Hello! It’s that time of year again to go forth and make that New Year’s resolution. Hitting the gym, eating better, getting the right amount of sleep required by your body, becoming more organized in your daily life. Fantastic! Those are excellent goals to work toward. But, how about adding a resolution you will actually look forward to keeping? Why not add massage to your wellness goal for the new year? Regular massage has many health benefits.
You are probably thinking that massage is just for pampering. While pampering is nice, it is however an incorrect. You will enjoy so many benefits from massage that pampering is in a way just a side benefit. Let’s look at some of the real benefits of regular massage.
Blood pressure management. Wait, what?!? You read that right. Massage will help with the lowering of blood pressure. First let me clarify that. Massage is not a replacement of your prescription medication for management of hypertension, aka high blood pressure. It does however help lower stress levels and in turn lower your blood pressure. Yes you are getting relaxed and that might be perceived as pampering but in reality, it is so much more than pampering. Leaving your high blood pressure unchecked increases your risk for other cardiac issues. The long term effects from a thorough massage last for several days. This can be used in addition to going to the gym to improve your over all health.
Performance improvement. So you decided to hit the gym and get back that awesome body that you had a few years ago. Great! Feel the burn. Feel that thrill of running or feel that core muscle group strengthen up. Clear until you feel that pull, that tightness of over working the muscles. Maybe even a muscle strain. Feeling a little discouraged? Don’t be. By going to see a massage therapist, you get help stretching and lengthen those muscles that have been overworked or strained so you can get back to the gym quicker and not lose your momentum.
Conquering the dread insomnia bug. The average adult needs at least 7-9 hours of sleep on average in order to maintain a healthy body. (This includes managing your blood pressure). So you go to work, work your 8 hours and go home, fix dinner, help the kids with homework, do household chores, then a shower and off to never-never land. Only that isn’t how it always works. Crazy hectic schedules have a profound ability to affect this down time. Our brains are still amped up from going and we just don’t know how to stop. The good news is that massage is excellent for improving melatonin levels that allow us to reach that golden apple of deep sleep. By getting the recommended amount of sleep, we in turn lower our stress levels.
Headache relief. At some point in the year, chances are good that you will have to fight a crummy headache. Depending on the type of headache that is afflicting you, massage can have an amazing effect. For headaches related to sinus issues, there are techniques to alleviate the sinus congestion that is wringing you out. If it is a migraine that is haunting you, there are several areas in the scalp, neck, shoulders, and jaw that can be a contributing factor of that migraine. If it’s a good old fashion tension headache then definitely, the neck and scalp can be bringing on these complaints. How is that related to the whole New Year’s resolution? Simple. It’s about quality of life, which is what the resolutions are intended for. Improving your quality of life for the long run.
Reducing Anxiety. So you are looking up at the list above and think that the list is all well and good but it isn’t reaching to an area of concern you have for the new year. Wrangling your anxiety to a manageable level. Surprise! Massage helps with that as well. When you looked at how the massage helped with blood pressure and insomnia, did the back of your mind think to itself, I wonder if that helps with my anxiety. Massage can provide a soothing and calming treatment during those rough times. Often times, the massage therapy room is low lights, with calming music just to start with. Warm blankets, heated tables, and hot towels or stones do wonders for the knotted and anxious body. Soothing it to a more calm state of being.
According to the Mayo clinic: “Studies of the benefits of massage demonstrate that it is an effective treatment for reducing stress, pain and muscle tension.” So how often should you receive massage? It depends on what your goals are. If it is for overall wellness then once or twice a month. If it is for stress management or discomfort management, then once every week or two weeks is recommended. Are you looking to enhance your athletic performance, then two to three times a week. Now, that being said, isn’t massage something that you want to add to your wellness routine for the New Year?