12 Months of Wellness—Month 2
The Benefits of Massage
This month’s intention is all about the healing benefits of regular massage. It’s a well documented fact that touch is essential for human beings. Infants who are deprived of touch do not thrive as those who experience regular touch from care takers, even if all of their other needs have been met. Many of us live a touch deprived life. It is less allowable in our culture to touch one another, to make simple physical contact.
Massage is one way to meet our need for touch, and it has many other benefits as well. Massage can benefit almost any condition weather physical, mental or emotional. The general benefits of massage are that it:
- Reduces pain
- Increases attentiveness
- Reduces stress hormones
- Improves immune function
- Decreases symptoms of depression
- Improves sleep patterns (quantity and quality)
The benefits of massage are measured subjectively, meaning that the recipient of the massage perceives a change in their pain, emotional state, or the symptoms of their condition. The benefits of massage are also measured in objective terms, meaning that other people are able to observe the result or changes, or that there are tests that measure the changes.
Depression, anxiety, aggression, ADHD, sleep disorders, and self/body satisfaction have all been shown to improve with the application of regular massage. People in studies are shown to have decreased symptoms by subjective report as well as measuring biochemical indicators such as lower levels of the stress hormones cortisol and norepinephrine, lower diastolic blood pressure, and increased levels of dopamine.
Sleep disturbances and insomnia can range from mild to severe in their effect on our lives. Inability to function well at work, irritability, lowered immune function, and depression can all result. Luckily massage can also help us sleep better. By treating some of the most common causes of sleep disturbances like pain, anxiety, and stress, massage has been shown to allow people to fall asleep earlier and stay asleep longer.
Massage alters the biochemistry of the body. Massage has been shown to decrease levels of cortisol, norepinephrine, and epinephrine – all stress related hormones, and increase the levels of feel good hormones dopamine and serotonin. Another one of the benefits of massage is that it boosts the immune system by elevating the amounts of natural killer cells.
Some of the benefits of massage are more well known like its ability to soften, lengthen, and relax muscle tissue, thereby increasing relaxation and preventing injury. Massage is also a great reliever of pain whether chronic or acute. And don’t underestimate the power of the most well known benefit of massage – it feels good!!!
This month we welcome you to experience the benefits of massage. Introduce massage one or two times this month or if you receive regular massage try a different kind and see what it can do for your well-being. Download this month’s intention setting guide to help you set your massage intentions.
Here are my intentions so you can see how simple this can be:
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