Did you know that massage therapy is an effective supporting treatment for cancer? Or that the market for global massage equipment was worth an astonishing $6.9 billion in 2018? Now, what do all these facts and figures mean exactly?
It means that the massage therapy industry is not only growing, but it’s also flourishing, at a rapid rate. And this entails that many people are enjoying the rejuvenating benefits this form of therapy can offer.
So if you find yourself struggling with chronic pain, muscle tension, or any physiological condition, and are curious to know if massage therapy can really provide pain relief — then keep reading.
Because in this article, you will learn how massage therapy affects the body, as well as if this kind of treatment is right for you.
What is Massage Therapy?
Massage therapy is a gentle hands-on manipulation of the soft tissues within the body. It primarily targets the tendons, ligaments, joints, muscles, and connective tissue with the aim of enhancing your wellbeing in addition to the overall quality of your health.
Massage therapy offers patients a very cathartic experience as it drops the muscle tension in their body; allowing them to reconnect with a sense of inner peace and relaxation.
The Benefits of Massage Therapy on Chronic Pain
Many years of stress, worry, anxiety, self-doubt, etc, accumulate as muscle tension within the body. A massage therapist can help prevent additional stress as well as reverse the effects of what has already culminated.
This is important because once tension has been gathered in a particular region of the body, it becomes “stuck” and keeps us locked in a negative physiological state — often referred to as the “fight or flight” response. People in this emotional shape report feeling a constant (albeit subtle) undertone of worry and fear.
Even though there is no imminent danger present, because the tension has yet to be released, there’s nowhere for it to go other than the recesses of your own physical body.
This can often result in emotional outbursts, chronic fatigue, anxiety and fear, difficulty sleeping, and a whole host of other mental and psychological issues. However, all of these conditions and ailments can be circumvented with regular massage therapy sessions.
In a comprehensive study, it was discovered that in the course of a massage, cortisol levels (the hormone responsible for producing stress) fell by 31%. This is indicative of the fact that massage therapy has the capacity to lower stress and minimize chronic pain.
In the same study, it was also revealed that levels of both serotonin and dopamine — the “feel-good” chemicals in the brain — spiked during a massage session (up 28% for the former and 31% for the latter). Both of these chemicals are incredibly vital for our well-being. Serotonin helps us to regulate and maintain our moods, while dopamine is responsible for how we experience joy and happiness in addition to providing us with motivation and focus in life.
Once these two vital chemicals begin to flourish within our brains, there is more emotional stability as well as stronger levels of optimism and positivity throughout our days.
When getting a massage, the circulation of blood flow escalates which assists the body with strengthening its immune system. This “cleansing” of the body helps it to dispense with toxins which prepares it for the possibility of having to fend off any illnesses or diseases.
In one study, it was confirmed that regular massages help people to alleviate chronic pain more efficiently, effectively, and with longer-lasting results than other treatments.
Types of Massage Therapy
Oftentimes, massage therapy is considered to be an alternative therapy, which entails that it doesn’t have as much scientific validity that is in support of its effectiveness. Moreover, this also means that it typically won’t be endorsed or suggested by medical professionals. But this doesn’t make it any less useful.
With that being said, there are plenty of options when it comes to the type of massage therapy you can try; each one offers a different spin on the practice.
Here are a few to look into:
- Swedish massage
- Hot stone massage
- Deep tissue massage
- Trigger point massage
- Foam rolling massage
- Thai massage
Are You Ready to Rid Yourself of Chronic Pain?
Massage therapy is a great treatment that has a lot to offer. With its myriad of benefits and health advantages, it may just be what you need to provide you with the pain relief you’re seeking.