If you’re like most people, massage is something reserved for a special occasion such as being on vacation. And that’s if you’ve ever tried it at all.
But the truth is that if you aren’t getting massages on a regular basis, you’re missing out. Because it turns out massage doesn’t just feel great (which is DOES!), it also delivers some major health benefits.
Picking the right type of massage
There are more than 80 different massage styles to choose from. But don’t let that overwhelm you, because the most popular choices for folks who are just getting started can be narrowed down to four.
1. Swedish massage:
Perhaps the most familiar massage style, Swedish massage uses long strokes that knead the top layers of muscle. It’s especially good for relaxation and restoring energy levels.
2. Neuromuscular massage therapy:
Neuromuscular massage therapy is specifically designed to help relieve chronic pain felt in muscles and nerves.
3. Deep tissue massage:
Deep tissue massage focuses on trouble spots in individual muscles, tissues and tendons. Instead of relaxation, the goal of DTM is to relieve chronic tension and pain, as well as to address injuries.
4. Chair massage:
Found in public spots such as airports and shopping centers, chair massages just feel good. And while a chair massage isn’t the same thing as having a professional do the work, they’re great for first timers who are trying to get used to the idea of a massage.
Picking the right massage therapist
Once you’ve decided on your massage, it’s time to find your massage therapist. It’s important to find a professional therapist to get all the massage benefits and avoid injuries.
Every state has different license and certification requirements, so when you call to make your appointment, ask if their massage therapists are licensed and certified to practice in your state. You don’t want someone manipulating your muscles who doesn’t know what he or she is doing.
5 massage benefits to boost your health
One of the best reasons to have a massage is simply because it feels great. But it turns out there are some specific massage benefits that make it a good idea to add it to your regular routine.
1. Relieve pain:
The most obvious massage benefit is that it can help relieve pain. Studies conducted by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health have found that massage can help ease back, neck and joint pain.
Still other studies have shown massage can reduce muscle pain caused by overwork or injury. And a regular massage can reduce the frequency and severity of tension headaches, too.
2. Eases cancer side effect:
If you’re battling cancer you don’t need us to tell you the toll it takes both physically and mentally. In studies, massage helped ease some of the most common side effects of traditional cancer treatments. It can help relax patients, soothe their pain and lift their spirits.
3. Lifts depression:
Several studies, including one that analyzed 17 separate studies, have linked massage to lower rates of depression, and better overall mental health. And while massage isn’t a replacement for depression or anxiety treatments, it can be an excellent addition to your current solutions.
In one study researchers found massage to be as effective at calming anxiety as being able to retreat to a relaxing place and deep breathing exercises.
4. Reverses the toll sitting takes:
You’ve probably heard by now that sitting too much can be as bad for you as smoking. But let’s face it, some days it’s impossible to fit the recommended 10,000 steps into your day. A regular massage can help counter some of the damage that too much sitting does to your health.
Massage boosts circulation, so blood flow isn’t interrupted. It can help relax muscles, ease tension and even improve your posture.
5. Boosts immunity:
Massage can improve your overall health by boosting your immunities. According to a study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, regular massage can help increase white blood cells, the worker bees of your immune system.
If you’ve reserved massages for special occasions—or if you’ve never had one before—make this the year you turn this surprisingly healthy habit into a regular routine. Don’t miss out on these massage benefits.
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