A new study published in Science Translational Medicine found that a massage session can reduce inflammation, which can help your muscles recover after a hard workout. "What massage seems to do is ... it reduces the inflammatory response as a function of the damage you incurred while you're exercising," explained one of the study's authors Simon Melov, a molecular biologist at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging.
Massage reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol, resulting in lifted spirits and often lower blood pressure. It can also boost the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine, which are involved in depression. Two reports in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine identified 58 clinical trials showing that massage therapy and tai chi practice significantly reduce salivary cortisol, heart rate, blood pressure, and depression.
Massage therapy helps ease chronic back pain and improve function, according to results of a randomized controlled trial. The first study to compare structural and relaxation (Swedish) massage, the trial found that both types of massage worked well, with few side effects. Massage helped people with back pain to function even after six months. They were more able to work, take care of themselves, and be active.
Massage helps ward off bugs by boosting your "natural killer cells," the immune system's first line of defense against invading illness. Massage even seems to boost immunity in those people with severely compromised immune systems, such as breast-cancer patients. Researchers have reported people who undergo massage experience measurable changes in their body's immune and endocrine response.
According to the Mayo Clinic: massage can be a powerful tool to help you take charge of your health and well-being, whether you have a specific health condition or are just looking for another stress reliever. Massage is generally considered part of complementary and alternative medicine. It's increasingly being offered along with standard treatment for a wide range of medical conditions and situations. Studies of the benefits of massage demonstrate that it is an effective treatment for reducing stress, pain and muscle tension.While more research is needed to confirm the benefits of massage, some studies have found massage may also be helpful for:
Insomnia related to stress
Myofascial pain syndrome
Paresthesias and nerve pain
Soft tissue strains or injuries
Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain
Beyond the benefits for specific conditions or diseases, some people enjoy massage because it often involves caring, comfort, a sense of empowerment and creating deep connections with their massage therapist.
Facing a final exam? Have a big presentation coming up at work and you need to boost your brainpower? Adults who were given a 15-minute chair massage in a small 1996 Touch Research Institute (TRI) study were more alert and completed a series of math questions faster and more accurately.
Just like muscle and back pain, headaches can also be alleviated thanks to massage. A regular treatment can reduce a person's number of migraines, according to WebMD, as well as limit how painful each migraine feels, according to the Touch Research Institute. A 2009 study found that a 30-minute massage decreased pain for people with tension headaches, and even curbed some of the stress
Researchers at the Touch Research Institue (TRI) are constantly conducting new studies to show how therapeutic touch can improve the WHOLE body. Massage has been proven an effective adjunct to treatment for ADHD, Anorexia, Anxiety, Arthritis, Asthma, Autism, Autonomic Activity, Back Pain, Blood Pressure, Bone Density, Burns, Cardiac Care, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Depression, Elder Care, Fibromyalgia, Headaches, Inflammation, Labor Pain, Maternal Attachment, Migraine, Multiple Sclerosis, PTSD, Pregnancy/Prenatal Care, Prematurity, PMS, Sexual Abuse, Sleep Disorders, and more, and new studies are constantly underway!