Massage is one of the oldest healing arts: Chinese records dating back 3,000 years document its use; the ancient Hindus, Persians and Egyptians applied forms of massage for many aliments; and Hippocrates wrote papers recommending the use of rubbing and friction for joint and circulatory problems. Today, the benefits of massage are varied and far-reaching. As an accepted part of many physical rehabilitation programs, massage therapy has also proven beneficial for many chronic conditions, including low back pain, arthritis, bursitis, fatigue, high blood pressure, diabetes, immunity suppression, infertility, smoking cessation, depression, and more. And, as many millions will attest, massage also helps relieve the stress and tension of everyday living that can lead to disease and illness.
So What Is It Exactly?
Massage, bodywork and somatic therapies are defined as the application of various techniques to the muscular structure and soft tissues of the human body. Specifically:
Massage: The application of soft-tissue manipulation techniques to the body, generally intended to reduce stress and fatigue while improving circulation.
Bodywork: Various forms of touch therapies that may use manipulation, movement, and/or re-patterning to affect structural changes to the body.
Somatic: Meaning “of the body.” Many times this term is used to denote a body/mind or whole-body approach as distinguished from a physiology-only or environmental perspective.
The Benefits of Massage
What exactly are the benefits of receiving massage or bodywork treatments? Useful for all of the conditions listed below and more, massage can:
• Alleviate low-back pain and improve range of motion. (ROM)
• Assist with shorter, easier labor for expectant mothers and shorten maternity hospital stays.
• Ease medication dependence.
• Enhance immunity by stimulating lymph flow—the body’s natural defense system.
• Exercise and stretch weak, tight, or atrophied muscles.
• athletes of any level prepare for, and recover from, strenuous workouts.
• Improve the condition of the body’s largest organ—the skin.
• Increase joint flexibility.
• Lessen depression and anxiety.
• Promote tissue regeneration, reducing scar tissue and stretch marks.
• Pump oxygen and nutrients into tissues and vital organs, improving circulation.
• Reduce spasms and cramping.
• Relieve migraine pain.
Increase the Benefits with Frequent Visits
Getting a massage can do you a world of good. And getting massage frequently can do even more. This is the beauty of bodywork. Taking part in this form of regularly scheduled self-care can play a huge part in how healthy you’ll be. Budgeting time and for bodywork at consistent intervals is truly an investment in your health.