Getting a massage is about more than simple relaxation. It's about physical and mental well-being. And just like anything else that's good for us, massages have to be done regularly to help restructure the physiological patterns that lead to ailments like aching muscles, chronic headaches and unyielding stress.
By working out tense muscles on a regular basis, you can transform your mental and physical health in ways you never thought possible. After all, many see massage as a luxury rather than a form of therapy, but the reality is that massage is both a luxury and a supplemental health practice, similar to chiropractics and acupuncture.
What exactly does massage do for the body and mind?
The body and mind are connected in ways we often don’t think about. Signals travel back and forth between the body and the brain triggering thoughts, feelings, hormones, chemicals and bodily functions that keep you healthy and happy. However, when the body and brain get out of sync, that’s when we start to feel rundown, uncomfortable, or unhappy. Getting a regular massage can help prevent these feelings and keep your body in tune with your brain in a variety of ways:
Improves Muscle Relaxation & Flexibility - One of the most obvious benefits of massage is the reduction of muscle tension. Applying pointed pressure to tight muscles in specific areas of the body helps reset those muscle clusters and reduce strain.
Reduces Stress - A tense body is likely to harbor more of the stress chemical, cortisol, which can lead to sleepless nights, weight gain, and lots of other nasty side effects. However, massage has been shown to reduce cortisol levels and induce recovery for both the body and mind.
Relieves Symptoms of Depression & Anxiety - In some ways, massage is akin to meditation, with the added bonus of human touch and stress reduction. But more importantly, because the mind and body are so entwined, it’s common for physical relaxation to relieve the mental state as well.
Boosts Circulation & Immunity - Massage therapy helps your body circulate blood by manually stimulating the circulatory system in the same way you might massage an ice pack to get the lumps out. By improving circulation, more white blood cells are about to circulate throughout the body, resulting in greater oxygenation and immunity.
How often should I get a massage?
Everyone’s massage needs are different, and the frequency that’s right for you may not align with that of someone else. Because we all carry tension differently, some of us might need a massage once per week, while others might only need a massage once per month to feel the benefits. After all, well-being is consistent with having your needs met, and too much of a good thing can be just as detrimental as too little. Your best bet is to talk to your massage therapist about the frequency that’s right for your body and mind.