Advertising
Advertising

20 Reasons Why Massage Can Significantly Benefit Your Health

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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

More by this author

Holly Chavez

Writer, Entrepreneur, Small Business Owner

How I Keep the Spark Alive in My 10 Years of Marriage 8 Psychological Tricks To Help You Nail the Interview of Your Dream Job Low glycemic index foods I Promise These 10 Low GI foods can Keep You Fuller For Longer! 7 Small Pieces of Technology That Will Change Your Life 8 Amazing Human Achievements to Inspire You

Trending in Health

1 Weight Loss Plan And Program: Create Your Own One 2 4 Simple Desk-Based Stretches for Effective Lower Back Pain Relief 3 Why You Should Go For Vitamin D But Not Vitamin C To Prevent The Cold 4 Reasons of Insomnia and How to Combat It (The Complete Guide) 5 Why You’re Feeling Tired All the Time (And What to Do About It)

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on March 30, 2020

Why You’re Feeling Tired All the Time (And What to Do About It)

Why You’re Feeling Tired All the Time (And What to Do About It)

Feeling tired all the time?

Have you ever caught yourself nodding off when you’re watching TV, listening to someone drone on during a meeting or even driving a car?

I know I have, especially when I worked 70 hours per week as a High-Tech Executive.

Feeling tired all the time may be more widespread than you think. In fact, two-fifths of Americans are tired most of the week.[1]

If you’re tired of feeling tired, then I’ve got some great news for you. New research is helping us gain critical insights into the underlying causes of feeling tired all the time.

In this article, we’ll discuss the latest reasons why you’re feeling tired all the time and practical steps you can take to finally get to the bottom of your fatigue and feel rested.

What Happens When You’re Too Tired

If you sleep just two hours less than the normal eight hours, you could be as impaired as someone who has consumed up to three beers.[2] And you’ve probably experienced the impact yourself.

Here are some common examples of what happens when you’re feeling tired:[3]

  • You may have trouble focusing because memory and learning functions may be impaired within your brain.
  • You may experience mood swings and an inability to differentiate between what’s important and what’s not because your brain’s neurotransmitters are misfiring.
  • You may get dark circles under your eyes and/or your skin make look dull and lackluster in the short term and over time your skin may get wrinkles and show signs of aging because your body didn’t have time to remove toxins during sleep.
  • You may find it more difficult to exercise or to perform any type of athletic activity.
  • Your immune system may weaken causing you to pick up infections more easily.
  • You may overeat because not getting enough sleep activates the body’s endocannabinoids even when you’re not hungry.
  • Your metabolism slows down so what you eat is more likely to be stored as belly fat.

Are you saying that feeling tired can make me overweight?

Unfortunately, yes!

Feeling tired all the time can cause you to put on the pounds especially around your waist. But it is a classic chicken and egg situation, too.

Heavier people are more likely to feel fatigued during the day than lighter ones. And that’s even true for overweight people who don’t have sleep apnea (source: National Institutes of Health).

Speaking of sleep apnea, you may be wondering if that or something else is causing you to feel tired all the time.

Why Are you Feeling Tired All the Time?

Leading experts are starting to recognize that there are three primary reasons people feel tired on a regular basis: sleep deprivation, fatigue and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).

Here’s a quick overview of each root cause of feeling tired all of the time:

  1. Tiredness occurs from sleep deprivation when you don’t get high-quality sleep consistently. It typically can be solved by changing your routine and getting enough deep restorative sleep.
  2. Fatigue occurs from prolonged sleeplessness which could be triggered by numerous issues such as mental health issues, long-term illness, fibromyalgia, obesity, sleep apnea or stress. It typically can be improved by changing your lifestyle and using sleep aids or treatments, if recommended by your physician.
  3. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a medical condition also known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis that occurs from persistent exhaustion that doesn’t go away with sleep.

The exact cause of CFS is not known, but it may be due to problems with the immune system, a bacterial infection, a hormone imbalance or emotional trauma.

