Not-So-Popular Benefits of Massage Therapy
If you’re all tense and knotted up, massage can certainly help you feel better. But a nice run down your body can offer a lot more than that.
Good Bowel Movement
Research published in the International Journal of Nursing Studies shows that people who are constipated can find relief in massage. In the study, 60 individuals with constipation were divided in two sets, where one was given laxatives and the other received laxatives and abdominal massage. Eight weeks later, the massage group reported better bowel movement and less abdominal pain that the pure-laxative group.
Stronger Immune System
Massage therapy has also been discovered to strengthen an individual’s immune defenses. A Cedars-Sinai Medical Center study showed that massage increased the number of circulating white blood cells or lymphocytes, which are the body’s defense agents against infections.
Low Back Pain Control
Chronic low back pain is notoriously difficult to handle, and new guidelines tell us to avoid the pill for relief. A drug-free way that actually works to manage the condition is massage. Around half of people with chronic low back pain who had 10 rounds of massage reported significant improvements in their pain, according to a study published in the Pain Medicine journal. Furthermore, the effects were sustained, with 75% of the subjects still feeling the improvement 24 weeks after the 12th round.
The University of Miami School of Medicine also embarked on its own low back pain research with 30 adult subjects, where those who had half-hour massage sessions twice a week for five straight weeks, observed less sleep-related problems and a dramatic improvement in quality of sleep. The research believe that less aches bring higher-quality shuteye, considering that massage also lessened the pain.
After a good massage, you usually say you feel “feel better,” which is not just in your mind because even your blood pressure gets better. According to a study, if you get a 10-15-minute Swedish massage thrice a week, your systolic blood pressure can drop by as much as 12mm Hg. The same research shows the effect can continue for up to 72 hours after each session.
Post-Exercise Soreness Prevention
Lastly, if a tough workout usually gets you limping, massage may be the answer. Based on a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, ten minutes of massaging the affected muscle can reduce soreness intensity. If massage isn’t possible after your workout, keep moving in what they call “active rest” – for example, ten minutes of shoulder shrugs – to get the same soreness-reducing effect.