There's no denying the power of bodywork treatments or massages as it's all called. Regardless of the adjectives we assign to it (pampering, relaxation, rejuvenating, therapeutic), or the reasons we seek it out (a luxurious treat, stress relief, pain management), massage therapy can be a powerful tool in your healthcare regimen.
Experts estimate that upwards of 90 per cent of disease is stress related. And perhaps nothing ages us faster, internally and externally, than high stress. While eliminating anxiety and pressure altogether in this fast-paced world may be idealistic, massage can, without a doubt, help manage stress. This translates into:
Enhanced sleep quality
Furthermore, clients often report a sense of perspective and clarity after receiving a massage. The emotional balance bodywork provides can often be just as vital and valuable as the more tangible physical benefits.
The burning question is
what exactly are the benefits of receiving massage or bodywork treatments? Useful for all of the conditions listed below and more, massage can:
Alleviate lower back pain and improve range of motion.
Assist with shorter, easier labour for expectant mothers and shorten maternity hospital stays.
Ease medication dependence.
Enhance immunity by stimulating lymph flow, the body's natural defense system.
Exercise and stretch weak, tight, or atrophied muscles.
Help athletes of any level prepare for, and recover from, strenuous workouts/strains/sprains.
Improve the condition of the body's largest organ, the skin.
Increase joint flexibility.
Lessen depression and anxiety.
Promote tissue regeneration, reducing scar tissue and stretch marks.
Pump oxygen and nutrients into tissues and vital organs, improving circulation.
Reduce post-surgery adhesions and swelling.
Reduce spasms and cramping.
Relax and soften injured, tired, and overused muscles.
Release endorphins/amino acids that work as the body's natural painkiller.
Relieve migraine pain.
In response to massage, specific physiological and chemical changes cascade throughout the body, with profound effects. Research shows that with massage:
Arthritis sufferers note fewer aches and less stiffness and pain.
Asthmatic patients show better pulmonary function and increased peak-air flow.
Burn-injury patients report reduced pain, itching, and anxiety
High blood pressure patients demonstrate lower diastolic blood pressure, anxiety, and stress hormones.
Diabetic patients experience improved circulation.
Premenstrual-syndrome sufferers have decreased water retention and cramping.
Oncology (cancer) patients have reduced pain.
There are numerous health benefits associated with a foot and leg massage. With the popularity of spas and clinics these days, even hospitals and various clinics are now offering the same services to their patients. Let me enumerate some of them for your added healthful information.
It is proven effective in reducing stress by decreasing the stress hormone cortisol, which in turn helps boost the immune system. It has also been studied that touch therapy can help prevent stress-related anxiety which can help calm a patient's mind and avoid mental panic.
Helps cancer patients
Reflexology, various therapies and acupressure have been used to provide temporary relief for cancer patients from their symptoms. Foot and leg massage, for example, can assist in decreasing the anxiety, intense pain, nausea, excessive vomiting, fatigue and stress for those afflicted.
Less muscle tension and pain
Appropriate massages can bring relief to the muscles, tendons and ligaments in the legs and feet. The applied pressure from a soothing massage can stimulate chemical changes which reduce pain and muscle stress. Foot reflexology also helps lessen the possibility of a leg muscle cramp, while energising inactive muscle areas.
Good blood circulation
Feet and leg pressure massage can contribute to healthy nerves which regulate normal blood pressure. Consequently, pre-hypertension in persons in their 30's and early 40's can be the prevented. Further, continuous blood flow is promoted, reducing the incidence of artery hardening.
for pregnant women
According to the American Pregnancy Association, leg and foot massage can normalise hormones and the risk of birth complications. Other benefits include leg-cramp prevention, anxiety avoidance and an enhanced mental state.
For all the health benefits that are mentioned above, it can be argued that foot and leg massages do aid in prolonging life while curtailing early signs of aging. Decreased stress, anxiety and depression, good blood circulation and a strengthened immune system can all help slow the aging process of a human being.
In fact research continues to show the enormous benefits of touch, which range from treating chronic diseases, neurological disorders, and injuries, to alleviating the tensions of modern lifestyles. Consequently, the medical community is actively embracing bodywork, and massage is becoming an integral part of hospice care (for cancer patients) and neonatal intensive care units. Many forward-thinking practitioners recommend massage treatment as part of the recovery process after surgery or for patients in pain.
Benefits of frequent visits
While getting a massage can do you a world of good, frequently massages can do even more. This is the beauty of bodywork. Taking part in this form of regularly scheduled care can play a huge part in how healthy you'll be, and how youthful you'll remain with each passing year. Budgeting time and money for bodywork at consistent intervals is truly an investment in your health. And remember, just because massage can sometimes feel like a pampering treat doesn't mean it is any less therapeutic. Consider massage appointments a necessary part of your health and wellness plan, and work with your practitioner to establish a treatment schedule that best meets your needs.
Your feet mirror your general health . . . cherish them!
Leana Huntley is an English trained foot health practitioner
attached to ALMAWI Limited
The Holistic Clinic.