A whopping 77% of Americans suffer physical symptoms resulting from daily stress. Whether it’s because of their jobs, relationships, health, or from crafting the perfect life on Facebook, people are just plain stressed out.
One of the most immediate and well-known benefits of a full-body massage is feeling that stress falls away. Even if it’s only for an hour before the craziness of the world comes crashing back in, that massage can do wonders for your outlook. That, in turn, changes how you feel physically and gives your mental health a boost.
But that’s not all a full-body massage can do. Read on to learn some surprising benefits that’ll have you making an appointment before you even finish reading this article.
1. BOOSTS SKIN HEALTH
The average person sheds about 30,000 to 40,000 dead skin cells every minute. That’s not a typo: every minute.
When you get a full-body massage, the movement of the therapist’s hands across your skin helps facilitate this shedding. This helps rid the skin of stubborn little bits that may be hanging on.
If you think you’re glowing after a massage, it’s probably because you really are. With all that dead skin out of the way, the beautiful, clean skin underneath can shine.
To top that off, the lotion or oil that the massage therapist uses can not only moisturize your skin but also give it other benefits too.
2. FACILITATES CIRCULATION
The movement of the therapist’s hands also facilitates circulation and improves blood flow.
Imagine that your muscles are like the sponge that you use to wash the dishes. Rather than soap and water coming out when you squeeze them, blood and lymphatic fluids are pressed out.
These fluids are full of nutrients, oxygen, and cells that help with the immune system. Your body will hungrily lap up this nutrition, sparking a number of other benefits.
3. EASES PAIN AND SWELLING
Another benefit is massage can ease pain and swelling. Relaxing the muscles will help decrease pain caused by tension and stress. Getting that circulation moving will also help clear areas of swelling.
For this reason, getting a sports massage is an excellent idea. It’s a great way to recover after a particularly difficult workout.
It’s also an effective method of speeding up healing from a sports injury. The extra blood flow brings the building blocks the body needs to repair itself faster and gets you back in top form again.
4. FACILITATES THE CLEARING OF TOXINS
The lymphatic system is important for removing toxins from the body. However, unlike the cardiovascular system, there’s no heart that constantly forces the lymphatic fluid to move. Thus, the fluid moves when you do.
As you stretch and move, your muscles put pressure on the lymph nodes. This forces the fluid to move through the lymphatic system.
Getting a full-body massage does the same thing. As the massage therapist works on your muscles, they’re pushing that fluid through your system, helping to detox the body and leave you feeling revitalized.
5. BOOSTS THE IMMUNE SYSTEM
Toxins aren’t the only thing that moves through the lymphatic system. The fluid also carries white blood cells and other soldiers of the immune system throughout your body. This improves the overall function of your immune system.
Looking to avoid getting sick this cold and flu season? It sounds like a great excuse to get a full-body massage!
6. PUTS THE NERVOUS SYSTEM IN “REST AND DIGEST” MODE
The sympathetic nervous system activates when you spring into action, usually as a defense mechanism. This system also activates as a response to stress.
While it can save your life in a moment of danger, it’s not good for your body to be in this state constantly. Side effects of this account for many of the negative effects of stress on your body.
A full-body massage activates the parasympathetic nervous system. This is the system that regulates the necessary functions of the body. These include the digestive and cardiovascular systems, among others.
This state is often referred to as “rest and digest.” When the body isn’t focused on saving itself from imminent danger, it can focus more effectively on the mundane, but necessary, functions of the body.
7. BOOSTS DIGESTIVE HEALTH
As a result, a full-body massage can boost your digestive health. The body will produce more of the saliva, gastric juices, insulin, and other fluids necessary for proper digestion.
A Swedish massage even incorporates a specific abdominal massage that facilitates the function of the large intestine. This helps the body to better absorb nutrients and get the full benefits from the food you eat.
8. HELPS THE HEART
The heart is a muscle that never stops, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t benefit from rest. The “rest and digest” state affects both your blood pressure and heart rate. This calms the system and gives the heart and the entire cardiovascular system a chance to “relax.”
This also helps improve circulation even more than the movement of the therapist’s hands as we mentioned earlier.
9. DEEP BREATHING
One of the first things your therapist may ask you to do before beginning your full-body massage is to take a few deep, relaxing breaths. This will jumpstart the process of reducing stress and calming the body.
As the massage goes on, you may notice that your breathing naturally becomes deeper and more relaxed without you even focusing on it. This helps refresh your body with lots of life-giving oxygen. And the improved circulation will make sure it gets where it needs to go!