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Massage involves pressing, rubbing and manipulating your skin, muscles, tendons and ligaments. You can get a massage or self-massage. Many studies demonstrate the benefits of massage for easing mental and physical ailments. So, we’ve put together a list of 31 different illnesses and pains that massages can help.

1. Anxiety and depression

There is scientific evidence that suggests that people who get massages are less anxious and less depressed.

For example, a 2010 study conducted by Cedar-Sinai Medical Centre in Los Angeles, examined subjects’ blood samples before and after a Swedish massage. It determined that even after one 45-minute session the levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, decreased.

Furthermore, women diagnosed with breast cancer who received massage therapy three times a week reported being less depressed and less angry, according to a 2005 study published in the International Journal of Neuroscience.

2. Digestive disorders

If you’re suffering from digestive issues an abdominal massage can help. Sometimes this could be due to stress creating unhealthy levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. Massages reduce this level, relaxing your body and relieving tension in your digestive system.

3. Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a long-term illness that causes pain all over the body. The exact cause is unknown. However, it is thought to be related to abnormal levels of certain chemicals in the brain and changes in the way the central nervous system processes pain messages. It can often be triggered by a physical or emotionally stressful event. Receiving a regular massage will relieve this pain, by relaxing the body and releasing tension.

4. Headaches

“Massage decreases frequency and severity of tension headaches,” says Lisa Marie de Miranda, registered massage therapist and kinesiologist at Paleolife Massage Therapy. Research from Granada University in Spain found that a single session of massage therapy immediately effects perceived pain in patients with chronic tension headaches. Headaches can also be caused by stress so when the body is relaxed the stress hormone cortisol is reduced, thus reducing the pain of a headache.

5. Insomnia

Studies have shown that there is a strong link between weekly massages and reduced insomnia. This creates a chain reaction to better health because getting enough sleep contributes to helping other health issues such as a weak immune system or depression.

6. Soft tissue strains and injuries

Strains and sprains are caused by injury, poor posture, being overweight or muscle overuse which often leads to muscle spasm, pain and tense muscles in your hips, glutes, back, neck and legs. Studies have shown that targeting muscles in a massage can help speed up repair to muscle damage from injuries.

Man receiving a sports massage

7. Sports injuries

Sports massages help prevent and treat sports injuries. Massaging muscles increase flexibility, lowering the chance of injuring yourself while doing physical activity. Stimulating the blood flow around damaged muscles also speeds up the healing processes of sports injuries.

8. Joint pain and arthritis

Massages also help bone and joint related pain, illnesses and inflations. Massage therapy allows the body’s muscles to loosen and relax. As a result, the joints have greater freedom, flexibility, range of motion, and pressure points are relieved, thus relieving joint pain. This also helps increase your mobility.

9. Feelings of caring, comfort and connection

Physical human touch helps relieve and reduce feelings of anxiety and depression. Instead, the receiver feels cared for, comforted and a physical and psychological connection.

10. Carpal tunnel syndrome (repetitive strain)

Repetitive strain syndrome can cause strain on your muscles and joints. This is especially common for people with desk jobs, those who do a lot of sitting or those who have repetitive jobs. You might develop an injury in your hands, wrists, arms, neck or back. However, massage will help reduce these pains by allowing your muscles to relax and release the tension.

11. Physical pain

Tiffany Field, director of the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami says, “When you bump your elbow or knee and experience pain, your first instinct is to rub the pain site.” This plays into something called the “gate theory” of pain, which theorises that your brain is unable to fully register painful stimuli when touch receptors are activated. “This is another way pain might be alleviated by massage.”

12. Boosts immunity and helps people with cancer

Massage is now being widely used as a complementary treatment because it offers a reduction in many of the symptoms associated with cancer, including nausea, pain, insomnia and fatigue.

Furthermore, a 2010 study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that massage boosts patients’ white blood cell count, which plays a large role in defending the body from disease. Additionally, it also “improves immune function for individuals with HIV,” says de Miranda.

Old woman receiving a neck massage

13. Helps lower blood pressure and helps improve circulation

Improved circulation is part of a snowball effect that occurs in the body as a result of receiving regular massage therapy. This is because proper circulation brings damaged, stiff, and tense muscles the rich blood supply they need to promote healing.

14. Post-operative recovery

Massage can help with recovery after an operation. It stimulates blood flow for faster healing and it also boosts immunity, helping to prevent post-operation infection.

15. Improving lymphatic drainage

Lymphatic drainage is a therapeutic massage treatment. The massage uses very light pressure and long, gentle, rhythmic strokes to increase the flow of lymph,  a clear slightly yellow fluid, and reduces toxins in your body. The lymph system is part of your body’s immune system and helps fight infection.

