New Findings on the Physical Benefits of Massage

Introduction

Around 214 million massages are enjoyed in the US in a typical year, with pain relief, rehabilitation from injury, and relaxation being the top three reasons why. Massage is, indeed, associated with rest and stress relief, which is why it is the starring feature of the world’s top spas and it is often used for this purpose by athletes and professionals with physically challenging jobs. However, it also has powerful physical benefits for both adults and children. Below are just a few findings on the benefit of one of the world’s best-loved therapies.

Massage for Chronic Neck Pain

Neck pain is a significant personal and societal burden, as it affects between 30% and 50% of adults in the general population. A recent study published in the journal Musculoskeletal Science and Practice (Buyukturan, 2021) has shown that massage, when paired with specific muscle stretching therapies and physiotherapy, can help quell this sometimes debilitating pain. Massage benefits people in additional ways by boosting circulation, relaxing muscles and preventing muscle strain, and improving posture. As poor posture is linked to neck pain, working on this area is key for those who are prone to pain. Stress, another factor that can cause human beings to tighten their neck muscles, can also be effectively reduced by massage thanks to this therapy’s effect on the release of feel-good endorphins and neurotransmitters.

Hand and Foot Massage Relieves Ortheoarthritic Knee Pain

Another study carried out this year (Sabet, 2021) found that massage was successful in improving pain and function in people with knee osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis can cause functional limitations and increase the risk of falls since people with pain in one area try to compensate by changing the way they walk. The type of massage involved in this study was Swedish massage, which usually comprises four main techniques: effleurage (sliding hands over the skin), petrissage (kneading muscles and tissue), frictions (rubbing the fingers back and forth over specific areas), and tapotement (striking the hand swiftly with the pinky side of both hands to boost circulation).

Massage Boosts Muscle Healing

A third study published this year (by scientists at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard) found that massage does not just make muscles feel better. It also boosts their strength and shortens their healing time. In the study, scientists applied controlled forces to leg muscles, finding that those that had received regular massage recovered stronger and faster than those that had not. Massage helps rid the muscles of inflammatory cytokines, enhancing the process of muscle fibre regeneration. It can therefore be a useful aid for those training for boot camps, athletic competitions, and top-level sports.

Summary

Massage has a plethora of benefits attached to it – including stress relief and pain reduction. New findings have shown that it can be specifically beneficial to those which chronic neck pain and fatigue. Massage can also play a key role in fitness and training programs since it helps muscles heal faster and makes them stronger.

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