Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Spotlight: Massage Therapy

Massage therapy has a long list of health benefits.
Massage therapy has a long list of health benefits.
Image: Shutterstock
When I think about physical therapy of any kind, massage therapy is the first thing that pops into my head. It’s one of the most common forms of physical therapy, and that’s because it comes with a TON of health benefits. And since I get migraines when my back and neck muscles clench up, I’m a big fan. Muscle tightness can last for days on end, and can literally be a pain in the neck.

But muscle tightness and pain isn’t the only reason to look into massage therapy. It can also improve flexibility of joints and muscles, improving your range of motion. It can help you sleep better, maintain concentration, and reduce fatigue.

Getting a massage stimulates blood circulation and lymph flow, which helps enhance your immune system and keep you from getting sick. It keeps nutrients pumping steadily through your body, reducing spasms, cramping, and soreness. That’s significant for those with arthritis, asthma, menstrual cramps, and those who’ve suffered from injuries. Scar tissue and stretch marks can be reduced as well.
Massage helps lower depression, anxiety, and illness.
Massage helps lower depression, anxiety, and illness.
Image: Shutterstock

Massage lessens depression and anxiety because it releases endorphins, which elevate mood and act as a natural painkiller. This also reduces stress levels and promotes healing—both physical and mental. Expectant mothers who have regular massages generally have easier, shorter labors and hospital stays. Infants of these mothers also show better weight gain than others.

Because the majority of diseases are stress related (some experts say up to 90%), a therapy that is so effective in dispelling stress certainly deserves a try. Sometimes our bodies just need a little extra help in staying balanced, and massage can assist us in that.

Massage can be expensive, yes. But many insurance providers have at least partial coverage for massage therapy if it’s doctor recommended. Some massage clinics also offer special program rates, which offer reduced fees to those who have at least one massage per month. My favorite program like this is the Elements Wellness Program. 

To read more about the health benefits of massage therapy, check out www.massagetherapy.com.
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