Most people don’t really need any extra reasons to go and get a massage – it is a relaxing experience that feels good, and when coupled with a pleasant spa environment (or perhaps a candlelit room at home!) is just generally a nice thing. The benefits of massage for actual muscle problems have long been known, but if you are not an athlete recovering from an injury, you may have wondered if there were really any health benefits to your massages, or whether they were just something enjoyable, like listening to your favourite music.
Well, it turns out that scientific research does indeed suggest that there are health benefits above and beyond those affecting your muscles. Here, we take a look at just some of them:
Massages Lower Blood Pressure
There have been several studies into the effects of massage on people with elevated blood pressure, which you can read about in more detail here. One, which involved 100 subjects, split them into two groups and gave 50 of them a massage for just 15 minutes on three days a week. The second group was asked to simply do something they found relaxing for the same amount of time, also on three days a week. Both groups had lower blood pressure immediately after their relaxation period or massage, however only the massage patients had this effect last for several days. There seems to be plenty of evidence that those with mild high blood pressure can strongly benefit from regular massage treatment.
Massage Reduces Migraines
Another study done in New Zealand by the University of Auckland discovered that in regular migraine sufferers, massage had several beneficial effects. They experienced fewer migraine episodes, had better sleep patterns, and they also experienced reduced levels of the stress hormone cortisol, as well as a lower heart rate. The reduction in heart rate and cortisol levels was found in other studies, too, on patients who were not migraine sufferers, indicating the relaxation benefits are lasting after a massage.
Firm Massage Is Best
All massages, however, are not created equal, so before you encourage your partner or best friend to break out the oils and invest in massage tables by therapyworlddirect.com (for example), consider this: a study by the University of Miami on both adults and children, found that light massages had no real effects, but firm ones encouraged growth in the child subjects and significantly reduced stress in the adults. This means that if you are getting (or giving) a massage, you need to apply plenty of pressure to really get these proven health benefits!
These are just some of the studies that have been done into why massage is beneficial to the health of people in general and patients with certain conditions. Further research has shown it can help cancer patients experience less nausea during chemotherapy treatment, and can even boost your immune system. So if you needed any more reasons to enjoy a good massage, now you have them – from science!