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The benefits of massage therapy

What massage therapy can do for both body and mind

Author: Madeleine Pokroy October 23 2006

girl getting a shoulder massage

As the stresses and strains of modern life increase people are looking for ways of combatting the damage caused to both body and mind. One of the treatments that is gaining in popularity is massage therapy, and for good reason, since it has a range of both physical and emotional benefits.

The physical benefits of massage therapy include the following:

Reduced muscular tension

Massage therapy reduces muscular tension, aches and pains, both locally (at the points directly massaged), and holistically.

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Improved Circulation

Both blood and lymphatic circulation can be improved by massage therapy. These two circulatory systems work side by side in our bodies. Blood circulation brings fresh blood to our cells and tissues, bathing them in nutrients and oxygen, while lymphatic circulation removes impurities and excess carbon dioxide from bodily organs. In this way the body is strengthened and the immune system is given a boost.

Breaking down of knots and scar tissue

Our muscle fibres become twisted and knotted as a result of daily use, especially for those people in office jobs that provide limited movement or scope for stretching. Mental stress is another factor that can be expressed in muscular tension. Massage therapy will stretch out these tight muscles, ensuring optimum muscular function and range of movement. In addition scar tissue and muscle knots that have built up over time in the muscle fibres can be broken down, reducing pain and tension and helping to prevent injury.

Reduced headaches and eyestrain

Both tension headaches and the eye strain can be brought about or made worse by tension in the muscles of the head, neck and shoulder area. Massage therapy can address this tension and so reduce both headaches and eyestrain as a result.

Massage therapy has a range of emotional and psychological benefits too. In general it:

  • improves your sense of general well being
  • promotes relaxation
  • relieves stress, tension and anxiety
  • helps ease insomnia
  • helps ease depression
  • reenergises and stimulates both body and mind

Although the vast majority of people can benefit from massage therapy, there are a variety of conditions that may mean it is not a suitable treatment. Such conditions can include heart conditions, high blood pressure, rheumatism and others. Any competent massage therapist will ask you to fill in a medical questionnaire on your first visit to check for the presence of these conditions, and you should be suspicious of any therapist who does not ask.

But even if you have a possible contraindication, do not let this put you off going to an initial consultation, as every case should be judged on an individual basis. The fact is that most people will find a session of massage therapy (or even better, a regular course) to be both a pleasant and beneficial experience. Go on, spoil yourself!

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