Feeling sore and achy from sitting too long at your desk? Nursing a stiff neck or shoulder from that weekend pick-up game? Massage therapy can ease your pains, soothe your muscles, relieve your stress and improve your overall outlook.
Of all the treatments offered by chiropractors in the United States, by far the most popular, and the most common, is massage therapy. Swedish massage is the most typical style used, as it treats a wide array of ailments and conditions.
Massages don’t just feel good; they are good for you. Manipulating the body’s muscles and tissue has distinct medicinal benefits. When muscles tense, they can constrict nearby blood vessels or compress nerves, causing piercing tweaks of pain. Massaging the muscles and surrounding tissue improves circulation, bringing oxygen and nutrients to the area. The healthier the body’s cells, the more efficiently they function. This improved efficiency and enhanced circulation can speed-up muscle recovery after injury or exercise and, many believe, flushes out chemical toxins.
Research indicates that massage therapy prompts increased production of endorphins and the mood-altering hormone serotonin. Endorphins are a kind of brain chemical called a neurotransmitter; some of these chemicals can reduce pain and relieve stress. Serotonin is another example of a neurotransmitter; at normal levels this chemical promotes feelings of contentment.
Conversely, massage therapy can inhibit the production of cortisol, known as the “stress hormone”. It’s also called the fight-or-flight hormone for its role in our primitive self-defense mechanisms. Though it’s important in times of danger, in daily life too much cortisol can spike a person’s stress level, making them chronically anxious and uneasy.
While massage can be an important treatment for upper and lower back pain, sore neck, insomnia, muscle spasms and even indigestion, it is also an excellent way to prevent ailments, stay limber, improve sleep patterns, and promote general wellness.