A wide variety of styles and techniques to manipulate muscles, ligaments, tendons, and other soft tissue all fall under the heading of massage. In general, massage entails holding, moving, or applying pressure to an area of the body. The aim of massage is to relieve muscle tightness and spasms, increase blood flow, stimulate or relax the nervous system, prompt the flow of lymph and other secretions, and aid in the release of toxic substances from the body, so reducing stress. There are many types of massage. Some are used for medical purposes in sports medicine, rehabilitation, pain relief, and the treatment of cancer patients. Others are primarily for relaxation and the improvement of overall functioning.
Benefits of massage
Massage is generally considered part of complementary and alternative medicine. It’s increasingly being offered along with standard treatment for a wide range of medical conditions and situations.
Studies of the benefits of massage demonstrate that it is an effective treatment for reducing stress, pain and muscle tension.While more research is needed to confirm the benefits of massage, some studies have found massage may also be helpful for:
- Depression and anxiety
- Digestive disorders
- Insomnia related to stress
- Myofascial pain syndrome
- Paresthesias and nerve pain
- Soft tissue strains or injuries
- Sports injuries
- Temporomandibular joint pain
Beyond the benefits for specific conditions or diseases, some people enjoy massage because it often involves caring, comfort, a sense of empowerment and creating deep connections with their massage therapist.
Despite its benefits, massage isn’t meant as a replacement for regular medical care. Let your doctor know you’re trying massage and be sure to follow any standard treatment plans you have.
Couples should find time to help each other on this especially after a very stressful day.