While massage is popular as a mental relaxation tool, it can also go a long way in improving your physical well being. Therapeutic massage helps improve circulation, increases range of motion, reduces headaches, and even lowers the stress hormone cortisol, making it a highly effective way to improve your general wellness or treat certain health conditions, such as:
Arthritis. Because massage improves circulation, it is often used by people who suffer from inflammatory conditions like osteoarthritis. Studies have shown that regular massages can help reduce pain and stiffness, improvehand grip strength, increase range of motion, and improve overall joint function for patients with arthritis.
Carpal Tunnel. If you’re suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome, which is often caused by repetitive activities such as typing, massage may help alleviate your pain. Carpal tunnel occurs when the nerves in your anterior wrist become compressed or inflamed, and massage relieves that compression.
Migraines. Migraines, or tension headaches, are often brought on by stress, so one of the best ways to treat chronic migraines is with a stress-reducing massage. Studies reveal that massages reduce the level of cortisol in the body, and many people report feeling more relaxed and sleeping better after they’ve had a massage.
Sports Injuries. Whether you’re a professional athlete or a casual exerciser, therapeutic massages may help if you suffer from a sports injury. Many injuries occur due to the overuse of certain muscles, and massage can help relax those muscles so you recover more quickly and are less likely to suffer from an injury in the future. Even if you’re recovering from a more serious injury, such as a broken bone, massage may help the rehabilitation process by reducing stiffness and restoring movement.
Lower Back Pain. Lower back pain is often caused by muscle soreness or even a muscle strain, and, as anyone who has ever experienced this type of recurring pain before, can sometimes be hard to manage. Massage treats lower back pain by decreasing the tension and muscles and by improving circulation so the muscles and tissues of the lower back can get the nutrition they need.
Sciatica. This condition, which is caused when the roots of the sciatic nerve are compressed, leads to sharp, shooting leg pain that’s almost unbearable at times. A Professional licensed Massage Therapist may be able to reduce that pain by massaging the muscles of the leg to improve circulation and reduce the compression.
This is just a small sampling of the types of health conditions that a massage can help manage. If you’re suffering from chronic pain or a stress-induced injury, talk to your doctor about whether massage may complement your treatment.
Anice Lombard, Massage Mama. Mama of 2 and Massage Therapist