It typically involves working with a doctor to rule out other illnesses before diagnosing and treating CFS.[4]

Always consult a physician to get a personal diagnosis about why you are feeling tired, especially if it is a severe condition.

Feeling Tired vs Being Fatigued

If lack of quality sleep doesn’t seem to be the root cause for you, then it’s time to explore fatigue as the reason you are frequently feeling tired.

Advertising

Until recently, tiredness and fatigue were thought to be interchangeable. Leading experts now realize that tiredness and fatigue are different.

Tiredness is primarily about lack of sleep.

But fatigue is a perceived feeling of being tired that is much more likely to occur in people who have depression, anxiety or emotional stress and/or are overweight and physically inactive (source: Science Direct).

Symptoms of fatigue include:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Low stamina
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Anxiety
  • Low motivation

These symptoms may sound similar to those of tiredness but they usually last longer and are more intense.

Unfortunately, there is no definitive reason why fatigue occurs because it can be a symptom of an emotional or physical illness. But there are still a number of steps you can take to reduce difficult symptoms by making a few simple lifestyle changes.

How Much Sleep Is Enough?

The number one reason you may feel tired is because of sleep deprivation which means you are not getting enough high-quality sleep.

Most adults need 7 to 9 hours of high-quality, uninterrupted sleep per night. If you’re sleep deprived, the amount of sleep you need increases.

So, quantity and quality do matter when it comes to sleep.

The key to quality sleep is being able to get long, uninterrupted sleep cycles throughout the night. It typically takes 90 minutes for you to reach a state of deep REM sleep where your body’s healing crew goes to work.

Ideally, you want to get at least 3 to 4 deep REM sleep cycles in per night. That’s why it’s so important to stay asleep for 7 or more hours.

Research also shows that people who think they can get by on less sleep don’t perform as well as people who get at least seven hours of sleep a night[5] So, you should definitely plan on getting seven hours of deep restorative sleep every night.

If you are not getting 7 hours of high-quality sleep regularly, then sleep deprivation is most likely reason you feel tired all the time.

And that is good news because sleep deprivation is much simpler and easier to address than the other root causes.

It’s also a good idea to rule out sleep deprivation as the reason why you are tired before moving on to the other possibilities such as fatigue or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which may require a doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

4 Simple Changes to Reduce Fatigue

Personally, I’m a big believer in upgrading your lifestyle to uplift your life. I overcame chronic stress and exhaustion by making these four changes to my lifestyle:

  1. Eating healthy, home-cooked meals versus microwaving processed foods or eating out
  2. Exercising regularly
  3. Using stressbusters
  4. Creating a bedtime routine to sleep better

So, I know it is possible to change your lifestyle even when you’re working crazy hours and have lots of family responsibilities.

After I made the 4 simple changes in my lifestyle, I no longer felt exhausted all of the time.

In addition, I lost two inches off my waist and looked and felt better than ever.

Advertising

I was so excited that I wanted to help others replace stress and exhaustion with rest and well-being, too. That’s why I became a Certified Holistic Wellness Coach through the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute.

Interestingly enough, I discovered that Dr. Sears recommends a somewhat similar L.E.A.N. lifestyle:

  • L is for Lifestyle and means living healthy including getting enough sleep.
  • E is for Exercise and means getting at least 20 minutes of exercise a day ideally for six days a week.
  • A is for Attitude and means thinking positive and reducing stress whenever possible.
  • N is for Nutrition and means emphasizing a right-fat diet, not a low-fat diet.

The L.E.A.N. lifestyle is a scientifically-proven way to reduce fatigue, get to the optimal weight and to achieve overall wellness.[6]

And yes, there does seem to be an important correlation between being lean and feeling rested.

But overall based on my personal experience and Dr. Sear’s scientific proof, the key to not feeling tired all of the time does seem to be 4 simple changes to your lifestyle.

L — Living Healthy

Getting enough high-quality sleep every day is the surefire way to help you feel less fatigued, more rested and better overall.

