Benefits of Massage
Peer-reviewed medical research has shown that the benefits of massage include pain relief, reduced trait anxiety and depression, and temporarily reduced blood pressure, heart rate, and state of anxiety. Additional testing has shown an immediate increase and expedited recovery periods for muscle performance. Theories behind what massage might do include blocking pain, activating the parasympathetic nervous system, which may stimulate the release of endorphin and serotonin, preventing fibrosis or scar tissue, increasing the flow of lymph, and improving sleep, but such effects are yet to be supported by well-designed clinical studies.
Pain relief: Relief from pain due to muscular skeletal injuries and other causes is cited as a major benefit of massage. Acupressure or pressure point massage may be more beneficial than classic Swedish massage in relieving back pain. However, a meta-study conducted by scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign failed to find a statistically significant reduction in pain immediately following treatment.
State anxiety: Massage has been shown to reduce state anxiety, a transient measure of anxiety in a given situation.
Blood pressure and heart rate: Massage has been shown to temporarily reduce blood pressure and heart rate.
Trait anxiety: Massage has been shown to reduce trait anxiety; a person’s general susceptibility to anxiety.
Depression: Massage has been shown to reduce sub clinical depression.