Many of us associate massage therapy with indulgent spa days and luxurious vacations. However, a growing body of evidence suggests that regular massage therapy can have profound benefits for body and mind. According to a 2015 survey, over half of Americans who received massage used it to manage pain, help with injury rehabilitation, or support a health condition. Here are 6 reasons why you should aim to make massage a regular part of your wellness plan:
Massage is perhaps best known for its relaxing and de-stressing abilities. Stress can have wide-ranging effects on our health, from headaches to tension headaches. By helping manage the effects of stress, massage can soothe a wide range of associated health conditions.For a stress-busting massage, reach for sunflower, sesame, or almond oil. For an extra relaxing treat, try adding a few drops of lavender essential oil.
Helps You Detox
Our cells naturally detoxify themselves every minute of every day. Much of this work is done by your lymphatic system, a network of tissues that helps remove toxins and waste from the body. The lymphatic system has no natural "pump," in the way that your heart pumps blood through your arteries and veins. Instead, muscular movements like breathing and exercise are responsible for moving the toxins and waste in your lymphatic fluid out of your body. Massage is an excellent way to help encourage lymph movement, and help stimulate the body's natural detox processes.
For detox massage, use a blend of almond oil and milk thistle seed oil. Milk thistle seed oil contains a compound called silybin, which has been shown to help support detox processes in the liver. For an extra detox boost, add a few drops of grapefruit essential oil.
Helps Manage Muscle Pain
Whether you're an athlete sore from training, or recovering from a strain or injury,
massage can help lessen the pain and speed up the healing process. This is because massage boosts local circulation, bringing nutrients and water to the site of an injury while helping to flush away inflammatory compounds.
For muscle pain, use either sunflower or sesame oil with a few drops of wintergreen essential oil. Wintergreen contains salicylates, the same pain-reducing compounds found in aspirin.
Boosts Immune Function
Have you been catching every cold that comes around? Maybe you just need some regular massage! Massage helps stimulate the lymphatic system, which - in addition to supporting detox - is responsible for delivering white blood cells to tissues all over the body.
For an immune-boosting massage, reach for cold-pressed sesame oil. Sesame oil is rich in antioxidants, which help support a strong immune system.
Soothes Depression and Anxiety
Human touch fills our brains with all sorts of feel-good chemicals, and massage is no exception. Research shows that patients with anxiety and depression who have once or twice weekly massage sessions enjoy a significant boost in mood.
For mood-lifting massage, add a single drop of rose oil to a palmful of almond oil. Rose oil has been shown to help soothe depressed moods, even in times of grief.
Great for Glowing Skin
Massage helps boost blood circulation to the skin, in turn bringing extra hydration and nutrients to these delicate tissues. It can also help deliver anti-aging nutrients directly to skin tissue. This is because up to 50% of what we put on our skin gets absorbed into the body. For best results, use only the highest quality cold-pressed oils for massage.
For glowing skin, use oils rich in Vitamin E for massage and skincare. Cold pressed sunflower oil and almond oil are particularly good choices.