The word massage comes from massa, an Arabic word meaning “to stroke.” Massage uses manipulative techniques to move the muscles and the soft tissues of the body.
Massages are said to soothe the body and mind, but a growing consensus shows that it has added health benefits. For example, therapeutic massage is now being sought as a means of therapy and rehabilitation to help increase blood circulation, improve lymphatic drainage and reduce tension.
Massage is also used to treat headaches, insomnia and backaches. Some patients use therapeutic massage to treat high blood pressure, arthritic and rheumatic pain and even colds and asthma.
Recent studies are confirming the health benefits of massage. In one study it was discovered that the amount of cortisol, a stress hormone, changes after a massage and are dependent on the intensity of the muscle stimulation. It also appears that that loosening the muscles with massage may trigger the release of endorphins, which in turn boosts a sense of well-being.
More research is needed to determine massage’s exact health benefits, but until then most people are content knowing that it just feels great.
But whether you have an ailment that might benefit or you just need some time to relax, massage is a welcome relief in today’s hectic world. After an hour of relaxing bliss you might soon be a believer in its healing touch too.