My "magic hands" aside though, there is a science to what I do. In fact there is more and more research being done to support the fact that massage is more than a feel good way for people to pamper themselves; massage is good medicine. But, how does it work?
The Wall Street Journal recently published an article listing a variety of tangible health benefits of massage. For example, one study discovered that cortisol levels could be reduced by as little as a 45-minute massage. As you may know; cortisol is the stress hormone contributing to a long list of diseases from obesity to heart attacks.
Another study suggests that in as little as 10-minutes, massage could reduce proteins associated with inflammation in the body. It does this by aiding in the repair of micro-tears to the muscles, and encouraging adequate blood circulation.
When tight, bunched muscles relax and are lengthened through massage, they don't press as much on surrounding structures. As a result, circulation is restored, and the flow of oxygen rich nutrients and endorphins (natural pain-relievers produced by the body) flood the stressed muscles while removing metabolic waste. Thereby reducing fluid buildup in areas of swelling.
What's more, in 2012 a study of 401 people with low back pain was published. The subjects who received a massage once a week for 10 weeks not only experienced a reduction in pain, but an increase in mobility over their counterparts that received no massages at all. Some recipients noted that their benefit lasted more than nine months after the last treatment.
So "listen to your pain" and give your body what it needs. In fact, follow-up massage in times of stress can help prevent an old pain from flaring up. So, remember to schedule that next massage!
And as Always – Enjoy Your Life,
John Aaron Villarreal
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