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20 Reasons Why Massage Can Significantly Benefit Your Health

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20 Reasons Why Massage Can Significantly Benefit Your Health

Massages are much more than just relaxing. In fact, our natural instincts turn to them in moments of need. This is the reason that you self-massage sore muscles, and it has also led to the rapidly growing field of massage therapy. As an added bonus, there are numerous health benefits associated with a massage. Fortunately, massages come in a variety of lengths and styles, which means that even people with truly hectic lifestyles can take advantage of this health-boosting technique.

1. Massages Can Alleviate Headaches

Whether you have a tension-type headache or suffer from migraines, medical research has proven that regular massages can help reduce or even eliminate this painful problem.

2. Massages Soothe and Relax the Body

A Swedish or hot stone massage offers the right amount of pressure, sometimes combined with heat, to soothe your achy muscles. If your body is tight from a tense week at the office, either of these massage styles is a good way to relax.

3. Massages Reduce Joint Pain

Joint pain is a common issue that is experienced by everyone from pregnant women to fibromyalgia sufferers. Receiving a regular massage will relieve this pain. In fact, many medical professionals refer patients with joint pain to a licensed massage therapist.

4. Massages Can Dramatically Reduce Anxiety

Approximately 40 million Americans have some form of anxiety, and this can be borderline emotionally crippling at times. Anxiety is even responsible for almost one-third of the nation’s total mental health expenses. The good news is that massage can cut your body’s level of stress hormones in half, which will alleviate the symptoms of anxiety.

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5. Minimize Back Pain with a Massage

Back pain is one of the most common medical complaints, but you do not need to live in pain. Studies have shown that massage reduces the need for painkillers by 36 percent, and it is more effective than chiropractic care or acupuncture.

6. Neuromuscular Massage Addresses Repetitive Movement Injuries

A staggering 86 percent of U.S. adults have a desk job, and the vast majority of them perform repetitive tasks that can injure their hands, wrists, arms, neck and back. Although a typical massage will help reduce this pain, neuromuscular techniques can actually address the root cause of the muscular problem to provide you with optimal results.

7. Massages Promote Flexibility

Most people are not nearly as flexible as they would like to be, and this often causes uncomfortable stiffness. Fortunately, a sports massage is tailored toward making it easier to increase your flexibility.

8. Research Shows Massages Help Cancer Patients

Four out of every 10 adults will battle with cancer at some point during their life. Massage is now being widely used as a complementary treatment because it offers a reduction in many of the symptoms associated with cancer, including nausea, pain, insomnia and fatigue.

9. Re-energize with a Massage

Do you often feel drained by the end of your workday? Swedish massages will relax you, but they are also known for making the receiver feel more energetic throughout the rest of the day.

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10. Massage Relieves Insomnia

At any given time, one-third of adults are experiencing a bout of insomnia, so it is no surprise that people are constantly looking for ways to improve their quality of sleep. Sleep studies have shown a very strong link between weekly massages and reduced insomnia. This is extremely important when you consider the many health issues that are caused by a lack of sleep, including a weakened immune system and a greater risk of depression.

11. Increase Your Quality of Life with Massages

Medical patients receiving palliative care experience a boost in their quality of life with regular massages, and the same is true for everyone. This is one of the primary reasons that more than half of the 32.6 million Americans who get a massage at least once a year do so for health reasons.

12. Massages Help Digestive Issues

Everyone experiences the occasional digestive issue, and an abdominal massage can help. Regardless of whether you have been constipated for three days or have a chronic digestive issue, a massage is a good way to get your system working more properly.

13. Massage Combats Stress

Chronic stress increases your risk of contracting cancer, heart disease, cirrhosis of the liver and lung ailments. Additionally, it is responsible for many accidents and suicides. In other words, stress is quite literally killing some people, but you do not have to remain so stressed out. Instead, you can take advantage of the stress-busting benefits of massage therapy.

14. Boost Your Immune System with Massages

Everyone can benefit from a boosted immune system, especially people who typically deal with several minor illnesses every year. A research group at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center discovered that a single 45-minute massage alters the human body’s immune response. Therefore, getting a massage weekly or biweekly is a great way to strengthen your immune system.

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15. Massages Can Beat PMS

The pain that some women experience before and during their menstrual cycle can be effectively combated by a massage. Even better is the fact that studies have shown a direct connection between massage and a reduction in water retention, depression and other symptoms of menstrual distress.

16. Become More Alert with a Chair Massage

Many businesses now offer chair massages to their employees, and this is a scientifically backed way to make people feel more alert. The mental boost you receive from a simple 15 minute chair massage will make daily tasks much easier and can reduce your odds of being in an accident.

17. Massages Improve Face, Scalp and Hair Health

A simple face and scalp massage is very relaxing, and it will also boost the health of your scalp, hair and facial skin. Some studies have even found that face massages can stop skin from sagging and ward off wrinkles!

18. Massage Fixes Postural Stress

Another major problem associated with sitting all day is the development of serious neck and shoulder pain. This is caused by postural stress, and it can also impact your glutes and lower back. Massages address this physical stress and will relieve your painful symptoms.

