Massage is a "hands on" treatment that dates back more than 4,000 years. The aim of having this therapy is to improve the overall health and well being of an individual by manipulating the body's soft tissues and muscles. A qualified a massage therapist typically uses a wide range of kneading and stroking techniques to achieve this goal. According to the National Health Interview Survey, more than 18 million Americans visit a massage therapist or spa every year. Massage therapy is beneficial and aids the body's circulation, as well as proper functioning of the nervous system. However, this "hands on" therapy also has several risks. Keep reading for the benefits as well as risks associated with this ancient therapy.
BENEFITS OF MASSAGE THERAPY
Therapeutic massage can help your muscles relax, according to a study done by a health facility based in Los Angeles. After receiving a massage, participants showed low levels of the stress hormone cortisol. In addition, the body's production of arginine vasopressin also decreased significantly. This shows that after a hard day's work, you need to unwind by booking an appointment with a massage lower east side therapist or one in your own neighborhood.
Depression and Anxiety
A study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry shows that the treatment can help treat depression. Researchers involved in the study noted that massage reduced levels of depression and stress in all the participants. In addition, participants were able to sleep much better at night.
The American Pain Society recommends massage therapy to patients with chronic low back pain. According to the Journal of Pediatric Psychology, massage can help patients with mild to moderate rheumatoid arthritis. The same is true for patients with osteoarthritis, as well as pain due to accidents, over use such in sports or repetitive strain injury.
The rigors of modern life can easily overwhelm even the most hardened individual. Add to this mix a diet that that consists of unhealthy foods and it is easy to see why high blood pressure is such a big problem. Figures published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that 1 in every 3 adults in the US has high blood pressure. Treating complications related to this condition costs a staggering $131 billion every year. The good news is massage therapy can help lower high blood pressure. A report published in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement therapies shows the effect more clearly. Participants who received therapeutic massage experienced a decrease in diastolic and systolic blood pressure.
Many people undertake major house cleaning every summer as well as gardening. After a hard day's work, you may experience stiff muscles. This is where massage comes in handy. For example, massage therapy can help ease muscle stiffness in the neck and shoulder area (Journal of Bodywork and Movement).
Boost Immune System
A weak immune system means that your body cannot fight off infections effectively. Researchers from the Department of Psychiatry at Cedars Sinai found that a taking a Swedish massage increased the body's production of lymphocyte cells. These play a big role in mounting defenses against diseases.
Cancer treatment can take a toll on the body. Therapeutic massage helps relieve the pain, fatigue and nausea caused by cancer treatment. The Journal of Psychosomatic Research shows massage therapy benefits cancer patients by increasing levels of natural killer cells and lymphocytes. At the same time, massage lowers mood disturbances and stress levels associated with aggressive cancer treatment.
RISKS OF MASSAGE THERAPY
For pregnant women, it is advisable to seek medical attention before receiving therapeutic massage. In addition, you should only receive massage from a therapist with experience in handling pregnant women. You should also avoid massage therapy if you are experiencing morning sickness or carrying a high-risk pregnancy.
This is a no-brainer. The kneading strokes used by a masseuse or masseur can aggravate open wounds. Let the wound heal before you can have massage therapy. Alternatively, you can inform your therapist about the open wound in order to find ways of working around it.
Fractures From Sports, Accidents or Aging
Pressure applied during therapeutic massage can easily cause fractures in people with brittle bones. This includes people suffering from osteoporosis. The same is true for people with bones that are in the process of healing after an injury.
Massage therapy is a wonderful form of "hands on" treatment. The American Massage Therapy Association reckons that a quarter of Adults in the US receive at least one massage every year. The inherent health benefits of this form of treatment include better management of depression and anxiety, stress relief, pain relief, lowering high blood pressure levels, and boosting the immune system. On the other hand, the treatment has health risks such as fracturing brittle bones, aggravating open wounds, and rupturing blood vessels in hemophiliacs.