Getting a massage is a luxury only to be indulged in on special occasions, right? Wrong! Massage is well-known as a tool for relaxation and has many benefits beyond a self-pampering session.
Massage therapy can be a key part of long-term treatment or a preventative measure, particularly for issues arising from stress, tension and anxiety. So, if you’ve been tossing up trying out massage as a form of pain relief or self-care, check out these reasons why it might be a good idea for you.
Help with pain and tension
For a number of people, chronic pain can be related to mobility or musculoskeletal problems. If this is the case for you, massage has been shown to be a very beneficial part of a pain management routine. For example, studies1 have found that in treatment for chronic lower back pain, massage was more effective for reducing symptoms than other forms of care such as progressive muscle relaxation, exercise, and placebos.
Relieve tension headaches and migraines
One of the main causes of tension headaches are trigger points (“knots”) in the muscles of the head, neck and shoulders, which form when they get tight and can send pain up into the head2. Your remedial massage therapist will directly target these points, getting to the root of the issue. This treatment can both reduce the frequency of migraines and help you sleep better3 by relieving built up tension. Significantly, these improvements last up to 3 weeks after massage treatment.
Reduce stress and promote better sleep
Stress can have a huge impact on our health and it’s becoming increasingly common in our busy modern lives. Massage stimulates the release of neurotransmitters such as endorphins and serotonin4 which contribute to relaxation and mood improvement, as well as pain-relief. In fact, studies have revealed that acupressure massage enhances sleep quality, vitality, emotional balance and therefore, mental health in many patients.5
The best news is that you don’t need to splurge on a marathon massage to reap the benefits. One workplace study6 showed that a 15-minute seated massage immediately reduced blood pressure, substantiating previous studies where subjective results from participants indicated that massage therapy reduced stress.
Assist with menstrual pain
Menstrual pain can be a regular, recurring problem for many of us, and especially for those suffering from conditions such as endometriosis. Researchers have found that not only is massage an effective way to significantly and immediately reduce pain levels, it is also inexpensive, has no side effects and is often long lasting. In one study, none of the patients treated with massage therapy experienced “severe” menstrual pain after treatment7.
Promote wellness during pregnancy
Pregnancy can wreak havoc on the body and seeking chiropractic or massage therapy can help manage the physical changes and discomfort that comes with them. A study8 which assigned pregnant women two 20-minute massage therapy sessions per week reported an impressive list of benefits including:
Decreased anxiety and leg pain (both also observed with relaxation therapy)
Reduced back pain
Reduced anxiety and improved mood
Decreased urinary stress hormone levels
Fewer complications during labour and fewer postnatal complications
If you haven’t considered remedial massage for any of these reasons, give it a go! Book a session online or over the phone to explore treatment with one of our massage therapists.
1 M Loo, W.B. Saunders., Chronic Pain, Integrative Medicine for Children, 2009
2 G Shields, JM Smith., Remedial Massage Therapy Interventions Including and Excluding Sternocleidomastoid, Scalene, Temporalis, and Masseter Muscles for Chronic Tension Type Headaches: a Case Series, Int J Ther Massage Bodywork, 2020
3 SP Lawler, LD Cameron., A randomized, controlled trial of massage therapy as a treatment for migraine, Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 2006
4 M Imamura, AD Furlan, T Dryden, EL Irvin., CHAPTER 16 - Massage Therapy, Evidence-Based Management of Low Back Pain, 2012
5 K Yu-Hsiu, H Yi-Ching, C Ue-Lin, H Wen-Ni, T Yi-Ting, L Yi-Hung., Comparisons for Effectiveness of Aromatherapy and Acupressure Massage on Quality of Life in Career Women: A Randomized Controlled Trial, The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 2017
6 SH Cady, GE Jones., Massage Therapy as a Workplace Intervention for Reduction of Stress, Perceptual and Motor Skills, 1997
7 M Valiani, N Ghasemi, P Bahadoran, R Heshmat., The effects of massage therapy on dysmenorrhea caused by endometriosis, Iran J Nurs Midwifery Res, 2010
8 T Field, M Hemandez-Reif, S Hart, H Theakston, S Schanberg, C Kuhn., Pregnant women benefit from massage therapy, Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics & Gynecology, 1999