Not-So-Known Benefits Offered by Massage Therapy
If you’re all tense and knotted up, massage can certainly help you feel better. But your body can benefit from a good rubdown in more ways than that.
Better Bowel Movement
Research published in the International Journal of Nursing Studies shows that people who are constipated can find relief in massage. Involved in the study were 60 constipated individuals separated into two groups – one received laxatives and had abdominal massage, and the other only took laxatives. By the ninth week, the massage group reported greater improvement in their gastrointestinal symptoms, less abdominal pain, and even better bowel movement than the laxative-only set.
Stronger Immune Defenses
Massage therapy has also been discovered to strengthen an individual’s immune defenses. According to a Cedars-Sinai Medical Center study, massage boosts the number of lymphocytes or white blood cells in circulation, strengthening the body’s defense against infections.
Low Back Pain Control
Chronic low back pain is notoriously difficult to handle, and new guidelines tell us to avoid the pill for relief. A drug-free way that actually works to manage the condition is massage. Half of low back pain sufferers who participated in a Pain Medicine study reported feeling better after only 10 massage sessions. On top of that, the improvements were sustained, with 75% of the subjects saying they continued to feel the improvement up to the 24th week from 12th massage session.
The University of Miami School of Medicine also embarked on its own low back pain research with 30 adult subjects, where those who had half-hour massage sessions twice a week for five straight weeks, observed less sleep-related problems and a dramatic improvement in quality of sleep. With the massage also helping the pain, it’s possible that less aches lead to higher-quality shuteye, according to the researchers.
After a good massage, you usually say you feel “feel better,” which is not just in your mind because even your blood pressure gets better. According to a study, if you get a 10-15-minute Swedish massage thrice a week, your systolic blood pressure can drop by as much as 12mm Hg. The same study indicates that such effect can go on for up to three days after every round.
Post-Exercise Soreness Prevention
Finally, if you’re usually feeling all sore following a tough workout, massage can be the solution. According to a study featured in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, muscle soreness can be substantially reduced by massaging the affected muscle for ten minutes. If you can’t squeeze in a massage after your work out, just keep moving in “active rest” – for instance, ten-minute shoulder shrugs – so you can enjoy the soreness-lessening effect.