Massage Category

The fact that massage therapy benefits overall wellness is no secret. Massage has been used by humans for millennia to realign health and wellbeing. Its practices are used all over the world to alleviate the effects of stress, injury and chronic illness. 

According to Allied Health Schools, the oldest known text on massage being used medically dates back to 2700 B.C. The Chinese text titled, “The Yellow Emperor’s Classic Book of Internal Medicine,” is still used to train massage therapists today. 

Modern studies show that massage therapy benefits several systems of the body, including:

  • The circulatory system – veins, arteries and heart
  • The musculoskeletal system – bones and muscles
  • The neurological system  – brain and nerves

It’s no wonder an hour with a masseuse can feel like a total reset for your entire body! Keep reading to discover the myriad healing properties of massage and which type of massage treat various issues.

How Massage Therapy Benefits Your Mental Health

Massage is best known for relieving physical complaints, but its stress-reversing qualities aren’t limited to undoing tension in your back. According to the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA), working out physical tension can actually make you happier. 

Massage is shown to increase serotonin and dopamine, chemicals that alleviate anxiety and depression symptoms, much like therapeutic medications do. It is also proven to reduce negative mental health symptoms with effects similar to talk therapy. The most striking results are seen in people with high-stress, high-adversity life experiences. Cancer patients, combat veterans and nurses experienced increased resiliency and decreased negative mood symptoms when treated with massage.

How Massage Therapy Benefits Your Circulation

The AMTA also reports that massage therapy benefits circulatory health through decreased blood pressure and heart rate numbers. According to the University of Illinois, the gentle impacts of massage direct blood flow more evenly throughout the body, reintroducing it to places that have become constricted or impinged. Increased blood flow throughout the body is associated with reduced pain and better organ function. 

Better blood flow means that more oxygen is moving throughout your bloodstream, according to MedlinePlus. This means that massage helps your heart deliver oxygen more quickly and effectively to every living cell in your body. As a result, massage contributes to a reduced risk of heart disease and high cholesterol, much like exercise does.

How Massage Therapy Benefits Healing

1. Soft tissue injuries

Soft tissues include any non-bone tissues in the body, specifically connective tissues like ligaments and tendons as well as the adjacent muscles. Massage can assist in healing once initial bruising and swelling resulting from injury have gone down and any bleeding or scabbing has healed. 

According to Physioworks, a skilled masseuse trained in physical therapy techniques can work affected areas to break up scar tissue, such as adhesions, and resolve compensation issues, such as uneven posture. If left untreated, soft tissue injuries can limit motion, which is why massage therapy benefits the healing process

2. Sports or occupational injuries

Sports massage is specifically designed for athletes and active people. High levels of physical activity can stress muscles, connective tissues and the spinal column. Sports massage techniques can relieve acute pain and prevent chronic issues in those who run long distances, experience frequent impacts (such as football players or boxers) or lift heavy items, according to WebMD. Sports massage can be used preventatively as well as to aid healing and recovery in cases like overuse injuries, sprains or fractures.

Proven Massage Therapy Benefits for Chronic Pain Disorders

Massage is one of the few treatments that is proven to relieve pain experienced by those with chronic illnesses such as fibromyalgia. According to Harvard Medical School, massage can alleviate several symptoms associated with chronic pain, including:

  • Joint, tendon and muscle pain
  • Nerve pain
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Anxiety and stress

A 2014 study found that participants who were treated with an hour-long massage on a weekly basis experienced less pain in their daily lives, even if their pain wasn’t due to a current injury or acute cause.

How Massage Therapy Benefits Other Health Issues

1. Headaches

Bad headaches, especially those caused by stress or acute migraines, are known to be related to circulation and muscle tension. While massage therapy benefits to circulation and muscular tightness have been well-covered in this article, other less obvious causes of headaches can be addressed with massage too! Sensia Studio and Japanese Day Spa offers a 30-minute treatment that is helpful for sinus pressure, the primary cause of sinus headaches.

2. Digestive disorders

According to the National Cancer Institute, massage was found to reduce nausea in patients undergoing chemotherapy. This indicates that other adverse situations that cause digestive and appetite issues can be mitigated with massage therapy.

