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10 Benefits of Massage You Should Know

If you clicked on this article, you’re probably curious about the benefits of massage. Maybe, as you're reading this, you're trying to figure out why your shoulders hunch and your neck is so tight it feels like it might snap. Or perhaps you’re just one of those people who enjoy a good massage now and again.

So what are the benefits of this 5000 year old ancient and sacred therapy? Well here are just a few of the most notable!

1. Stress-relief and relaxation

The number one benefit of massage is stress-relief, Deery explains. We need more research to figure out exactly how much massage therapy reduces stress-hormones like cortisol, but anecdotal evidence suggests that massages can help lower stress and encourage relaxation.

10. Circulation during na

Several studies suggest that physical touch can lower blood pressure and increase hormones like oxytocin, which makes us feel good.

3. Muscle soreness and strain

When your muscles are sore and inflamed, a massage can help bring blood flow to the area (and encourage recovery), according to a 2015 meta-analysis study published in Musculoskeletal Medicine.

4. Fibromyalgia pain management

People with fibromyalgia experience chronic pain as well as sleep, memory, and mood symptoms. While massage therapy isn’t a cure for the condition, the Mayo Clinic says that it is a complementary treatment (along with medication, counseling, and physical therapy). Keep in mind, however, that, in some cases, massage therapy can make your pain worse, It’s best to chat with your primary care doctor about the potential benefits of massage for fibromyalgia, and make sure you discuss your condition with your massage therapist beforehand.

5. Tension headache relief

A tension headache, or concentration headache, can feel like there’s a tight band wrapped around your head. The cause isn’t fully understood, but there is evidence that massages can provide relief for this kind of headache. Specifically, it helps relieve muscle tension in your head, neck, and shoulders (which might alleviate your headache symptoms).

6. Insomnia (related to stress)

As mentioned above, massages positively impact stress, and diminished stress levels can help encourage sleep (though there are other sleep hygiene habits—like having a bedtime ritual and reducing screen time before bed—you might want to explore as well).

7. Myofascial pain syndrome management

Myofascial pain syndrome is a chronic pain condition where pressure on your muscles can cause pain (sometimes in places that don’t seem related). Though there’s no cure for it, some patients do find benefit from having a physical therapist or massage therapist work on the areas where they’re experiencing pain to relieve muscle tension.

8. Constipation relief

If you’re dealing with constipation or other digestive issues, a stomach massage might help alleviate some of your discomfort. A 2016 study published in Gastroenterology Nursing found that abdominal massages helped people dealing with post-surgery constipation move their bowels and feel a little better.

9. Temporary arthritis and joint pain relief

Arthritis involves swelling and pain in your joints. As your massage therapist kneads and massages muscles, blood flows to your joints, which might provide some temporary relief. Be sure to mention that you have arthritis before your massage therapy session so that your therapist can walk you through how you might work together.

10. Circulation during pregnancy

Getting a massage during pregnancy can improve circulation, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gyn/ecologists (ACOG). Just make sure you check with your doctor before booking an appointment and be sure to tell your massage therapist that you’re pregnant (even if you’re not showing).

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