As yoga has risen in popularity and the wellbeing culture with it, there are a lot of things thrown about that are said to be “healthy,” though the science behind them is sometimes rather shaky. The wellbeing revolution has brought with it a lot of positive things though. For starters, people are more interested in self-care. And that’s the basis of getting and staying healthy.
Massage is something that’s often seen as a luxury, but also often recommended in healthcare regimes. So is it a necessity or something you should just pay for when you want to get pampered?
As it turns out, massages provide plenty of health benefits.
Many people suffer from conditions, or simply have lifestyles, that don’t offer a lot of movement. And blood circulation simply varies from person to person as well—some people were born with poor blood circulation. Even if they exercise a lot (which helps improve circulation), their circulation may never be as good as those who were born with great blood circulation. Thankfully, massage, in addition to exercise (or at times when exercise might not be possible, such as fording an illness or difficult pregnancy), is a great way to improve circulation.
Recovering Faster Between Workouts
Massages help athletes recover faster between workouts—but it can help the average person too! If you’re trying to get fit and work your muscles hard, massage might be just what you need. It helps increase the percentage of regenerating muscle fibers.
Preventing and Recovering from Injury
Massage can help you prevent and recover from injuries. This is because massage helps with blood flow. This, in turn can help stretch a muscle. When muscles become injured, they often get rigid and can also shorten as they heal. Likewise, to prevent a muscle from getting injured, because as the blood flow helps loosen and, eventually, stretch a muscle it’s less likely to get injured while working out.
Massages are relaxing. There’s no doubt about that! Anyone who’s had a good massage will come away feeling relaxed. This, in turn, can help fight stress, anxiety and depression. It’s a “feel-good” experience.
Some studies also seem to suggest that it reduces stress hormones, which may be why it’s can help with stress, anxiety and depression. It can potentially also explain why it’s been used to treat insomnia.
Reducing Back Pain and Headaches
One study found that massage was as effective as over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen, in treating back pain.
Some evidence seem to suggest that Thai massages can help improve mobility. Thai massage is different from other forms of massage, as the therapist moves you into different positions and doesn’t “knead” your muscles in the same way they would if you had any other form of massage. Therefore, it can’t be used to help prevent and recover from muscle injuries. It appears to have most of the other benefits associated with massage though.
Massage appears to have several health benefits, mainly due to improving blood circulation and reducing tension in your muscles.