The Benefits of Massage Therapy
by Brian Dean

Massage therapy has changed a lot over the centuries, and it is just that – therapy - the act of caring for someone. In the times of the Greeks and Romans, massage was used to help with injuries and muscle problems for soldiers returning from battle. Today, it is a means of helping someone regain and maintain good health.

Massage has moved from something expected in red light districts and given by people of questionable cleanliness to a part of mainstream healthcare. Licensed massage therapists are trained for hundreds of hours in anatomy, physiology, healthcare, pathology, and several styles of massage. Their goal is to help a person regain a level of heath that they may have had before being injured, and help people with no injuries maintain health simply by the beneficial effects massage has on the body.

Although a part of mainstream healthcare, massage is contained under the umbrella of 'holistic' treatments. In a massage session, the skin and muscles are moved, rubbed, and pounded to bring them back to and keep them in proper health. The movements used bring muscles into proper function, help remove pain, improve circulation, and many other things. These effects of massage are good for anyone whether they are in good condition or not. In cases where someone is in pain, it may be the answer to help bring them back to good health. Where someone has no problems, massage can help a person relax and de-stress.

When an injury occurs, massage movements can help to reduce pain and speed up healing. Problems like muscle pulls, back pain, stiff neck, tight shoulders, leg pain, and others can be lessened through massage. Sometimes, depending on the seriousness of the problem, that area may not be able to be worked on during the acute stage (the first 24 - 48 hours). During that time, the areas around the injury may be worked to make them stronger and increase blood flow to the injured area. (Increased blood flow equals faster healing.) The massage movements will lengthen muscle fibers and make them more pliable. Making them pliable makes them give and bend easier so they won’t knot up and cause more pain. After the acute stage, the injuries may be worked on directly to speed up healing and bring a person back to full health.

Massage can be a great tool to help a sore body feel better when it is hurting, but it can also help a body maintain good health even when it is not in pain. The massage movements help a person relax and become calm. They help relieve stress and give a person a little ‘quiet time’ where they don’t have to think about things in the world rushing around outside. Massage can help keep muscles toned even when one does not exercise. (It works even better when paired with a good exercise program.)

Massage also improves blood flow. The blood circulating through the body delivers oxygen and nutrients to all bodily systems. By improving the flow of blood, massage improves the body’s ability to stay healthy.

Basically, massage from a licensed therapist...

  • relaxes muscle spasms and relieves tension and stress.
  • improves muscle tone.
  • lessens pain and facilitates movement and flexibility .
  • has a calming effect on the nervous system which adds to peace of mind.
  • calms tightened muscles, enhancing one's sleep and freedom of movement.
  • promotes well being, both physically, mentally and spiritually allowing one to feel better overall.
  • dilates the blood vessels, improving the circulation and relieving congestion throughout the body, therefore promoting healing and total wellness as well as improving longevity.
  • encourages the retention of nitrogen, phosphorus, and sulfur necessary for tissue repair and new growth.
  • acts as a "mechanical cleanser" stimulating lymph circulation and helping with the elimination of wastes and toxic debris.
  • makes one feel good.

So, give yourself a treat, and improve your health at the same time. Your body (and mind) will thank you.