Benefits of Massage

From Men's Health Magazine

July/August 2008 - Page 36 - Touchy-Feely Health Advice

Massages may add years to your life, according to a new study in the Journal of Alternative and Complimentary Medicine. People who went for a single deep-tissue massage showed an average 7-point drop in both their systolic and diastolic blood pressures, as well as an 11 beats-per-minute decrease in their resting heart rates. Over time, these subtractions could add as many as 6 years to a person's life span, says the study author, Alan Kaye, M.D., Ph.D. "The benefits of massage actually last for days, and the more you experience them, the more likely your body is to adjust permanently." 

Stress and Massage

Massage is a wonderfully pleasurable experience. It increases your body's self awareness and sensitivity, reduces your stress, tension and anxiety levels, calms the nervous system, relaxes, focuses and clears your mind, helps to improve and maintain your posture, helps to fulfill your need for a caring and nurturing touch, encourages self-esteem and a general feeling of well-being and improves your emotional awareness. Most of what follows is fairly clinical. In my opinion, the most important benefit is the caring and nurturing touch that allows you to shut out the world and let trained hands take you to new heights of relaxation.

Health Benefits of Massage

The effects of a massage can vary according to the techniques used. With most methods, the circulation of blood is enhanced throughout the body, the nervous system is calmed or activated and the muscles are stretched and relaxed.  Relieving stress improves your mental health and your physical well-being. Increasing the blood flow through massage can help to flush out waste generated by your muscles and body. Most masseurs will encourage you to breathe consciously to oxygenate the blood and increase both the benefits and the pleasure of the massage. 

Most people will feel very relaxed and experience relief from long-term aches and pains developed from tension, stress or a repetitive activity. Following an initial period of calmness (feeling like pudding), people often experience a surge of energy, heightened awareness and greater productivity that can last for many days, particularly when combined with Tantric techniques.

Massage can help release chronic muscular tension and pain, improve circulation, increase joint flexibility, reduce mental and physical fatigue and stress, improve posture and reduce blood pressure.

Will Massage Hurt? 

If at any time the attention you're receiving is causing you discomfort, ask the masseur to stop or ease off for a few minutes. Be open and let the masseur know how you're feeling and your session will be a lot more enjoyable and productive. The old adage "no pain no gain" isn't relevant to massage.  It's your physical condition and stress that's uncomfortable, not the massage. You should feel better at the end of each session and you'll become more comfortable as your stress is reduced and your comfort level with the masseur and the surroundings. It's normal to feel a little anxiety when meeting a masseur for the first time. A good masseur's "table-side" manner should put you at ease within minutes. 

Can massage help reduce stress levels? 

According to medical studies anything that can help you relax will reduce your stress levels and massage is one of the most relaxing experiences you can enjoy. Many turn to massage to manage day to day stress. Massage treats the problem holistically. Without using chemicals to slow you down, masseurs attempt to treat the whole person and try to help your body regain homeostasis, achieving a balance between the various systems of your body to allow natural stress reduction to occur.