Massage: A Luxurious Gift with Health Benefits
The gift of a massage in a soothing spa environment has huge pampering appeal. Did you know that this gift can also be good for your health?
December is the season of holiday gift-giving. If your gift experience involves either giving or receiving a massage, you are engaged in generosity that is good and good for you. Massage is a pleasurable and relaxing treat that is also a healthy way to indulge yourself, or someone you love.
There are a host of massage types, and it’s very easy to find a variety of options that are available by doing some simple online research. Although the scientific evidence on massage therapy is limited and massage is by no means a replacement for medical care, studies do indicate that massage may be an effective treatment for reducing stress, pain, and muscle tension. Research tells us that your soothing spa massage may also provide the following physical benefits:
Studies suggest that a single session of massage therapy may reduce anxiety, blood pressure, and heart rate.
Relief from chronic low-back pain
A 2003 study found that massage therapy for persistent low back pain reduced the need for painkillers; multiple studies indicate that massage helps with temporary pain relief.
Soothing Knee Osteoarthritis
In a clinical trial evaluating the effectiveness of Swedish massage for knee osteoarthritis, patients receiving a one-hour massage at least once a week experienced improvement in pain, stiffness, and function.
A massage is usually a relaxing experience. It shouldn’t feel painful or uncomfortable, so if you feel that too much pressure is being applied during the massage, speak up right away.
Although most people benefit from massage, it may not be appropriate for people with bleeding disorders, open or healing wounds, fractures, deep vein thrombosis, or severe osteoporosis. If you have any concerns about receiving a massage, talk with your doctor.
If you follow these common sense guidelines, the gift of a massage will be a safe and physically rejuvenating way to welcome the new year.
More resources for you
Summit Orthopedics physical therapist Sam Olson, PT, DPT, OCS, explains the hidden pitfalls of specializing in one sport and playing it year round.