6 STEPS TO A HEALTHIER YOU
Posted by Wendy McGrath Apr 17, 2014
Let’s face it: In this “hurry-up-and-get-it-done” world, few of us have time to even consume an eight-ounce cup of coffee before it turns cold, let alone squeeze in a decent lunch break.
of course, if we manage to survive all the other pressures and stresses in our lives, we are more than ready for a well-deserved break.
“Over time, our perpetually multitasking, harried, stressful pace of life does take its toll, emotionally and physically,” said Cherie-Lyn Apuya, a massage therapy instructor at Remington College’s campus in Honolulu, Hawaii. “From our tingling feet, to our aching backs, stiff necks, sore shoulders, pounding heads, even our throbbing hands, wrists, and thumbs; massage offers us some relief from it all.”
Massage therapy is an ancient healing art whose medical benefits were first documented in Western culture around 400 B.C. Today, massage therapy focuses on treating painful ailments, decompressing tired and overworked muscles, reducing stress, rehabilitating sports injuries, and promoting general health.
Massages can help those weary employees permanently hunched over their PCs or Macs or glued to their smartphones to decompress internally and externally. To combat our physical woes and emotional lows, who wouldn’t welcome the physical and mental “pick-me-up” that a massage can provide?
According to published research, here are six ways that massage therapy may be of benefit:
1. Helping to strengthen our immune systems
Those of us who experience higher levels of stress may also not eat or sleep well. And this may be why we’re prone to colds, flus, and other ailments.
Massage therapy can stimulate the body’s fight against infection and bacteria by triggering cells in our body designed to fight off elements that can bring on a cold, the flu, or a similar ailment.
2. Reducing stress
Do timelines and pressures in the workplace and at home or school feel like they’re often piled sky-high? If your answers are YES and YES, studies point out that massage therapy can contribute to the reduction of general stress hormones and can help to lower heart rate, cortisol (known as the “stress hormone”), and even insulin levels.
3. Helping to reduce the frequency of headaches
For those of us suffering from tension headaches brought on by stress, massage therapy can reportedly reduce headache frequency. Massage has also been shown to help those experiencing chronic headache and migraine pain by relaxing trigger points and muscle spasms and allowing the body’s muscles to loosen up.
4. Lessening the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal
If some of us tend to partake in too much of the bubbly, beer, bourbon, and other spirits, alcohol-withdrawal symptoms reportedly may be lessened by massage therapy, according to a study in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.
5. Decreasing backaches and related types of pain
If our sacroiliac, arthritis, fibromyalgia, back pain, or other malingering annoyance happens to flare up from too much standing or sitting, those pains can be decreased by deep-tissue massage, according to a 2013 Consumer Reports readership survey.
6. Boosting self-esteem
Direct touch from massage therapy can help to promote a feeling of well-being, positivity, or clarity. It may also boost the body’s endorphins, or the hormones that support our mental health and general mood.
So if massage therapy can help to strengthen our immune system, reduce stress, reduce the frequency of headaches, lessen the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, decrease backaches, and boost self-esteem, why put it off any longer?
Take advantage of the benefits that massage therapy can offer, and you may just begin to view your surroundings in a more positive and more relaxed new light.