the skin from friction. In Swedish massage, the client has to remove his clothes first. Then, the therapist covers his body with a sheet while he is lying on the massage table. The massage expert will keenly work on different parts of the body one by one. Here are the advantages of Swedish massage:
- Increases the oxygen levels in the bloodstream
- Improves blood circulation and flexibility
- Reduces muscle toxins
- Reduces muscle tension
- It promotes the feel-good hormones like serotonin, oxytocin, and dopamine.
- Highly effective for reducing stress and anxiety. It reduces the stress hormone cortisol made by the adrenal glands.
- Enhances the immune system
Sports massage is a special form of massage for the athletes. It prepares the body for athletic activity and maintains it in optimum condition. It is also helpful for recovering from sports injuries. There are three types of sports massage. This includes event-preparation massage, post-event massage, and maintenance massage. Here are a few advantages of a sports massage:
- Sports massage improves the body flexibility of the athletes.
- It fastens recovery time.
- It reduces muscle pain.
- It helps to prevent sports-related injuries.
- It also minimizes muscle tension.
Aromatherapy massage is one of the most ancient types of massage. Essential oils and popular scents like lavender, lemon, bergamot, peppermint, and rose are used here. A few advantages of aromatherapy massage are:
- This type of massage helps in relaxing the muscles.
- It improves blood circulation.
- It promotes better sleep.
- It enhances mental well-being.
- It elevates a positive mood.
Deep Tissue Massage
Deep tissue massage targets deep layers of muscle & the surrounding tissues. Generally, it is applied in case of sports injuries or chronic pain. Here are a few advantages of a deep tissue massage:
- Deep tissue massage helps in relieving chronic pain.
- It helps to ease stiffness caused by arthritis.
- Relieves stress.
Benefits of Taking Regular Massage
Massage therapy has some common advantageous effects. Also, it is efficient in many disease conditions. Cardian and cancer patients have found positive effects of regular massage therapy. Before starting a massage, you should talk to your therapist or physician. Let’s explore the advantages of massage now.
Massage counteracts sitting at a desk all day.
Most of the office jobs nowadays require sitting at a desk all day. In this way, we carry stress heavily on our shoulders and neck. Massage therapy could relieve postural stress. This type of stress arises from long periods of sitting. Massage can help improve the overall posture. If you have a desk job, you must pay attention to any pain or weakness in the lower back, neck, and shoulders. You can get a massage after a busy month at work and significantly counteract the associated adverse health effects.
Massage improves energy levels.
Regular massage therapy is effective in increasing blood circulation. You can take a massage if you are feeling tired. It will give you a refreshing feeling. Regular massages also help boost attention span and improve energy levels.
Massage lowers Blood Pressure.
Massage can help combat high blood pressure. Massage increases blood flow throughout the body. A study published in the journal Biological Research for Nursing found evidence to support that. 10 minutes of massage thrice a week can lower blood pressure significantly.
Reduces side effects during Chemotherapy
Massage can help fight the side effects of Chemotherapy, radiation or biotherapy. Cancer patients can get messages regularly to reduce the adverse side effects of this cancer treatment.
Assists in Rehabilitation after Stroke
There is medical evidence behind this fact. Research over many years has found that the use of massage for isolated issues can help recover from a stroke. The post-stroke massage therapy is impactful for increasing sensorimotor function and motor skills. Also, it reduces anxiety and physiological stress to promote a healthy life. More precisely, massage increases serotonin levels, which can lessen an individual’s risk of heart attack.
Improves Athletic Performance
Massage therapy is an outstanding tool for improving athletic performance. It helps in reducing muscle soreness. Also, it boosts blood circulation to increase the players’ physical fitness.
The demand and popularity of massage are increasing day by day. Getting a massage for the first time can be an exciting and transformative experience. You should choose the right massage therapy, depending on your health condition. Hopefully, this article will help you in this regard.
What happens after a massage?
A massage gives relaxation and physical comfort. Along with this, massage has other benefits. Individuals commonly experience reduced muscle tension and elevated mood after a massage. Massage also gives a refreshing vibe and a sense of well-being to the clients.
How long should a typical massage session last for maximum benefits?
A typical massage session usually lasts for 60 to 90 minutes. This time range is perfect for the therapist to address specific concerns and work on different muscle groups.
How effective is massage therapy for stress?
Massage therapy is considered effective for stress reduction. It reduces the stress hormone cortisol levels. At the same time, it increases the happy hormones serotonin and dopamine. As a result, massage promotes a state of relaxation, which ultimately contributes to stress relief.
How frequently should one receive neck massages?
If you are dealing with chronic neck pain, regular massages can be beneficial. The neck pain may be stemmed from a car accident, a sports-related incident, or poor posture. Whatever the case, a 60-minute massage twice or thrice a week could be beneficial. However, it is better if you talk to a health practitioner first about your approach towards regular neck massage.