So, whether you’re sleep deprived or potentially suffering from fatigue or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, you probably want to find a way to sleep better.

In fact, if you aren’t getting enough sleep, your body isn’t getting the time it needs to repair itself; meaning that if you are suffering from an illness, it’s far more likely to linger.

As unlikely as it sounds, though, fatigue can sometimes make it difficult to sleep. That’s why I’d recommend taking a look at your bedtime routine before you go to bed and optimize it based on sleep best practices.

Here are 3 quick and easy tips for creating a pro-sleep bedtime routine:

1. Unplug

Many of us try to unwind by watching TV or doing something on an iPhone or tablet. But tech can affect your melatonin production due to the blue light that they emit, fooling your body into thinking it’s still daytime.

So turn off all tech one hour before bed and create a tech-free zone in your bedroom.

2. Unwind

Do something to relax.

Use the time before bed to do something you find relaxing such as reading a book, listening to soothing music, meditating or taking an Epsom salt bath.

3. Get Comfortable

Ensure your bed is comfortable and your room is set up for sleep.

Make sure you room is cool. 60-68 degrees is the ideal temperature for most people to sleep.

Also, it’s ideal if your bedroom is dark and there is no noise.

Finally, make sure everything is handled (e.g., laying out tomorrow’s clothes) before you get into your nice, comfy bed.

If your mind is still active, write a to-do list to help you fall asleep faster.[7]

Advertising

Above all, be gentle with yourself and count your blessings, some sheep or whatever helps.

This article also offers practical tips to build a bedtime routine: How to Build a Good Bedtime Routine That Makes Your Morning Easier

E — Exercise

Many people know that exercise is good for them, but just can’t figure out how to fit it into their busy schedules.

That’s what happened in my case.

But when my chronic stress and exhaustion turned into systemic inflammation (which can lead to major diseases like Alzheimer’s), I realized it was time to change my lifestyle.

As part of my lifestyle upgrade, I knew I needed to move more.

My friends who exercise all gave me the same advice: find an exercise you like to do and find a specific time in your schedule when you can consistently do it.

That made sense to me.

So, I decided to swim.

I used to love to swim when I was young, but I hadn’t done it for years. The best time for me to do it was immediately after work, since I could easily get an open swim lane at my local fitness club then.

Also, swimming became a nice reason for me to leave work on time. And I got to enjoy a nice workout before eating dinner.

Swimming is a good way to get your cardio or endurance training. But, walking, running and dancing are nice alternatives.

So find an exercise you love and stick to it. Ideally, get a combination of endurance training, strength training and flexibility training in during your daily 20-minute workout.

If you haven’t exercised in a while and have a lot of stress in your life, you may want to give yoga a try because you will increase your flexibility and lower your stress.

A — Attitude

Stress may be a major reason why you aren’t feeling well all of the time. At least that was the case with me.

When I worked 70 hours per week as a High-Tech Executive, I felt chronically stressed and exhausted. But there was one thing that always worked to help me feel calmer and less fatigued.

Do you want to know what that master stress-busting technique was?

Breathing.

But not just any old breathing. It was a special form of deep Yogic breathing called the “Long-Exhale Breathing” or “4-7-8 breathing” or “Pranayama” in Sanskrit).

Advertising

Here’s how you do “Long-Exhale Breathing”:

  1. Sit in a comfortable position with your spine straight and your hand on your tummy (so you know you are breathing deeply from your diaphragm and not shallowly from your chest)
  2. Breathe in deeply and slowly from your diaphragm with your mouth closed while you count to 4 (ideally until your stomach feels full of air)
  3. Hold your breath while you count to 7 mentally and enjoy the stillness
  4. Breathe out through your mouth with a “ha” sound while you count to 8 (or until your stomach has no more air in it)
  5. Pause after you finish your exhale while you notice the sense of wholeness and relaxation from completing one conscious, deep, long exhale breath
  6. Repeat 3 times ensuring your exhale is longer than your inhale so you relax your nervous system

This type of “long-exhale breathing” is scientifically proven to reduce stress.

