Not-So-Popular Benefits of Massage Therapy
If you’re all tense and knotted up, massage can certainly help you feel better. But a good rubdown can give you so much more than that.
Better Bowel Movement
According to research featured in the International Journal of Nursing Studies, constipation can be relieved through massage. The study involved 60 constipated people who were divided into two groups – one took laxatives and had abdominal massage, while the other only had laxatives. Eight weeks later, the massage group reported better bowel movement and less abdominal pain that the pure-laxative group.
Stronger Immune Defenses
Massage therapy has also been found to improve a person’s immunity. According to a Cedars-Sinai Medical Center study, massage boosts the number of lymphocytes or white blood cells in circulation, strengthening the body’s defense against infections.
Low Back Pain Management
Chronic low back pain is notorious for being difficult to treat, and based on new guidelines, reaching for the pill for relief won’t really help – not in the long term, at least. A drug-free way that actually works to manage the condition is massage. Half of low back pain sufferers who participated in a Pain Medicine study reported feeling better after only 10 massage sessions. On top of that, the improvements were sustained, with 75% of the subjects saying they continued to feel the improvement up to the 24th week from 12th massage session.
The University of Miami School of Medicine also undertook its own research study involving 30 adult chronic low back pain sufferers, where those who received a 30-minute massage twice a week for five weeks, reported less sleep disturbances and better overall quality of sleep. As the massage also reduced the pain, it can be said that less aches can help improve shuteye quality, say the researchers.
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. A study shows, a 10-15-minute, three-times-a-week Swedish massage schedule can cause your systolic blood pressure to drop by as much as 12 mm Hg. The same study indicates that such effect can go on for up to three days after every round.
Post-Exercise Soreness Prevention
Lastly, if you usually feel very sore after a tough workout, massage can end this problem. 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 you can’t squeeze in a massage after your work out, just keep moving in “active rest” – for instance, ten-minute shoulder shrugs – so you can enjoy the soreness-lessening effect.