The New Yorker cites a study that found immune system strength improved with touch. Participants who received hugs each day were exposed to a cold virus, along with participants who did not receive hugs. Those that received the regular touch were more likely to resist the virus that those who did not. Touch is an important part of our human experience and science is beginning to understand that it not only improves our emotional well-being, but also our physical well-being.
Many of us do not experience regular contact, and healthy touch with other people. Massage is a great way to incorporate touch into your regular routine. Massage works tension out of muscles relieving stress and anxiety, and it can also have the same positive benefits that human touch provide which includes improved immune systems.
One of the most touted benefits of massage is pain relief. According to Mayo Clinic, massage can offer relief from headaches, pain from fibromyalgia, and pain from sports injuries. Studies cited by Harvard Health found both hand pain and chronic neck pain were reduced with regular massage.
There are also a few studies that have linked lowered cortisol (a stress hormone) and lower blood pressure to regular massage. While it is still inconclusive, it is entirely possible that massage can improve circulation and improve overall heart health. Massage, combined with other supplements and medications might be a helpful way to manage blood pressure complications.
Managing Chronic Stress
Massage demands that we take a moment out of our busy lives to rest. These quiet moments can restore our spirits, relieve anxiety, and give us pause to breath. Chronic stress has a number of negative impacts on physical health. It can inhibit sleep, cause headaches, and even affect digestion. Over time it can contribute to diabetes, heart disease, respiratory problems, and more. Massage combats chronic stress. While there are no studies that prove massage directly helps any of the health challenges listed above, we do know that massage lowers stress. Less stress results in healthier bodies, both physically and mentally.
Work With Your Doctor
If you have a specific ailment, you should not replace your current treatment with massage. Talk to your doctor about how massage could be added to your health care regimen to improve your outcomes. You should also inform your massage therapist of any specific needs, chronic pain, illness, or injury. Working with your doctor and your massage therapist will help you discover the best ways to meet your health goals through massage.
Your Health Routine
Human touch, rest, relief of tension, and reducing pain all add up to multiple health benefits. Make massage part of your regular health routine. Stave off stress and enjoy the health benefits of massage in your day to day life.