Many people get a massage because it feels good to do it. Massage therapy as a medical modality goes back thousands of years, with the first records being found in China and Egypt. The first written description of massage therapy was in a Chinese textbook written in 2700 BCE. Egyptian tomb inscriptions and paintings from 2500 BCE show massage therapy as part of the Egyptians’ medical offerings.
We get massages for a wide variety of reasons today
An ever-increasing group of research studies show the medical benefits of massage therapy. Other reasons for getting a massage include:
1. Stress Reduction
According to a research survey, 77% of all Americans deal with the negative effects that stress has on their lives on a daily basis. Stress is the direct cause of many health issues ranging from headaches to cancer. Finding a way to manage the stress of everyday living is a challenge for all of us (even the supposedly stress-free 23% responding that this survey).
With excessive stress, our bodies release adrenaline and cortisol into our bodies to help us cope with the fight-or-flight position that our bodies get into under stress loads. Excessive adrenaline and cortisol can be very damaging to our bodies, resulting in sleep difficulties that plague an inordinate number of Americans today.
Massage therapy releases our body’s own analgesic, the endorphin hormone that makes us feel good and alleviates pain.
2. Medication Reduction
Americans have gotten used to getting the quick fix that prescription pain relievers offer, so much so that overdoses of these medications claim more lives annually than overdoses of heroin and cocaine combined. Up to 45 people die every day by an overdose of prescription pain relievers.
That does not even present the whole picture, as it fails to identify the other 997 people negatively affected by prescription pain medication usage. These people are often admitted to abuse clinics, make emergency room visits, abuse or are dependent on the meds, or they take the meds just to be taking them.
Massage therapy is a much more holistic and less dangerous method of managing pain, even the pain of arthritis and fibromyalgia.
3. Fountain of Youth
Forget Botox, wrinkle creams, and other cosmetic aids – when it comes to making a person look younger, nothing quite beats getting a massage. Even fashion models get a facial massage before hitting the runway.
The skin is the largest organ of the body, and massages dramatically improve the circulation in the skin, giving it a natural, healthy glow and relaxing facial muscles. Relaxing facial muscles tends to reduce or get rid of frown lines and crow’s feet around the eyes.
Massages increase energy levels by increasing the oxygen level in the blood stream, thus nourishing every cell in your body. Improved circulation helps the lymphatic system remove the toxins from the body that are so ubiquitous in our society today.
Research has also shown that massage therapy helps the body to produce more natural killer cells, thus enhancing the immune system. If Ponce de Leon had only known about massages, he could have saved himself year of searching for the Fountain of Youth by hiring a massage therapist for his ship.