19. Massage will Lower Your Blood Pressure

If you have issues with high blood pressure, then scheduling regular massages is definitely a good idea. Individuals with a hectic lifestyle and high blood pressure can benefit from as little as a 10 minute chair massage once a week.

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20. Increase Your Blood Circulation with Massages

Massages help your blood circulation, and this offers a long list of benefits. For example, if you have any health conditions that slow down your blood circulation, massage will provide healthier skin, better organ functionality and improved cell growth.

Self-Massage Tips

Visiting a licensed massage therapist is always your best course of action, but you can also give and receive beneficial massages at home without any professional training. A study even showed that giving a massage reduces anxiety and depression! If you want to incorporate a few minutes of self-massage into your daily routine, you can utilize the following tips: Place a ball between the wall and your back. Any type of ball will do, ranging from tennis to basketball. Use circular and back and forth body motions to massage your back.

  1. Next, ball your hands into fists and use them to kneed your lower back and up along the sides of your spine.
  2. Massage your arms with your hands by alternating small circles and long-flowing strokes.
  3. Your hands will benefit from pressing your thumb down and moving it in a circular pattern.
  4. You can use a light karate chop motion up and down your legs.
  5. Finally, make circular motions with your thumbs to massage the soles of your feet.

Now that you understand more about the many health benefits of massage, it is important to make time for this useful practice in your busy lifestyle. Keep in mind that a lot of the stress, tension and pain that you feel from being on the go all the time will diminish after each massage. It is also wise to remember that putting your health first is the best way to live a long and happy life.

Featured photo credit: Nick Webb via flic.kr

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Holly Chavez

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Last Updated on January 27, 2022

5 Reasons Why Food is the Best Way to Understand a Culture

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5 Reasons Why Food is the Best Way to Understand a Culture

Food plays an integral role in our lives and rightfully so: the food we eat is intricately intertwined with our culture. You can learn a lot about a particular culture by exploring their food. In fact, it may be difficult to fully define a culture without a nod to their cuisine.

“Tell me what you eat, and I’ll tell you who you are.” – Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1825).

Don’t believe me? Here’s why food is the best way to understand a culture:

Food is a universal necessity.

It doesn’t matter where in the world you’re from – you have to eat. And your societal culture most likely evolved from that very need, the need to eat. Once they ventured beyond hunting and gathering, many early civilizations organized themselves in ways that facilitated food distribution and production. That also meant that the animals, land and resources you were near dictated not only what you’d consume, but how you’d prepare and cook it. The establishment of the spice trade and the merchant silk road are two example of the great lengths many took to obtain desirable ingredients.

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Food preservation techniques are unique to climates and lifestyle.

Ever wonder why the process to preserve meat is so different around the world? It has to do with local resources, needs, and climates. In Morocco, Khlea is a dish composed of dried beef preserved in spices and then packed in animal fat. When preserved correctly, it’s still good for two years when stored at room temperature. That makes a lot of sense in Morocco, where the country historically has had a strong nomadic population, desert landscape, and extremely warm, dry temperatures.

Staples of a local cuisines illustrate historical eating patterns.

Some societies have cuisines that are entirely based on meat, and others are almost entirely plant-based. Some have seasonal variety and their cuisines change accordingly during different parts of the year. India’s cuisine is extremely varied from region to region, with meat and wheat heavy dishes in the far north, to spectacular fish delicacies in the east, to rice-based vegetarian diets in the south, and many more variations in between.

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The western part of India is home to a group of strict vegetarians: they not only avoid flesh and eggs, but even certain strong aromatics like garlic, or root vegetables like carrots and potatoes. Dishes like Papri Chat, featuring vegetable based chutneys mixed with yoghurt, herbs and spices are popular.

Components of popular dishes can reveal cultural secrets.

This is probably the most intriguing part of studying a specific cuisine. Certain regions of the world have certain ingredients easily available to them. Most people know that common foods such as corn, tomatoes, chili peppers, and chocolate are native to the Americas, or “New World”. Many of today’s chefs consider themselves to be extremely modern when fusing cuisines, but cultural lines blended long ago when it comes to purity of ingredients.

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Black pepper originated in Asia but became, and still remains, a critical part of European cuisine. The Belgians are some of the finest chocolatiers, despite it not being native to the old world. And perhaps one of the most interesting result from the blending of two cuisines is Chicken Tikka Masala; it resembles an Indian Mughali dish, but was actually invented by the British!

Food tourism – it’s a whole new way to travel.

Some people have taken the intergation of food and culture to a new level. No trip they take is complete with out a well-researched meal plan, that dictates not only the time of year for their visit, but also how they will experience a new culture.

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So, a food tourist won’t just focus on having a pint at Oktoberfest, but will be interested in learning the German beer making process, and possibly how they can make their own fresh brew. Food tourists visit many of the popular mainstays for traditional tourism, like New York City, San Francisco, London, or Paris, but many locations that they frequent, such as Armenia or Laos, may be off the beaten path for most travelers. And since their interest in food is more than meal deep, they have the chance to learn local preparation techniques that can shed insight into a whole other aspect of a particular region’s culture.

Featured photo credit: Young Shih via unsplash.com

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