When your exhale is twice as long as your inhale, it soothes your parasympathetic nervous system, which regulates the relaxation response.[8]

Plus, this is a great technique for helping you get to sleep, too.

N — Nutrition

Diet is vital for beating fatigue – after all, food is your main source of energy.

If your diet is poor, then it implies you’re not getting the nutrients you need to sustain healthy energy levels.

Eating a diet for fatigue doesn’t need to be complicated, time-consuming though.

For most people, it’s just a case of swapping a few unhealthy foods for a few healthier ones, like switching from low-fiber, processed foods to whole, high-fiber foods.

Unless your current diet is solely made up of fast food and ready meals, adjusting to a fatigue-fighting diet shouldn’t be too much of a shock to the system.

Here’re 9 simple diet swaps you can make today:

  1. Replace your morning coffee with Matcha green tea and drink only herbal tea within six hours of bedtime.
  2. Add a healthy fat or protein to your any carb you eat, especially if you eat before bed. Please note that carb-only snacks lead to blood-sugar crashes that can make you eat more and they can keep you from sleeping.
  3. Fill up with fiber especially green leafy vegetables. Strive to get at least 25g per day with at least 5 servings (a serving is the size of your fist) of green vegetables.
  4. Replace refined, processed, low-fiber pastas and grains with zucchini noodles and whole grains such as buckwheat, quinoa, sorghum, oats, amaranth, millet, teff, brown rice and corn.
  5. Swap natural sweeteners for refined sugars and try to ensure you don’t get more than 25g of sugar a day if you are a woman and 30g of sugar a day if you are a man.
  6. Replace ice cream with low-sugar alternatives such as So Delicious Dairy-Free Vanilla Bean Coconut Ice Cream.
  7. Swap omega-6, partially-hydrogenated oils such as corn, palm, sunflower, safflower, cotton, canola and soybean oil for omega-3 oils such as flax, olive and nut oils.
  8. Replace high-sugar yoghurts with low-sugar, dairy-free yoghurts such as Kite Hill Plain Yoghurt with 1g sugar or Lifeway Farmer Cheese with 0g sugar.
  9. Swap your sugar-laden soda for sparkling water with a splash of low-sugar juice

Also, ensure your diet is giving you enough of the daily essential vitamins and minerals. Most of us don’t get enough Vitamin D, Vitamin B-12, Calcium, Iron and Magnesium. If you are low on any of the above vitamins and minerals, you may experience fatigue and low energy.

That’s why it’s always worth having your doctor check your levels. If you find any of them are low, then try to eat foods rich in them.

Alternatively, you might consider a high-quality multi-vitamin or specific supplement.

The Bottom Line

If you are tired of feeling tired, then there is tremendous hope.

If you are tired because you are not getting enough high-quality sleep, then the best remedy is a bedtime routine based on sleep best practices.

If you are tired because you have stress and fatigue, then the best remedy are four simple lifestyle changes including:

  • Enough High-Quality Sleep with Bedtime Routine
  • Regular Exercise You Love
  • Stress Reduction with Long-Exhale Breathing
  • Fatigue-Reducing Diet

Overall, adopting a healthier lifestyle Is the ideal remedy for feeling more rested and energized.

More Tips to Help You Rest Better

Featured photo credit: Cris Saur via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] YouGov: Two-fifths of Americans are tired most of the week
[2] National Safety Council: Is Your Company Confronting Workplace Fatigue?
[3] The New York Times: Why Are We So Freaking Tired?
[4] Mayo Clinic: Chronic fatigue syndrome
[5] Mayo Clinic: Lack of sleep: Can it make you sick?
[6] Ask Dr. Sears: The L.E.A.N. Lifestyle
[7] American Psychological Association: Getting a Good Night’s Sleep
[8] Yoga International: Learning to Exhale: 2-to-1 Breathing

Read Next