When you think of relaxation, a few things may spring to mind: having a lie in, a cosy night in, a spa day, or a lovely, peaceful massage.
Most of us (if not all!) love a good massage. However, are they actually good for you? We take a look at some of the many benefits of massage:
- Soothe anxiety and depression – Studies suggest that massage can help to reduce the symptoms of anxiety. By boosting your levels of serotonin and dopamine, the effect of which is a happier, less stressed mood.
- Improved sleep – the pressure of a massage can actually slow down your nervous system, allowing for deeper sleep and therefore helping with insomnia and other sleep troubles.
- Pain relief – This seems like an obvious one! Massage can decrease stiffness and pain in the back and other parts of the body, also increasing the range of motion. This has a similar effect to other treatments such as traditional medicine, exercise and Yoga.
- Stop headaches – Massage can relieve the pain of a headache or a migraine. Getting regular massages over a period of time can reduce the severity and frequency of your migraines.
- Ease pregnancy pains – Regular antenatal massages can ease pregnancy pains and assist with shorter, easier labour. Birthing experts believe that massage is an essential part of the birthing process, helping to ease the pain of contractions and relax the mother.
- Improved focus – Experts believe that the effects of massage can help to improve your attention and your ability to focus. This is because massage slows down your nervous system, and therefore your heart rate, which will ultimately improve your focus and concentration.
- Boost immunity – a 2010 study found that massage boosts patients’ white blood cell count, which play a very important part in defending our bodies from disease.