There are not many activities that evoke as much positivity and desire as massage does. Even the word “massage”, when spoken out loud, can immediately calm and relax the listener. They begin to imagine themselves laying on a soft massage table, in a dimly lit room, with the subtle and soft essence of massage oil trailing through the air and they begin to turn to putty. What is it about massage though that has this effect on people?
It Feels Good
So this is definitely the most obvious reason. There is no denying that a shoulder rub feels great. It can help relieve built up tension and soreness and send the recipient into a relaxation tailspin. More specifically though, effective massage therapy works by targeting trigger points in muscles that when tense, can often have profound and painful effects on the entire muscle. Have you ever felt a tight pain in the top of your shoulders and pressed down on what felt like a knot and felt almost immediate relief? Now imagine somebody doing that your whole body.
It Provides the Body with Instantly Healing Medicine
In some studies, massage therapy has been shown to increase levels of oxytocin and decrease levels of adrenocorticotropin in humans. This is important because these two hormones have a strong effect on how people feel about themselves and others. Oxytocin is an incredibly important hormone that strongly affects how close and connected a person feels towards others. Its no surprise then that aside from massage, activities like sexual intercourse, breast feeding, and child birth are huge stimulators of oxytocin production as well. So if you are feeling disconnected or lonely, a nice long massage can help produce the naturally occurring medicine in each and every person that might help.
Adrenocorticotropin on the other hand, while incredibly important in the correct balance, is a hormone that is mostly present during times of high stress in the human body. Adrenocorticotropin is produced in the anterior pituitary gland and can rise as a result of chronic illnesses like Addison’s Disease. The ability of massage to potentially lower this hormone in humans may mean that it could be used as an important part of a holistic treatment plan or just as means to lower stress and therefore keep adrenocorticotropin levels at bay.
It’s a Luxury
This last reason, while often true, is a bit unfortunate. For one reason or another, whether its our busy schedules or a lack of extra spending money going around these days, massage is thought of as only something a person would treat themselves or a loved one with rather than an integral part of their personal health care regimen. Regular massage therapy has been linked to a number of health benefits like lowered incidents of injury in professional athletes and less chronic pain in arthritis sufferers. Massage does not have to just be special and it doesn’t even have to be expensive. Elements Massage offers a membership program that helps individuals interested in making massage a regular part of their routine access more affordable sessions. Another great idea is to go out and take a class with a spouse or a close friend and become each other’s dedicated massage therapists.