Science Backed, Health Benefits of Massage

Stress sucks! It bums us out, makes life feel much harder than it needs to be, and is harmful to our health. For years, massage has been touted as having all sorts of health benefits. Some of them stand out more than others, but it was only recently that we’ve gotten scientific studies to back us up. Below is a handout I created for an educational presentation that I gave. Hope you find it insightful and share it with your friends and family.

10 Health issues related to stress:

1.Heart Disease

2.Asthma

3.Obesity, excessive belly fat

4.Diabetes

5.Headaches / Migraines

6.Depression

7.Gastrointestinal Issues

8.Alzheimers

9.Accelerated Aging

10.Premature Death

 

Benefitsof  Massage Therapy:

Reduces stress

Reduces anxiety

Reduces the flow of stress hormones

Boosts the immune system

People who received a 45-minute massage had an increased number of lymphocytes, which are white blood cells that play a large role in defending the body from disease, researchers from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles said in a statement. Participants also showed lower levels of cytokines, which are molecules that play a role in inflammation. The massages also had an impact on participants’ hormone levels. Receiving a massage decreased levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, and vasopressin, a hormone believed to play a role in aggressive behavior, according to the researchers.

Improves sleep
It’s essentially affecting the hormone levels. Studies have shown that massage increases serotonin, which increases the melatonin and helps circadian rhythms to reset.

 Increases circulation.
Massage facilitates circulation because the pressure created by the massage technique actually moves blood through the congested areas. The release of this same pressure causes new blood to flow in. The squeezing and pulling also flushes lactic acid from the muscles and improves the circulation of the lymph fluid which carries metabolic waste away from muscles and internal organs, resulting in lower blood pressure and improved body function.

Reduces muscle soreness after exercise

Massage reduces the production of compounds called cytokines, which play a critical role in inflammation. Massage also stimulated mitochondria, the tiny powerhouses inside cells that convert glucose into the energy essential for cell function and repair. The bottom line is that there appears to be a suppression of pathways in inflammation and an increase in mitochondrial biogenesis, helping the muscle adapt to the demands of increased exercise, said the senior author, Dr. Mark A. Tarnopolsky.