The health and wellness benefits that massage offers are more abundant than once thought. Emerging research points to a growing list of advantages that range far wider than simple anxiety, tension, and pain relief.
One of the most interesting benefits uncovered is a possible link to improved immunity. Studies have shown that those who receive regular massage have lower cortisol levels in their saliva. Cortisol is the "stress" hormone, and it is linked to a lower immune function.
Cortisol actually kills off the cells that are necessary for healthy immunity. Lowering this hormone in the body not only can lead to greater immune response to foreign invaders, but it also leads to lower stress and anxiety levels. Lowering cortisol levels has also been linked to a greater ease in losing weight and keeping it at a healthy level.
The mental health benefits from lowered stress levels and regulated anxiety are probably worth it alone. However, there are even more advantages your body reaps from getting massaged regularly.
Studies have indicated that regular massage helps with hypertension. Massage helps reduce anxiety, which contributes to high blood pressure. This is probably a part of the reason that it helps to regulate blood pressure.
However, there is also another factor that contributes to this function. The vagus nerve actually helps regulate a person's blood pressure, and massage helps to stimulate this nerve into action.
The more obvious benefits of massage are its excellent ability to temporarily reduce and manage pain. It can be used to relieve muscle pain, pain associated with nerve damage, and even joint pain. The manipulation of the soft tissues helps increase circulation, which may aid in healing as well.
Enhanced circulation also leads to better skin tone and healthier soft tissue. This enhanced circulation and manual pressure also helps to deliver oxygen and vital nutrients to the cells.
Massage is even believed to help enhance the elimination of toxic substances which are transported out of the body by the lymphatic system. This lymphatic drainage, while beneficial, needs to be helped along by you. Hence, it is always recommended that one drink plenty of purified water after a massage, to push the toxins through the elimination process quicker.
Overall, massage is a great way to reduce stress, unwind, and enjoy some "you" time. It's important to remind yourself of the other benefits that massage offers if you start to feel a little guilty about it. Massage can be an excellent complement to an otherwise healthy lifestyle and diet.