It has long been known that massage feels good and can be beneficial to our health even as far back as Hippocrates. Over time, people began to realize specific health benefits of massage therapy, like lower blood pressure and a reduction in stress levels. However, it wasn’t until recent years that a greater understanding of the science behind these benefits was really gained.
Let’s look at some of the physiological effects of massage to understand how it actually makes us feel better.
Reduce stress – Cortisol
You always feel so relaxed after a massage, and the results can last for days afterward. This isn’t just because of the soothing touch and relaxing atmosphere. It’s also caused by a reduction in cortisol levels in your body, i.e. the stress hormone. Less cortisol lowers stress and anxiety levels, helping us feel more relaxed and to sleep better at night.
Boost immune system – Lymphocytes
After a single 45-minute massage, participants in a scientific trial were found to have increased levels of lymphocytes. While your red blood cells are responsible for transporting oxygen around the body, these white blood cells are in charge of fighting off disease and infection. So, higher levels of lymphocytes equates to a more efficient immune system, reducing your chances of getting ill.
Increase energy levels – Mitochondria
Something else you’ll find more of in your post-massage body is mitochondria. These are found inside the cells of your body and are responsible for respiration – the process that releases energy for our body to use. More mitochondria means higher energy levels, making you feel less lethargic.
Lower blood pressure – AVP
A hormone called arginine vasopressin, or AVP, is responsible for constricting your blood vessels, among other things. This means that less blood can flow through your body and to your muscles and organs. Studies have shown that massage can reduce AVP levels, therefore helping to lower blood pressure. This has a number of benefits, like improving heart health and reducing the risk of stroke and other conditions.
Boost your mood – Endorphins
Less stress and higher energy levels are bound to have positive effects on your mood, but it’s not just that. Massage has also been shown to boost the levels of endorphins in your brain. Increased levels of the endorphins serotonin and dopamine produces happy feelings, helping to boost our mood for some time after receiving a massage.
The proof is there, and many doctors are now recommending professional massage to their patients as a treatment for various ailments. Book a massage with us today to feel the benefits that massage can offer you, or get in touch to find out more about our services.