The Value of Massage (As If You Needed a Reason)

Do you remember how good you felt the last time you had a massage? Depending on just what’s been going on in your body and how you carry the stresses of your life, the “afterglow” of a therapeutic massage can range from peaceful calm and a more pliable body to the sense of walking a little bit above the ground, with your spirit more buoyant than it was before and your steps less heavy. When I get a massage, I always notice how soft my skin is and how much more expansive I feel in my body—like I’m more fully present inside myself. I can breathe more deeply and easily, and the normal feel of my muscles pinched up in anxiety and stress is gone, at least until the next day. The next day? That’s crazy! This feeling of bliss should last for more than a day, but it rapidly devolves into the craziness of managing my life. I’m working on keeping that bliss going, though—I’ll let you know when I come up with something.

 

As you might expect, massage is beneficial to us physically, emotionally, and spiritually. So, even though massage may feel like a luxury to be savored only on special occasions, it can be an incredibly important part of your self-care regimen (you do have one of those, right?). Regular massage therapy can improve your quality of life and health in numerous ways. It has been found to:

  • Decrease anxiety and depression
  • Increase circulation
  • Enhance sleep quality
  • Bestow greater energy
  • Reduce fatigue
  • Improve concentration
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Relieve muscle tension and pain
  • Increase self-awareness
  • Improve respiration
  • Help manage chronic pain
  • Detoxify the body
  • Increase immunity
  • Improve skin integrity

The most obvious benefit of massage is touch. In addition to feeling wonderful, the value of touch in our lives is enormously important. It is one of our earliest instincts, and the need for comforting contact extends across the animal kingdom. Studies have shown that touch is vital for proper physical and psychological development in babies, recovery from injuries, management of chronic diseases, treatment of neurological disorders, and maintenance of emotional health. Today, therapeutic touch is becoming more mainstream, evidenced by its primary place in complementary and alternative medicine as well as the increasing availability of massage therapy in hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, neonatal units, hospice services, retirement communities, and almost every shopping center! In the near future, we’ll dig deeper into how you can add massage into your life, even if it’s part of your self-care routine at home; how you can help yourself when you give yourself whiplash (let’s move on, shall we?); and how you can spread comforting touch to the human and animal loved ones in your life. Take good care of yourselves, and have a wonderful weekend.

 

Brooke

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