Everybody knows that massage is good. But just HOW good? Turns out, massage isn’t just for when your muscles ache, and you need relief. It can have far-reaching benefits that can truly make an impact on your whole life.
Here are 5 unexpected benefits of massage therapy:
#1. Eases Anxiety and Depression. A study published in the Journal of American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, found that patients who were depressed and anxious were much more relaxed and happy, and had reduced stress levels after a massage.
#2. Improved Sleep. This benefit goes hand-in-hand with the stress-reducing effects of massage. A study on back pain, published in the International Journal of Neuroscience, demonstrated that in addition to a decrease in long-term pain, subjects receiving massage experienced improved sleep and an increase in serotonin levels. Serotonin is necessary for producing melatonin, a hormone that influences the sleep stage of our circadian rhythm.
#3. Increased Self-Awareness. Receiving regular bodywork can help you create a kind of “inner vision” where the mind’s eye can more readily grasp the various connections within the body. A massage may bring awareness to areas of tension you may not have known about previously. Healing touch also creates for the receiver an internal map of the body. Simply getting in touch with one’s body in this way is a powerful tool for awareness and healing.
#4. Body Image and self-acceptance improves. If you are one of the many millions who struggle with negative body image issues, massage may be one of the most powerful ways to heal this. Perhaps getting a massage is beyond your comfort zone, because you wouldn’t want anyone to see your imperfections. Consider this: receiving massage from a therapist you trust can help you take those important steps towards self-love and acceptance. Massage therapists are helpers and healers, not judgmental at all about your body. They are thinking about the muscles and tendons underlying your skin, and have worked with many, many different bodies.
#5. Makes you a better lover. It’s a bold statement, I know. And I am not referring to “erotic” massage. I am referring to the higher level of somatic intelligence one gains through regular bodywork. You become more comfortable in you own skin, and that translates directly to your intimate relationships. Ohhhh lala!
By Brenna Moore, Licensed Massage Therapist in Kona, Big Island, Hawai’i