If you've ever had a massage, then you know the feeling. Tense, sore muscles melt like butter as your body completely and totally relaxes. It's an amazing feeling—and one that has some pretty fantastic health benefits. Here are five that stand out.
It can ease all types of tension
We all have tension in our lives, from mental and emotional to physical stress. On the mental and emotional side, massage has been shown to improve mood and relieve anxiety. Physically, getting a massage can literally counter the effects of sitting at a desk or driving all day. The tension that collects in the neck and shoulders can be blissfully released during a 60-minute session.
It can improve your body's functions
The purpose of massage therapy is to ease muscle tension—and that's exactly what it does. Massage improves and increases circulation and has been proved to boost the body's white blood cell count, which plays a significant role in fighting off disease. Massage can also help increase your body's range of motion, allowing you to do more with your day.
It can detoxify your system
Massage plays a huge role in ridding the body of toxins. And less toxins in the body equals less disease. Much of this has to do with the body simply slowing down. When you get a massage, not only is your nervous system more calm and your heart rate lower, but your stress hormones are also slowed down. This can help maintain hormonal balance and can detoxify your system so you're better able to fight off or manage conditions like asthma, dermatitis, and diabetes.
It can help you sleep better
Sleep is closely tied to the functions of the nervous system. And when you get a massage, the nervous system slows down. When the nervous system is calm, you're typically able to have a deeper and more restful sleep. Who doesn't want that?
It may be covered by insurance
Fortunately, health care providers are realizing the benefits of massage, and many are incorporating it into covered services. Check with your employer's benefits program to see if massage is covered, especially if you have an HSA where you can get reimbursed.
If you don't have the time or money to spend on a massage, foam rollers and massage guns can get the job done as well.
Foam rollers are excellent for easing muscle tension, increasing range of motion, and aiding in relaxation. I use it after each workout and before stretching to prep muscles and work out any knots.
The same goes for massage guns. They offer a type of percussion therapy that can give you a deep tissue massage at home. You can use one or more of the device's many attachments to target specific areas of the body.
The bottom line
Whether you choose deep tissue, hot stone, trigger point or an alternative, know that you're doing your body some good—and getting a self-care treat—when you get a massage.