Massage therapy is defined as the physical manipulation of soft body tissues like muscles or tendons to improve a patient’s health. There are dozens of types of massage, and they fall into two broad categories. Relaxation massage, such as Swedish massage, helps relieve stress and anxiety. It is often performed in resorts or day spas. Rehabilitative massage, such as deep tissue massage, is used to reduce pain or help a patient recover from injury. It is performed at places like medical spas, clinics, chiropractic offices or hospitals.
Massage is generally considered a complementary or alternative form of medicine, and researchers have been studying it for years. They have found that massage really is an effective therapy for many conditions.
Relieve Sore Muscles
Massage therapy can relieve sore muscles. In 2012, the journal Science Translational Medicine reported that massage can help athletes recover from a hard workout. The researchers had a group of young men pedal on stationary bikes at maximum intensity and speed. They took tissue samples from the volunteers’ leg muscles before and after the workout. They then had therapists massage one leg on each volunteer and took samples from it. Upon comparing the post-workout tissue samples, the scientists found that the massaged legs had less NF-kB in them than the legs that had not been massaged. NF-kB is a protein that is partially responsible for inflammation in muscles during exercise.
The researchers also found that massage boosted the production of another protein called PGC-1alpha, which stimulates the production of organelles called mitochondria in cells. Mitochondria help generate energy in muscles and enable them to adapt to endurance exercises like cycling.
Relieve Stress, Depression and Anxiety
Several studies have shown that massage can improve mood. In one study involving 500 patients diagnosed with depression, the researchers measured the amount of cortisol, a stress hormone, before and after the volunteers got massages. The scientists found that cortisol levels had dropped by 53 percent in some patients after their massage. The researchers also found that the volunteers had increased levels of dopamine and serotonin, the neurotransmitters that reduce depression and increase happiness.
Treat Joint Problems
In a 2006 study, researchers worked with two groups of volunteers with knee osteoarthritis. One group got Swedish massages twice a week, while the other did not. The scientists found that the group that had gotten massage therapy showed significant improvements in range of motion and function. They also had less pain and stiffness and could walk more easily.
Learn More About Massage Therapy
The benefits of massage therapy speak for themselves. If you are looking for pain relief, relaxation and improved sleep quality with an easy and effective therapy, visit the medical professionals at Principled Healthcare Solutions. We are located in Hamilton and are proud to serve the area with many different personalized wellness services. Contact us today to learn more about massage therapy.