3. Spine and posture issues

Injuries and overuse in soft tissues can cause the bonier parts of our bodies to compensate, according to the Fleet Feet blog. The result is uneven posture, muscle knots and even poor blood flow to the places that may need it the most. Massage can break up impingements, scar tissue and inflamed areas lacking circulation. This frees up the range of motion in muscles supporting the spine and allows the body to realign to its natural form.

Which Type of Massage Therapy Benefits Various Health Issues?

1. Thai Massage

Thai massage is a traditional Southeast Asian practice that involves the person receiving the massage in their own treatment. Rather than the more-common passive forms of massage, Thai massage is highly interactive. According to Medical News Today, its practices are known to relieve the following issues:

  • Stress
  • Headaches
  • Poor circulation
  • Limited range of motion
  • Fatigue

2. Ashiatsu Massage

Ashiatsu is a traditional Japanese treatment. Like Thai massage, it is known as a “barefoot massage,” meaning that the practitioner uses pressure from their own hands and feet to dig deep into the client’s muscles. “Ashiatsu” literally translates to “feet-pressure,” according to the Deep Feet massage therapy blog. This form of massage is known to treat the following maladies:

  • Muscle knots and spasms
  • Nerve pain
  • Muscle tension
  • Poor circulation
  • Uneven or stooped posture
  • Poor detoxification

3. Aromatherapy Massage

Aromatherapy massage encompasses any form of massage that incorporates the use of strong, aromatic essential oils. According to the National Cancer Institute, this category of treatment is most effective for the following health complaints:

  • Chronic and acute pain
  • Mood symptoms like anxiety, depression and stress
  • Nausea
  • Insomnia

Some essential oils are also effective for people with moderate to severe eczema, according to Healthline. These people might also benefit from aromatherapeutic massage if the masseuse uses oils like coconut or tea tree.

4. Sports Massage (Deep Tissue)

Sports massage is one of the more modern and western massage practices; it is designed to keep athletes at peak performance. As stated previously, its techniques can be used preventatively or to aid in recovery. 

Regular sports massage therapy benefits active people by preventing future injuries, according to the AMTA. The organization also reports evidence that it can be used to treat the following complaints and much more:

  • Sprains, strains and fractures
  • Swelling from injury
  • Overuse injuries
  • Muscle spasms
  • Long recovery time
  • High blood pressure
  • Poor circulation
  • Mood symptoms

5. Warm/Hot Stone Massage

According to Healthline, warm or hot stone massage uses smooth rocks heated to over 100 degrees. The rocks are either applied using Swedish massage techniques like kneading and tapping, or Japanese techniques such as aligning warm rocks with the spine. Cold stones may follow the application of hot stones to soothe inflammation and quiet the circulatory system. Stone massage therapy benefits:

  • Chronic pain
  • Muscle tension
  • Poor circulation
  • Sleep issues
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Autoimmune disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis

6. Facial and Scalp Massage

Getting your head massaged might sound odd, but it offers an array of undeniable benefits. Migraine sufferers are often encouraged to practice self-massage to alleviate pain. Facial and scalp massages can help people who suffer from several issues including:

  • Headaches
  • Sinus pressure
  • Physical effects of stress and anxiety
  • Upper neck tension
  • Dry scalp
  • Hair loss
  • Poor detoxification

7. Reflexology

Reflexology uses pressure points that Chinese medicine claims correspond to different parts of the body. It is usually practiced as a form of hand and foot massage. Hands and feet have an amazing number of nerve endings in them, possibly explaining the benefits of reflexology. According to MayoClinic, reflexology massage has positive impacts on several issues including:

  • Generalized pain symptoms
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Psychological distress
  • Insomnia

Where Can I Receive Massage Therapy Benefits?

Sensia Studio and Japanese Day Spa employs an expert team of massage therapists; our staff offers all of the massage practices explored in this article. Read more about our services on our massage and body treatments page. To experience the full range of massage therapy benefits – like relaxation, fuller range of motion and deeper sleep – schedule an appointment today with one of our team members here! Be sure to speak to your masseuse about any injuries, allergies or health problems you have before your massage so that they can accommodate your needs.

Do you know anyone who suffers from the health issues listed in this post, or who needs a day to attend to their wellbeing? To give the gift of wellness to a friend or loved one, purchase a gift certificate for our spa and salon services online or in-person at our spa and salon at 1711 Post Oak Boulevard, Houston, TX. We look forward to serving you soon!

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