When you think about getting a massage, where does your brain go? For most of us, even just thinking about a visit to the local massage therapist is enough to initiate those feelings of relaxation. And sure, an hour-long deep tissue massage can do wonders for soothing away the stresses of the day, but there’s more to massage than that!
How Massage Works
Massage is a pretty broad umbrella term that can reference anything from shiatsu massage techniques to lomi lomi, hot stone massage, and more. In very general terms, massage is the act of kneading or rubbing muscles and soft tissue. It can be done for relaxation, but many massage therapy techniques over the years have been developed to promote healing and provide pain relief, not just relax. The benefits are both mental and physical, and can include:
This is a no-brainer, right? Yes, an hour at the hands of a massage therapist is relaxing, but studies have shown that massages actually encourages your body to release less cortisol, a hormone associated with stress. In addition, there are further studies that show the positive effects massage can have for anxiety and depression.
There’s a two-fold benefit to massage, in terms of circulation. Part of it is the physical; massage physically pushes into soft tissue, which can help break up any blockages or slow-moving circulation. The second part is that massage encourages the release of natural chemicals within your body that encourage oxygen and nutrient delivery to your muscles.
Slouching and other poor posture can cause some pretty big long-term effects throughout your body — check out our previous blog to learn more about that. Fortunately, massage therapy can help you stand a little taller and correct those poor posture issues. Deep tissue massage, in particular, helps loosen tight muscles. Tight muscles can limit your range of movement, so giving them some help to loosen up can help you improve your posture (and enjoy the benefits that brings).
Massage therapy is a great way to recover from many forms of soft tissue injury. This includes things like whiplash from an auto accident, sports injuries that lead to muscle strain, and so much more. Massage helps to relax tight muscles, which can help with joint, ligament, and tendon injuries as much as it can the muscles themselves. If you’re injured, be sure to consult with your massage therapist before treatment, so you can avoid exacerbating anything.
Immune System Support
High levels of stress can actually affect your immune system. Fortunately, massage therapy can help relieve stress and reduce the effects on your immune system. But, in addition to that, massage can actually boost your body’s cytotoxic response, which further helps your immune system.
That’s not all, either. Studies are exploring even more benefits to massage therapy, so there could be even more benefits we don’t know yet. Want to learn more about how massage therapy can help with your concerns? Contact the Core Chiropractic + Wellness team to talk to a licensed massage therapist and schedule your appointment in Bakersfield today!