No-one considers massage an exercise – we all think of laying back and being pampered as a treat. But the truth is that there are great health benefits to be derived from regular massage therapy. In conjunction with other activities as part of your exercise routine, massage can help you keep both your body and mind in great shape. Of course, it’s also something many of us love to indulge in – so if you’ve been doing a good job of sticking to your fitness regime, reward yourself with a delicious massage. Here’s why you’ll thank us for the tip.
It boosts immunity
Your body has its work cut out every day, protecting you from the countless germs and bugs that are everywhere around us. That means sometimes it just needs a little tender loving care to keep it firing at its best – and massage is great for that. The effects of Swedish massage and lymphatic massage are believed to help increase the body’s count of white blood cells, which are vital in fighting infection and disease. Massage can also reduce the level of cortisol, a steroid known as the ‘stress hormone’ which destroys the cells that are the backbone of your body’s immune system. With cortisol levels cut, the body’s immune cells aren’t as compromised and it’s better able to protect you from coughs, colds and more.
It encourages relaxation
No points for guessing this one – it’s the reason most of us choose to have a massage in the first place. There really is very little like laying back and having your aches and pains soothed away by someone trained and truly talented in the use of their hands. But beyond the general feeling of wellbeing, the relaxing sensation is induced by massage normalizing soft tissue like muscle, connective tissue, ligaments and tendons, which can become tense in the course of our hectic day-to-day lives. What’s more, massage can release nerves and deeper connective tissues, and increase the body’s blood and lymph circulation.
When your body feels the restorative effects of massage, you can expect it to produce fewer stress hormones, and your pulse, breathing rate and blood pressure should all reduce. Shiatsu and Swedish massages can also increase the delta brain waves pulsing around inside you – these are linked to deep sleep, which might explain your tendency to nod off during a particularly good massage session.
It helps recover weary muscles
If you’re doing regular exercise as part of your health and fitness regime, it can take its toll on your muscles. This is especially true if you are frequently undertaking high impact exercise like running, step aerobics and cardio dancing. A sports massage, deep tissue massage or swedish massage can help your muscles more quickly recover their strength after a demanding workout, meaning you’ll be ready for your next round of exercise and will get more out of it. Research has shown that muscles massaged after exercise regain as much as four times more strength than those in people who go without a massage. Having a massage can leave you with fewer damaged fibers and prevent your body from needing to work as hard to repair itself.
Want to find out more about other enjoyable ways to boost your physical and mental health and wellbeing as part of a balanced fitness plan? Give us a call and see how we can help.