The Health Benefits of Massages - Crozer-Keystone Health System - PA

Published on February 18, 2015

The Health Benefits of Massages

There’s nothing that says relaxation and indulgence more than getting a massage. Getting a soothing massage can help you unwind and forget your stresses for a bit, but that’s not all it can do for you.

The term “massage” is a general description for pressing, rubbing and manipulating your skin, muscles, tendons and ligaments. During a massage, a massage therapist will typically use their hands and fingers, but they may also use their forearms and elbows to apply a range of light stroking to deep pressure.

These varying levels of pressure depend on the type of massage. A Swedish massage is a more gentle form, including long strokes, kneading, deep circular movements and tapping with the focus on relaxing and energizing you. Contrastingly, a deep massage includes slower, more forceful strokes that target the deeper layers of your muscles and connective tissues. Deep massages commonly help those dealing with muscle damage from injuries. When someone suffers a sports injury, they can take advantage of a sports massage, which is similar to a Swedish massage, to treat and prevent future injuries. Similarly, a trigger point massage focuses on tight muscle fibers that can form after injuries or overuse.

Studies have backed up the benefit of massages for pain. Massages can help people struggling with back pain feel and function better. In fact, one study shows that massages reduced the need for painkillers by 36 percent for those suffering from persistent low back pain.

Other research found massage helps with osteoarthritis of the knee pain, fibromyalgia and nerve pain.

Massages can address another kind of pain too – headaches. Regular massages can help reduce the number of migraines a person has, and it can also reduce how painful each migraine is. One study found that a 30-minute massage decreased the pain of tension headaches and even curbed some of the stress and anger associated with a bad headache.

Massages can also soothe your anxiety and depression – they reduce your levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. Reducing cortisol not only makes you feel better emotionally, but it can also contribute to lowering blood pressure. Massages can also trigger the release of serotonin and dopamine, which can help ease depression.

When people are going through traditional treatments for cancer, massage may be used to complement it. Massage has been used to not only promote relaxation in cancer patients, but also to reduce the symptoms and side effects of the treatment. It can help reduce pain, swelling, fatigue, nausea and feelings of depression.

Some studies have shown that massages may even keep you healthy. Massages may give your immune system a boost by increasing the activity levels of your T cells, which ward off viruses.

With all of the health benefits, both mental and physical, you no longer have to feel like massages are an overindulgent luxury – they’re actually improving your overall wellbeing.

The Spa at the Healthplex

Nurture your mind, body, and spirit in the full-service Spa at the Healthplex® Sports Club. Treat yourself to a stress-melting massage, a rejuvenating facial, or a sea-salt body scrub. Schedule an appointment with one of our specially trained technicians for a manicure or pedicure, hair coloring and styling, waxing, micro-dermabrasion, or any of our other decadent skin, hair, and body treatments. Our Spa staff is here to provide you with the ultimate in pampering, comfort, and relaxation.

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