The Importance of Regular Massage
Now that the holidays are behind us, it’s time to get back into routine. With the New Year many people are making New Year’s resolutions, often regarding their health. Either to lose weight, get into better shape, or to maintain a healthy lifestyle. When people think of improving their health, or maintaining a healthy lifestyle people don’t often think about incorporating regular massage treatments as part of their wellness regim. Why? Well individuals usually think of massage a nice treat, a way to relax & unwind. While it is great for that, it also provides numerous other health benefits, especially if you make a choice to include it in your plan to stay healthy.
This month I want to discuss why a regular massage treatment is important in the maintenance of your health by preventing injury & illness.
REGULAR MASSAGE & INJURY
If you have ever had an injury to your back, neck or other area of your body you may have noticed that area is more prone to re-injury. It is estimated a muscle strain is 12-31% likely to be re-injured (Br J Sports Med. 2012). To avoid re-injuring, or injuring an area it is important that your muscles are flexible to avoid muscle strains, your joints have good range of motion, and that you have good circulation to the muscles. Regular massage therapy treatments provide all of these benefits. Most individuals think to get a massage when they are already in pain or are injured, but not to get a regular massage treatment as a way of preventing pain and injury from occurring. If you take anything from this newsletter, please allow yourself to shift your perception to view that a massage treatment for maintenance is as important if not more than getting a massage treatment to treat pain or injury.
REGULAR MASSAGE & ILLNESS
Massage therapy treatments are also beneficial at keeping illness at bay by supporting your immune system and suppressing stress hormones. A research study conducted by the Touch Research Institute showed that regular massage treatments increased the activity levels of white blood cells (cells that kill infection/viruses), thereby stimulating immunity. Stress can also make us sick and lets be honest, who doesn’t have stress in their life? Stress has been shown to decrease the body’s immune response by increasing the stress hormones in the body as well as minimizing the thymus (immune gland). This combined reaction to stress decreases the immune system making the body more susceptible to illness such as the cold and flu. Not only does the increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol weaken the immune system but it can create a variety of other more serious health problems like high blood pressure and weight gain. Massage therapy treatments decrease cortisol levels in the body. Therefore, you can see how regular massage treatments can be beneficial to your health.
I realize not everyone is fortunate enough to have extended health care benefits, or those that do may not have a ton of coverage (myself included). However, if you have to take a few days off work here because of the flu, or a week off there because you put your back out, that can add up to be a lot of lost income. On average in 2011 the average person missed 7.7 days of work due to illness or injury (Stats Cananda). Think of regular massage treatments as an investment in your health, as you would a gym membership or purchasing quality healthy food. I’m not saying you have to come every week, or even every month. Sit down and decide what amount of consistency fits your budget, your life, and your health needs. Whatever routine schedule you choose be consistent and it will go along way to keeping you healthy.