Massage Therapy and Stress: An Overview – Part V

Research & Health Benefits

How beneficial is massage therapy?

Some current massage therapy research shows that healing touch, such as Swedish massage, may help in decreasing blood pressure in patients suffering from stress. Other notable organizations, like the Touch Research Institute, have been studying the effects of touch therapy and have demonstrated that massage therapy helps to reduce pain and stress hormones, improve immunity, and reduce depression, among other common health symptoms.

Another interesting massage therapy study demonstrated that administering massage to children asthmatic sufferers helped to improve air flow and pulmonary functioning; subsequently decreasing anxiety and stress.

According to a report published by the NAMTPT (National Association of Myofascial Trigger Point Therapists), myofascial trigger point (another form of massage therapy) may be helpful in relieving fibromyalgia symptoms in 72% of patients suffering from the health disorder.

What makes massage therapy such an effective natural health treatment?

In addition to blocking pain signals, massage therapy has been shown to stimulate endorphin and serotonin production, which improves lymph flow (a critical component of the immune system). For example, manual lymph drainage (MLD) is a massage technique that promotes lymph movement throughout the lymphatic vessels. This particular form of massage therapy may be especially helpful to those suffering from edema (excessive fluid retention).

Patients who suffer from musculoskeletal conditions may find Watsu(R) massage therapy, (also known as water Shiatsu) to be a noninvasive treatment; whereby the individual floats in a warm pool of water while the spine is softly manipulated to help in healing.

Whether you choose to pursue this natural healing therapy for medical reasons, or to simply relieve emotional stress, massage therapy is a complementary treatment that has been shown to aid in improving overall health and wellbeing. But as with any new healthcare regimen, it is always important to communicate with your primary care physician to determine if massage therapy is right for you.

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