Receiving regular massages will help you to recover from injuries quicker, prevent new injuries from occurring, and to decrease your everyday pain level if you suffer chronically.
Receiving a massage produces a "relaxation response." The relaxation response is a natural bodily reaction in which your heart and breathing rate slow, your blood pressure goes down, your production of stress hormones decreases, and your muscles relax.
Even a single massage session has been shown to increase bodily awareness and significantly lower cortisol and insulin levels - all of which help reduce daily stress. Research has shown that massage can lower your heart rate and blood pressure, relax your muscles and increase the production of endorphins, your body's natural "feel good" chemical. Serotonin and dopamine are also released through massage, and the result is a calm, relaxed feeling that makes both chronic as well as short-term stress much easier to overcome.
Massage therapy relaxes muscle tissue, which reduces painful contractions and spasms. By touching the skin, applying pressure, and moving/stretching the overlying fascial component of the muscles, muscle tension and tightness is alleviated. This relaxes your muscles, tendons, and ligaments, which relieves muscle pain and soreness.
Massage helps to improve blood and lymph circulation, thus improving the flow of nutrients to the tissues and the removal of toxins from the body. As cellular health improves, tissues function more efficiently. Improved circulation also helps to relax your muscles and benefit your overall well-being.
By working on muscles, connective tissues, tendons, ligaments, and joints, regular massage can improve your flexibility and range of motion, keeping your joints more fluid. Stretching your muscles helps to increase and maintain your flexibility while activating the neurological component of your tendons to reset their tension for lasting effects. The elongating and stretching of your muscles can also increase your joints' range of motion.
Clinical studies have showed that regular massage not only helps alleviate stress, but can naturally enhance the immune system's cytotoxic capacity (the activity level of the body's natural "killer cells") and decrease the number of T-cells, which improves the body's immune functioning overall. Researchers from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles stated that people who received a 45-minute massage in had an increased number of lymphocytes, which are white blood cells that play a large role in defending the body from disease.
Massage can be done to ease the pressure brought on during a migraine or tension related headache. By focusing on the neck, shoulders, and head, massage can decrease the pain and discomfort brought on by migraine or tension headaches. Receiving regular massages can also reduce the chances of migraine attacks and tension headaches significantly by relaxing muscle spasms and trigger points.
By breaking down adhesions (scar tissue) and increasing range of movement, massage can reduce your chance of injury. Regular massage can improve your flexibility and range of motion, making you less injury prone.
Long-term studies have shown that a consistent massage program can decrease diastolic and systolic blood pressure. Lower blood pressure is also an effect of the "relaxation response" massage therapy produces.
Massage helps reinforce healthy and natural movements, which can help to correct bad or unnatural posture.