WHAT IS MASSAGE?

Massage is a treatment that aims to relax, revive and heal the body. Using manual hands-on movements and manipulation of the soft tissues and muscles in the body, massage therapy works to promote healing and enhance a person’s overall well-being.

There are many forms of massage therapy, each with their own benefits. No longer is massage thought of as a luxury, only available to those who can afford it. Treatment is available for anyone, whether for relaxation purposes, for sports recovery or for pain relief.

A massage is the stroking, kneading, rolling and pressing of the skin and muscles. There are many different styles, each with different origins and aims, but the premise of the treatment is the same – to relax and rebalance the body and to make you feel good.

With more than 250 variations of massage and bodywork therapies available around the world, understandably, it can get a little overwhelming. Below we look at some of the most common forms of massage, to help you learn which type of massage might be right for you.

BENEFITS OF MASSAGE

Many studies have linked massages to improved functioning of the immune system. In one 2010 study, massage was shown to improve production of white blood cells which fight against disease. The same study was repeated with a focus on how massage effects hormone levels and it showed that people who had Swedish massage twice a week had decreased levels of the stress hormone cortisol and more oxytocin, the trust hormone.

A relaxing massage can reduce anxiety, stress and depression. As I mentioned previously, massage has been proven to reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol. This improves your overall feeling of well being and can reduce blood pressure. Massage can also increase levels of the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine, which is great for people suffering from depression.

A study published in Science Translational Medicine in 2012 found that massage greatly relieves sore muscles after physical exercise. Just 10 minutes of massage can reduce inflammation and help your body recover more quickly.

​A 2011 study of lower back pain published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that Swedish massage or deep tissue massage can help alleviate chronic lower back pain. After receiving 1 massage a week for 10 weeks, 1 out of 3 patients were relieved of pain compared to 1 in 25 given ‘usual care’. A 2006 study published in the American Archives of Internal Medicine showed that frequent massages could decrease stiffness and pain and improve movement in people with osteoarthritis.
Even insomniacs may find it easier to get a good night’s rest after a Spa Experience massage treatment. Some people even fall asleep while they are being massaged! Many studies have addressed this phenomenon and accredit it to massage’s affect on delta waves, which are the brain waves associated with deep sleep.