Feeling stressed or in pain? Massage therapy can help
By Aleisha Theisen, PTA, NBC-HWC
At FYZICAL – Forest Grove, we enjoy serving our community through a spectrum of specialized physical therapy and wellness services. This month, we are highlighting one of those specialties: massage therapy.
With the holidays just around the corner, are you looking for the perfect present for a friend or family member? Or maybe you’re feeling your muscle tension rise with the busy season, and you need some time out for your own self-care. Whether you or someone you know is dealing with pain or stress, the gift of massage from FYZICAL - Forest Grove is a thoughtful and effective way to promote well-being.
Benefits of massage therapy
Anna Hill, LMT, our licensed massage therapist, is passionate about helping FYZICAL clients achieve pain relief, relaxation, and overall well-being through her customized sessions.
According to the Mayo Clinic, massage therapy can:
- Reduce stress
- Decrease muscle tightness
- Promote relaxation
- Boost the immune system
Research backs this up. Numerous studies over the past few decades show that massage therapy, if performed by a licensed massage therapist, can improve wellness in a variety of ways.
A systematic review in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that massage was more effective at reducing short-term low back pain than several other noninvasive interventions. Additionally, a recent meta-analysis in Complementary Therapies in Medicine found that massage therapy reduces postoperative pain.
Massage therapy can also enhance athletic performance. A study published in Frontiers in Physiology found that athletes who received massages after intense exercise experienced reduced muscle soreness and improved muscle performance. This suggests that massage therapy can help athletes recover faster and perform better in their respective sports.
Mood, stress, and immunity
Massage therapy is not only beneficial for physical health but also for mental well-being. Research published in the International Journal of Neuroscience found that participants who received regular massages experienced a decrease in anxiety levels. According to a study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, participants who received regular massages experienced a significant decrease in cortisol levels, a hormone associated with stress. This reduction in stress hormones can improve your mood and your sense of overall well-being.
Moreover, massage therapy has been shown to boost the immune system. The study from the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine discovered that participants who received massages had increased levels of lymphocytes, the white blood cells that play a crucial role in defending the body against infections. This suggests regular massages can strengthen the immune system and help prevent illnesses.
A great way to unwind during the holidays
As these studies show, massage therapy offers a wide range of health benefits. From reducing stress and muscle pain to improving athletic performance and mental well-being, the positive effects of massage therapy are plentiful. The holidays can be hard on our stress levels and immune systems, and massage is a great way to care for ourselves and others so the season is more enjoyable.
Want to treat yourself or a loved one to a massage and experience these incredible benefits firsthand? Give us a call at 503-357-1706 to schedule a session with our licensed massage therapist. You can read more about her services here.
Aleisha Theisen is a physical therapist assistant and a board-certified health and wellness coach.
Disclaimer: This blog is provided for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Nonpharmacologic Therapies for Low Back Pain: A Systematic Review for an American College of Physicians Clinical Practice Guideline. Chou et al. 2017. Annals of Internal Medicine.
The effect of massage therapy on pain after surgery: A comprehensive meta-analysis. Liu C, et al. Complementary Therapies in Medicine.
Guo et al. 2017. Massage Alleviates Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness after Strenuous Exercise: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Frontiers in Physiology, 8, 273191.
A Preliminary Study of the Effects of Repeated Massage on Hypothalamic–Pituitary–Adrenal and Immune Function in Healthy Individuals: A Study of Mechanisms of Action and Dosage. Rapaport et al. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 2012. 18:8, 789-797.
Massage Therapy Reduces Anxiety and Enhances EEG Pattern of Alertness and Math Computations. Field et al. Intern. J. Neuroscience. 1996. Vol. 86. pp. 197-205.