16. Back, leg, and neck pain

Massages can help back, leg and neck pain by relieving tension and pain in those muscle areas.

17. Asthma

Stress can make asthma symptoms worse. A Journal of Paediatric study indicated that children with asthma experienced less anxiety and better airflow after receiving a pre-bedtime massage every night for a month. Strengthening the chest muscles, which can lead to improved circulation and pulmonary function, can be accomplished with various massage techniques. Massage plays an important role in training the body on how to relax and help improve breathing.

18. Oedema

Massage promotes circulation to injured muscles, which increases nutrients and oxygen to the damaged tissues. In turn, this increases activity to the affected sites reduces stiffness and oedema (swelling) in the muscles, joints and bones.

19. Parkinson’s disease

Massage therapy has been proven to improve Parkinson’s sufferer’s day-to-day activities, sleeping habits, walking, stress, rigidity, stiffness, fatigue, and other symptoms. If these symptoms aren’t addressed, depression, poor self-esteem, and isolation can set in or get worse.

20. Palliative care

Massage therapy can be a way of relieving pain without dealing with the cause of the condition if curative care is not an option.

Woman having a massage to relieve pregnancy pain

21. Pregnancy and labour support

Massage therapy can help pregnant women before and during labour by relieving tense muscles and joints.

22. Temporomandibular Disorders

Temporomandibular joint disorder causes pain in the front of the ear, headaches, jaw spasms, neck pain or the inability to open the mouth normally. This disorder can be caused by trauma, inflammatory, degenerative arthritis, poor dental work, a structural defect that pushes the mandible back towards the ears whenever you chew or grinding your teeth due to stress. Therefore, the relaxing quality of massage could ease symptoms, especially the ones caused by stress.

23. Tendinitis

Tendinitis occurs with when tendons are torn due to overuse. Massage therapy can speed up the recovery period. Studies show that massage stimulates the production of collagen in damaged tendon fibres, thereby healing the injured part more rapidly.

24. Whiplash

Whiplash occurs when you strain your sternocleidomastoid (SCM) muscles. A sudden movement could stretch or tear the muscles or tendons. However, Cranial Sacral Therapy is a gentle technique known to provide relief for headaches and neck injuries. Also, Trigger Point Massage can often decrease pain after just one session and a more focused Deep Muscle Therapy is effective for persistent neck and back pain.

25. Improves posture

Massage therapy can help get the body back into proper alignment. Improving one’s posture can be one of the most beneficial and relaxing aspects of massage therapy. Massage allows the body to relax and loosen the muscles made tense and sore via bad posture. In turn, this allows the body to position itself in its correct posture. Moreover, the joints have greater freedom, flexibility, range of motion, and pressure points are relieved.

26. Relaxation

The purpose of massage therapy is to target the source of the body’s pain via eliminating tense muscles, increasing flexibility, and providing relaxation to the affected muscles as well as the body as a whole.

Woman relaxing having a head massage

27. Flexibility

Poor flexibility often causes uncomfortable stiffness. Fortunately, massage is tailored toward making it easier to increase your flexibility.

28. Re-energize and alertness

If you ever feel drained at the end of a workday, a Swedish massage will relax you. They also make the receiver feel more energetic throughout the rest of the day.

29. Increases your quality of life

Patients receiving palliative care experience a boost in their quality of life with regular massages, and the same is true for everyone. This is due to the reduction in stress and muscle tension that is relieved from massage.

30. PMS

The pain that some women experience before and during their menstrual cycle can be effectively combated by massage. Studies have shown a direct connection between massage and a reduction in water retention, depression and other symptoms of menstrual distress.

31.  Face scalp and hair health

A simple face and scalp massage are very relaxing, but it will also boost the health of your scalp, hair and facial skin. Some studies have even found that face massages can slow down the skin from sagging.

Why not bring the power of massage into your own home?

Are you having trouble sleeping or are you suffering from any of these ailments? Did you know that you can upgrade your adjustable bed to include an inbuilt massage system?

Massage controller for an Oak Tree adjustable massage bedThe gentle vibrating 5-point massage system is available with any of our foam mattress. The controller wand has 5 massage points: head, upper back, lower back, upper leg and lower leg. You can alter the intensity level and the body area of where you want a massage. Please note that our massage beds do not come with a heat setting.

Our customers say that with this massaging bed they fall asleep instantly, which switches itself off with the timer setting. You too can benefit from the power of massage.

For more information on our adjustable beds, click here.

Woman on an adjustable bed holding the controller

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