Why is massage therapy beneficial?
Massage therapy is a natural healing modality.This healing modality has been a part of medicine for hundreds of years. It is used to promote healing from injuries and illness. Massage is also effective in helping to prevent stress related illness. Massage therapy has been proven to reduce the amounts of the stress hormone cortisol in the body. Cortisol is the hormone that causes the symptoms of stress including muscle pain, irritability, headaches and other physical symptoms. Digestion, which is often directly affected by stress, can be improved by application of regular massages.
Additionally, some scientists suspect that massage may release endorphins which produce a "high" or a sense of well-being similar to that which is achieved by exercise. Because of this effect, massage therapy has been particularly useful in helping arthritis patients who may not be able to exercise regularly. Massage can also help arthritis patients improve the range of motion in their joints.
Massage may also help improve circulation. It is theorized that the stroking motion of massage encourages healthy blood flow and assists in clearing toxins from the blood. The stroking motion may also assist the flow of lymph fluid. Lymph fluid bolsters the body's immune system, leading to increased resistance to disease.
Certain people should avoid all types of massage. These include people with open wounds or rashes, people with circulatory disorders, people who have had recent surgery and people with a history of blood clots. People with cancer should avoid massage following radiation or chemotherapy treatment and should avoid direct massage of any area with a tumor. Pregnant women are advised to avoid abdominal massage during the first three months of pregnancy.