Getting a massage has always been known to relieve sore and tight muscles and a great way to take a mini vacation of relaxation, but is their other benefits to this simple pleasure? Believe it or not, the human touch is one of the most powerful things we connect to, a simple hug from someone can make everything feel better and massage is no exception. Ongoing research suggests that massage has more benefits then we ever thought including managing depression, anxiety and much more.
Earlier this year a new study was published in Science Translational Medicine about the benefits of receiving a massage after an intense work out. The study was conducted on 11 healthy young males, who worked out on a stationary bike. Muscle samples were taken before and after the work out and then again after a 10 minute massage. When the post workout muscle samples were compared to the post massage samples, it was clear that the post massage muscles contained significantly less amounts of a protein called NF-kB, which helps create an inflammatory response to exercise. So getting a massage after a workout really does help to cut down soreness and inflammation. So what else does massage help out with?
Massage are known to be relaxing, so it may seem obvious that it helps cut down depression and anxiety but what is it about a massage that is relaxing, other than it feels great? Getting a massage actually reduces levels of a stress hormone called cortisol. Lower levels of cortisol often correlate with lower blood pressures and often times boost your levels of serotonin and dopamine also known as your happy chemicals.
If you have ever gotten a massage than you know it isn’t hard to fall asleep or at least feel like a nap isn’t far away and if you are one of those people who have trouble sleeping, or trouble sleeping well throughout the night you might want to consider scheduling more massages. Many studies over the years have examined what massage does in the name of sleep and it all seems to point to the affect massage has on the brains delta waves. Delta waves are the brains waves that are connected to not just sleep but deep sleep. More studies need to be done to understand just how massage affects these waves but many people claim better sleep due to frequent massages.