We are all aware of the feel good, look great gifts of a facial, or the blissful “iron out the kinks” effects of a good massage. But now researchers are turning up a whole roster of new health benefits that we all need to know about.
The American Massage Therapy Association says massage can:
• Enhance the immune function in preterm infants.
According to the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), Pediatrics, “Research shows that for stable, preterm infants, daily massage therapy is positively associated with higher natural killer (NK) cell cytotoxicity and weight gain.”
American MTA President, Cynthia Ribeiro, says, “This research demonstrates that massage therapy can benefit preterm infants by enhancing immunity and stimulating growth. Parents of preterm infants are encouraged to speak with a certified massage therapist to learn more about techniques designed to aid in their child’s development.”
• Decrease blood pressure and improve stability in older adults.
Massage therapy is now being used to help older adults improve their balance, and maintain neurological and cardiovascular health. Older adults should discuss their symptoms and the possibilities in massage with their physician.
• Reduce stress, anxiety and pain in cancer patients. In many areas of cancer, ranging from breast cancer to children’s cancer, massage is now being used as a supplementary aid to lower anxiety, reduce fatigue and manage pain.
• Help improve osteoarthritis of the knee. Knees hurt? Massage may cut the pain and improve function. Researchers see it as an aid to use with other treatments. Osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis is mainly seen in older adults. In osteoarthritis, joints are damaged as cartilage, the joints’ shock absorbers, wear down and the disease often becomes disabling.
• Reduce inflammation after exercise. In a recent N.Y. Times article, Dr. Tarnopolsky, a professor of pediatrics and medicine at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, said “Massage works quite differently from Nsaids and other anti-inflammatory drugs, which reduce inflammation and pain but may actually retard healing.”
“Many people pop an aspirin at the first sign of muscle soreness. There’s some theoretical concern that there is a maladaptive response in the long run if you’re constantly suppressing inflammation with drugs. With massage, you can have your cake and eat it too—massage can suppress inflammation and actually enhance cell recovery.”
More and more U.S. adults are turning to massage therapy to solve health issues.
According to the AMTA, “Between July 2010 and July 2011 roughly 38 million adult Americans (18%) had a massage at least once. Of those surveyed, 75% of Americans claim that their primary reason for receiving a massage was medical (43%) and stress related (32%).
Also, 89% of individuals believe that massage can be effective in reducing pain; with 29% of respondents admitting they have used massage therapy for pain relief, and 50% of people saying their doctor has either strongly recommended or encouraged them to get a massage. “
When considering the health benefits of massage, as always, start with your doctor to see how they apply to you.
Story Credit: http://www.skininc.com/treatments/wellness/alternativetherapies/Studies-Show-Health-Benefits-of-Massage-Therapy-187918781.html
Image Credit: http://www.instinctivemassage.com/