The Science of Touch: How Massage Affects the Mind and Body

How does massage benefit the mind and the body?

Massage is a powerful form of therapy with fantastic physical and mental benefits. It calms you down, eases tension in the body, and alleviates pain. Massage improves circulation, enhances digestion, balances body fluids, and strengthens the immune system.

Moreover, it fights stress, anxiety, and severe mental health issues like depression. There are numerous massage types, and each addresses a specific need.

Physical and Mental Benefits of Massage

Reduces Stress and Increases Relaxation

Massage is often associated with relaxation unless you opt for a deep-tissue massage. During and after a massage session, you feel stress and tightness diminishing and pain reducing.

Massage is also great for the nervous system as it lowers the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol is notorious for triggering our fight-or-flight responses.

Moreover, it increases feel-good neurotransmitters like oxytocin, endorphins, dopamine, and Serotonin. According to studies, Massage increases serotonin and dopamine by a staggering 30%. Serotonin balances the mood, while dopamine makes you feel more focused and productive.

Improves Sleep Quality

If you are one of the 35% of Americans that don’t get enough sleep, try incorporating Massage into your wellness regimen.

Acupressure is great for insomniac individuals. It combines reflexology and acupuncture, which improves sleep quality. According to a study in four Taiwanese hospitals, acupressure minimizes awake time and helps people sleep peacefully. If you don’t have a professional masseuse, try an acupressure mat with plastic or metal points.

Helps Manage Pain

According to the Harvard Medical School, Massage is an excellent therapy for painful conditions. A study in Complementary Therapies and Clinical Practice brought together 46 adults. It was found that people that receive regular massages experienced increased grip strength, reduced body aches, enhanced mood, and better sleep quality.

Similar research by Annals of Family Medicine, hour-long massage therapies a few times a week helped people with chronic neck pain. According to the arthritis society, Massage relieves muscle stiffness and improves blood flow and movement.

Improves the Immune System

According to a collaborative study by the British Broadcasting Corporation and Professor Fulvio D’Acquisto of the University of Roehampton, Massage increases white blood cells in people with HIV. The study also noticed a 70% increase in white blood cells in people without serious conditions. The researchers also found lower levels of Cytokines, molecules that contribute heavily to inflammation.

High levels of inflammation can cause asthma, cardiovascular issues, and depression. Another piece of research at LA’s Cedars Sinai Medical Center saw an increase in white blood cells in people that receive regular messages.

Helps Deal With Depression and Anxiety

In clinical trials carried out by the National Center for Integrative Health, it was found that Massage can help ease depression. Another study in the International Journal of Neuroscience revealed that breast cancer patients that received frequent massage therapies were less likely to feel depressed or angry.

Moreover, according to the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, anxiety-ridden and depressed patients had lower stress levels after massage sessions.

What are the health benefits of massage therapies?

Reduces Headaches

Massage is an effective alternative to medicines for dealing with headaches. A controlled study found that people who received 30-minute massage sessions a few times a week were less likely to have migraine attacks. In a similar study on Thai Massage, people who received nine sessions during three had milder migraines than those who received no message.

Improves Flexibility

Most massage therapies focus on relaxing muscles, joints, tendons, and ligaments. Massage makes the body flexible and the joints more fluid, thus minimizing the chances of injuries. It is more important for people with more physical activity than others.

If you work a tough job or play sports, massage can enhance your flexibility, thus making you more physically active and reducing the likelihood of muscle strain.

According to studies, massage can also serve as an alternative to voluntary stretching during athletic activity, and it can help people warm up before playing sports or hitting the gym.

Helps Maintain Posture

Before understanding the impacts of Massage on posture, you must understand what bad posture is. Bad posture is when the spinal cord is bent for extended periods, increasing pressure on the ligaments and joints. Massage can improve poor posture. Some of the best massages for posture improvement are sports massage, Swedish Massage and sports massage.

Reduces Heart Rate and Blood Pressure

According to studies, Massage calms the sympathetic nervous system. It is a part responsible for stressful and dangerous situations that make your blood pressure shoot up. Massage helps your body produce Serotonin, a feel-good hormone beneficial for cardiovascular health.

In a study published in the International Journal of Neuroscience, the researchers focused on 50 females going through menopause. It was found that 30-minute massage sessions for two months reduced blood pressure in the participants. It was also found that Swedish Massage is especially helpful for people with high blood pressure.

Increases Circulation

Blood circulation is one of the most crucial processes within the human body. The heart pumps blood while delivering oxygen and nutrients to your cells and removing waste. According to research conducted at the University of Illinois, Chicago, Massage significantly improves blood flow. Massage also benefits people who don’t work out. However, by no means is it an alternative to the gym.  

Improves Focus

We live in a world of distractions, so our attention spans are short. While the mind drifts quickly, Massage can help us focus and improve it. Not many people know that for our minds to focus, it is important for the heart rate to be lowered.

During a massage session, the heart rate goes down, which helps us focus better. Moreover, Massage produces dopamine, a feel-good neurotransmitter that improves our focus and makes us feel more productive.

