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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.

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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

Writer, Entrepreneur, Small Business Owner

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

    More Tips on Getting in Shape

    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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