A massage is much more than a luxurious treat; it’s also a way to achieve better health. Many physical rehabilitation programs use it, and it can provide relief from many chronic conditions, relieve stress, and help you get better sleep. Documentation of its use dates back 3000 years, making it one of the oldest health and wellness treatments performed by humans.

Keep reading to discover six ways massage can help you live a healthier, happier, more comfortable life.

Improves Immune System Functioning

Getting regular massages helps your immune system battle viruses and infections. A study from Cedars-Sanai Medical Center found that people who received a forty-five-minute massage had an increased amount of white blood cells, cells that play an important role in keeping you healthy.

Massage decreases the body’s levels of cytokines, molecules associated with chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation is thought to be an underlying cause of depression, cardiovascular disease, some types of cancer, arthritis, Alzheimer’s Disease, and many other harmful conditions.

Reduces Stress and Anxiety

Massages are relaxing. They slow your pulse, lower your blood pressure, and soften your muscles. They also stimulate the release of dopamine and serotonin, two feel-good hormones that relieve stress. Higher levels of dopamine and serotonin promote feelings of happiness, enhance your ability to concentrate, and improve your self-confidence.

Massage lowers levels of cortisol, a stress hormone. Too much cortisol can lead to weight gain, anxiety, and depression.

The fact that massage increases levels of serotonin and dopamine while simultaneously decreasing levels of cortisol makes it an excellent treatment for stress and anxiety.

Better Sleep/Less Fatigue

Massage helps you achieve deeper levels of sleep. The deep state of relaxation you enter during a massage is similar to healthy sleep. Experiencing this tranquility makes it easier for your body to rest.

Massage therapy encourages your body to produce more melatonin and helps reset the body’s circadian rhythms, two essential elements of deep, healthy sleep.

Reduces Pain

Massage is an excellent way to reduce chronic pain. By stimulating your body’s production of serotonin, it provides pain relief similar to that of prescription pain medication but without any dangerous side effects.

The sleep benefits obtained from a massage help with pain reduction as well since adequate sleep is vital to pain management.

Aids Digestion

Your digestive system delivers energy and nutrients to your body while flushing out toxins you don’t need. Massage aids this process by speeding up waste removal and improving circulation, encouraging quick delivery of nutrients to your body’s vital systems.

It also helps regulate digestive functions. One way it does this is by stimulating the small intestine. This aids in the absorption of fat. This is important because an adequate amount of fat in your diet allows your body to absorb fat-soluble vitamins that are essential to good health.

Massage is much more than an indulgence. It’s a tool you can use to get more energy, experience less pain and improve your overall health.

Source: cedars-sinai.edu/About-Us/News/News-Releases-2010/Adults-Demonstrate-Modified-Immune-Response-After-Receiving-Massage-Cedars-Sinai-Researchers-Show.aspx

Source: ncbi.nlm nih.gov/pubmed/16162447