The Physiological Effects of Monthly Massages
Sure, it feels great to pop in and see a massage therapist every now and then. It’s a great way to pamper yourself and relieve stress during a particularly crazy time. Self-compassion and the idea of splurging on yourself for once, otherwise known as “Treat Yo-Self,” means that it’s actually really great for you to spend a little time on self-care.
However, have you considered regular, monthly massage appointments? Besides having one day set aside each month, to treat yourself with a relaxing spa session, you will actually start to see some physiological effects of regular massages as well.
Here are a few short-term, and long-term ways you may start to notice your monthly self-care trip is benefiting your health.
Lowered Anxiety and Stress Levels: Even after your first massage, you will start to notice that you feel more relaxed, which can be a major plus if you suffer from stress and anxiety. When our bodies experience stress, we tend to tense up our muscles, which leaves our bodies feeling fatigued and sore.
Just one massage helps loosen up these muscles, increase blood flow, and lower stress and anxiety. Breast cancer patients have even reported feeling less depressed and less angry when they incorporated regular massage into their schedule.
Reduced Chronic Back Pain: If you are suffering from the debilitating problems associated with chronic back pain, you know how much it can cut into your daily routine and leave you feeling frustrated, in addition to the pain you’re already experiencing.
A study found that after 10 weeks of regular massage, people experiencing chronic back pain felt less discomfort, and even needed fewer painkillers to manage their symptoms. Cut down on the number of trips to your medicine cabinet with regular trips to see your massage therapist.
Help with Insomnia: Massages increase your serotonin levels, which aides in your ability to fall asleep, and stay asleep. You may find yourself relying on sleeping pills to get some shuteye, which nobody wants to have to take.
Unlike other sleep aids which can be harmful or addictive, you’ll experience no negative side effects from a massage, and you’ll find yourself able to fall asleep a little easier - especially after an evening massage.
For Patients with Diabetes: If you have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, regular massage could impact your blood glucose levels. Especially when massages happen at the injection or site of absorption for insulin, there have been marked improvements observed in lowered blood glucose levels.
Additionally, regular, increased blood flow as a result of your monthly massages can help with neuropathy symptoms that accompany diabetes, such as nerve pain. Make regular visits to your massage therapist to see improvements in your blood sugar levels, and feel like you’re getting seriously pampered, all at the same time.
Reduced Fibromyalgia Symptoms: Even after your first massage, if you experience the pain of fibromyalgia, you will notice decreased pain, but with regular massage, you will start to notice the following benefits as well:
● Better sleep (especially after evening sessions)
● Improved muscle strength and function
● Improved mental clarity (as a result of lowered stress)
● Headache relief
● Decreased stress and anxiety
Focus for ADHD: Studies have shown that massage has been helpful in increasing focus and decreasing the stress and anxiety that can accompany ADHD, especially in children. While immediate improvements were shown in their ability to focus and be less squirmy and more attentive in class, continued massage therapy has also shown long-term behavioral improvement in the classroom.
There was also an uptick in confidence as well. If your child is particularly squirmy, regular massage may help them pay attention to what they need to be doing in the classroom, and at home.
Continued Improvements for Patients with Diabetes: After 12 months, regular massages, especially at the insulin injection or absorption site, can help Type 2 patients not only see lowered blood glucose levels as seen after six months of massages, but actually close to normal blood glucose levels. Additionally, you may also notice a reduction in the amount of inflammation you are experiencing as well.
Lowered Blood Pressure: A high blood pressure can leave you at risk for stroke and other major health complications, but it’s actually been proven that the relaxation or regular massage lowers your blood pressure. You can help keep your blood pressure in check, all while enjoying the rejuvenating benefits of massage, with regular sessions with a skilled massage therapist.
Additional Health Benefits: Other ways that regular massage can help improve your overall health? With improved blood flow comes improved immunity, making you less likely to pick up to cold that might be floating around your office, or at your kids’ school.
Are you training for a race, or spending a lot of time at the gym or in a pilates class? After an extended period of regular massages, you may also begin to notice an increased range of motion.
Because you are repeatedly reminding your muscles to relax and repeatedly releasing tension, you may find yourself feeling a little bendier in your yoga classes. Tense muscles make it much harder to find your full range of motion, and happy, relaxed muscles support an increased range of motion.
It’s not just one day a month to splurge on sixty to ninety minutes of pampering. Regular, monthly massages will leave you feeling healthier and happier, and truly make a difference in your overall well-being.