Improves Digestion

Abdominal Massage helps deal with constipation, bloating, and digestive problems. According to a 2016 study, surgeries can hurt our digestive health. In the study, it was found that people that receive regular massages experienced improved bowel movement and reduced constipation. In a 2018 study, it was found that abdominal massages were good for digestive issues faced by people with an endotracheal tube.

For three days, the participants received two 15-minute massage sessions. Those who received the message were less likely to have poor digestive symptoms than those who didn’t. People receiving the Massage experienced reduced constipation, abdominal circumference, and stomach liquid.

Increases Range of Motion

With stiff, tight, and tense muscles, it is difficult to move freely, but Massage can help. According to the American Massage Therapy Association, a well-done massage can reduce muscle tension. If the muscle is constrained, it creates knots, thus restricting motion range.

During massage therapy, the muscles’ fibers are stretched, making us more flexible. What’s more important is the massage therapy you choose. Sports massage is one of the most effective, especially when improving the range of motion. Playing sports and working out is a blessing and a curse.

On the one hand, you are getting fitter, while on the other hand, your range of motion is being compromised. However, sports massage promotes healing, prevents injuries, and increases your range of motion. Furthermore, it also reduces inflammation, promotes better sleep and reduces anxiety.

Makes Us Fitter

Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh and the Ohio State University have found that Massage increases the regeneration of muscle fibers. It also helps aid receiver time during exercise sessions. It is helpful for people of all ages and allows them to clear their minds before the next workout session. One tool known for boosting fitness in people is the percussive massage gun.

Percussive therapy has several health benefits, including improved athletic performance. These guns are easily available in the market, but Theragun makes the best ones. However, several affordable alternatives are available and are just as good.  

Reduces Muscular Spasms

The feeling between tight and tender muscles makes us uncomfortable, and Massage can help us out of this. According to the University of Minnesota, Massage reduces muscle compression. When muscles contract, the compression affects the surrounding nerves. During a massage session, the nerves are relaxed and don’t remain as compressed.

Moreover, they start receiving the vital nutrients they need. When muscle tissues are relaxed, the likelihood of muscle spasms decreases. Shiatsu is a good massage for muscular issues. However, if you experience severe muscle spasms, you must opt for a deep-tissue massage.

Results in Spinal Decompression

According to statistical data, more than 80% of Americans sometimes face spinal issues. Thai Massage is extremely effective for people with spinal decompression. It reduces back pain, relieves joint pain, and improves the range of motion and flexibility. In Thailand, the researchers split test subjects into two groups.

One half was given hot packs, joint mobilization, and manual stretching; the other half received a Thai Massage. The ones receiving Thai Massage experienced the same level of relief as those with more conservative techniques.

However, it is better to combine Thai massage with other treatments. Moreover, it is important to take a second opinion on whether or not you need a Thai massage. Make sure to speak with a doctor first and share with them your medical history.

Reduces Labor Pain

Acupressure and massage tend to reduce labor pain, anxiety, and the number of medications needed during labor. It also shortens delivery time while minimizing the likelihood of a C-section. Interestingly, some women turn to acupressure as an alternative way of inducing labor.

Improves Balance in Senior People

As we get older, we start losing balance, which makes us more susceptible to tripping and falling. One way for senior people to improve their balance is by receiving regular massage therapies.

Postural muscles tend to weaken with age, which hurts balance and mobility. Stretching exercises can also strengthen the muscles, improving functionality, especially in the musculoskeletal system, but Massage has long-term benefits.

According to a study, older people that received massage therapies for six weeks experienced a stable posture and improved blood pressure.

Helps Deal With the Effects of Dementia

According to the WHO, there are more than 55 million people with dementia across the globe, and 10 million people are diagnosed with the condition every year. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia and contributes to over 60% of the cases. Contrary to popular belief, people with dementia don’t lose recognition for a caring and affectionate touch. Massage can help dementia patients deal with the severity of their condition.

It can also help them deal with feelings of anxiety and confusion. Moreover, dementia patients can deal with boredom and loneliness if provided with regular massage therapies.

Eases Symptoms of Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a condition affecting the musculoskeletal system. Along with pain, people with this condition face fatigue, disturbed sleep, and memory loss. According to the American Massage Therapy Association, Massage can help such people.

Moreover, regularly receiving massages for three-to-five weeks can also help with anxiety, depression and body ache. However, it is important to consider that the research on this topic needs more extensive and more studies. However, according to existing research, the results are promising.  

Final Word

Medications and medical treatments are extremely important for keeping your health healthy. While Massage is not an alternative to traditional remedies for health problems, it is extremely effective. It relaxes your muscles, calms the mind, and improves the functioning of various organs in the body.

At Asian Massage 2 Hotels, we ensure customers receive the best services at their chosen venue. Our massage girls are very professional and belong to various parts of Asia like China, Japan, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand and Myanmar.

Coming from different Asian backgrounds, each of our female massage therapists has something unique to offer. If you are in Vegas, contact us and book a massage session today.


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