‘Eat your vegetables. Exercise three times a week.’ Yeah, we know all the things we need to do to stay healthy. But here’s a health rule that you will be happy to keep: have a regular massage.
We all know that a massage can be the most relaxing thing in the world. But a regular spa date doesn’t just make you feel good—it can even help you live longer. These are just some of the long-term health benefits of having a regular massage. So go ahead, book that appointment, and don’t feel guilty about it either. Consider it doctor’s orders.
Massage relieves anxiety and depression
One study showed that even people who were suffering from severe emotional disorders (like depressed children or anorexic women) reported less stress after a massage. Massage also helped people who were trying to quit smoking to cope with the withdrawal symptoms.
Massages lowers your pain levels
Regular massage can help you deal with discomfort and pain. Researchers interviewed people who were suffering from chronic pain (like migraines and fibromylagia) or recovering from surgery. Those who had regular massages did not need that many pain relievers, or could manage with lower dosages. Even women who were massaged during labor reported less discomfort (possibly because the massage helped relax her muscles) and seeme to have shorter labors and hospital stays.
Massages strengthen your immune system
A stronger immune system can protect you from diseases and the cost of medical care and loss of income from days spent in sickbed. Given this, a massage seems pretty ‘cheap.’ Consider this: HIV patients, whose immune system were seriously compromised, experienced a boost in immune system cells after having regular massages. If it can work for them, it can work for you.
Massages improve energy levels
Exhausted from chasing deadlines and sleepless nights? Massages can dramatically improve your energy levels. In fact, one study of people who were going through cancer treatment—which can leave patients weak and bedridden for weeks—showed that the were less tired and recovered faster from the side effects. (Read more tips on how to look fresh and well rested.)
Massages lower blood pressure
Studies of people who had regular deep-tissue massages showed that they had lower blood pressure and calmer heart rates. This can have significant effects on lowering your risk for heart attacks and other serious heart conditions.
Massages help you have more restful sleep
Your body needs quality sleep in order to recharge. But most of us toss and turn in bed, waking up exhausted. However, studies show that even fibromyalgia patients were able to sleep better and more deeply if their treatment included massage and other relaxation methods.
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