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Benefits of massage

Some of the benefits of massage are obvious -- feeling revitalized, energized, connected, and balanced. Other important benefits include:

  • higher energy
  • enhanced ability to manage stress
  • improvements in memory
  • improved quality of sleep
  • reduction in 'mood swings'
  • stengthened immune function (after a regular course of treatments, people tend to become sick less frequently)

Further specific physical benefits of massage are listed below.

Athletes, or anyone who works out on a regular basis, find that consistently getting therapeutic massage not only improves their performance but that there are also a host of sports massage benefits. More and more people are including massage as part of their total workout plan.

You can also look at  studies from the The Touch Research Institutes which are institutes dedicated to scientifically demonstrating the benefits of touch therapy and establishing its credibility with the medical community.

Physical Benefits of Massage

  • Dilates the blood vessels
    Massage acts to dilate the blood vessels which increases the efficiency of both supplying fresh nutrients to the tissues and eliminating metabolic wastes out of the body.
  • Returns blood back toward the heart.
    Massage acts to promote the venous return of blood back toward the heart. This is particularly important for enhancing proper circulation within the extremities.
  • Helps drain sluggish lymph material
    Massage acts as a mechanical cleanser, helping to drain sluggish lymph material. Good lymphatic circulation is very important for ridding the body of toxic materials.
  • Improves muscle tone
    Massage improves muscle tone by mechanically stimulating inherent reflexes found within muscle fibers. This is particularly important to those who do not obtain adequate daily exercise due to a sedentary lifestyle or long periods of convalescence.
  • Prevents adhesions
    Transverse massage strokes help to prevent adhesions from occurring in between the muscle fibers.  When muscle fibers start to adhere together it acts to restrict their full range of motion.
  • Stretches the connective tissues
    Massage stretches the connective tissues which surround and support the musculature.  This promotes its health and prevents it from adhering to the muscle.
  • Lessens stiffness and swelling
    Massage can help to lessen the stiffness and swelling found within the joints due to injury.
  • Has a stimulating or sedative effect on the nervous system
    Massage can have either a stimulating or sedative effect on the nervous system depending on: the type of massage given, the duration of actual massage time, and the present state of the nervous system.
  • Aids in weight reduction
    Some authorities believe that vigorous massage can aid in weight reduction by mechanically bursting fat capsules and then further by aiding in the reabsorption of fat back into the blood stream.
  • Brings awareness to the area being massaged
    Massage brings the client's awareness to the area being massaged, and awareness in itself can bring about healing.

Source: Swedish Massage I manual, Twin Lakes College.

Benefits of Sports Massage

Sports Massage covers three main main categories: event (pre- and post-), maintenance, and rehabilitation. Event massage takes place before an event (or workout), as part of warming up, or afterwards, to reduce the muscle spasms and metabolic buildup that occurs after intensive exercise. Maintenance massage is designed to help the athlete reach peak performance through a routine program of massage. Rehabilitation massage aids in the management of both acute and chronic injuries. These benefits are valuable not only for athletes, but for anyone who works out on a regular basis.

Pre-event or pre-workout massage(15-20 minutes)

  • Warms up the muscles - getting the blood circulation going
  • Allows muscle to warm-up without causing pre-event tiring
  • Allows longer workout with reduced risk of injury
  • Increases flexibility and range of motion

Post-event or post-workout massage(15 - 20 minutes)

  • Relieves DOMS(Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) - in some cases cutting the recovery time in half
  • Relieves muscle cramps and spasm
  • Jump starts the process of removing lactic acid and metabolic buildup in muscles that occurs with exercise.

Maintenance / Rehabilitation massage (1 - 1 ½ hours)

  • Increases flexibility and range of motion
  • Speeds up the body's recovery process by helping to eliminate lactic acid and waste matter from muscles
  • Reduces muscle soreness, stiffness, cramps and pain
  • Reduces the risk of injury
  • Improves muscle tone
  • Manages both acute and chronic injuries; especially when therapies such as Trigger Point release and Cranio Sacral are used.
  • Reduces muscles adhesions scar tissue formation.
  • Eliminates or prevents muscle adhesions resulting from injury
  • Recharges and renews body
  • Increases blood circulation and lymph flow
  • Enhances the body's innate healing abilities