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6 Ways Massage Therapy Can Benefit Your Overall Health and Well-being

6 Ways Massage Therapy Can Benefit Your Overall Health and Well-being

Some people may think of a massage as a simple indulgence, but to some it can be a great tool for overall health and well-being. Massages are known to ease pain and help with inflammation while soothing stress and anxiety. There are many practical benefits to treating your body to a massage. Because persistent tension on the muscles and skeleton can restrict blood flow and nutrients, the connective tissue in the body get denser, and it causes negative effects on posture and breathing. Partaking in a massage will interrupt these stress-inducing patterns and will help the body to return to its natural state of balance.

1. Anxiety Relief

Psychologists have found that on average, those who received a massage had a lower level of anxiety, as opposed to those who did not receive the massage. Though there is very little scientific research supporting this, one of the more popular explanations is that the massage will lower the level of cortisol in the body. Cortisol is the hormone responsible for the fight or flight response. Massages can help the anxiety associated with traumatic or troubling events, circumstances, or settings.

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2. Lower Back Pain Relief

Up to 85% of young adults experience back pain at some point in their lives. The link between massages and the relief of lower back pain is real. With chronic pain, the alarm your body is sending is malfunctioning. Massages will not totally turn that alarm off, but it will lower the volume of the alarm, figuratively. One well-known explanation of this is the gate-control theory. This is when the body is experiencing pain that travels on small-diameter nerve fibers, sending the signal to the brain quickly. With a massage, larger nerve fibers are stimulated and send the messages to the brain faster. Basically, the feel of the massage overpowers the feel of the pain.

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3. Soothe Tension Headaches

Headaches are caused by tension, and massages are performed to relieve tension. In particular, Thai massages have been known to relieve chronic tension headaches. The massage applies pressure along a specific area using gracious gestures. It is suggested to get a Thai massage two times per week for four weeks to alleviate the issues that are associated with these headaches. The massages are focused on shoulders, the upper back, the area between the neck and shoulders, tips of the shoulders, the back of the head, the middle of the head, and the forehead.

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4. Reduce Symptoms of Depression

Research has shown that subjects that have received a massage had a level of depression that was less than 73% of the subjects that did not. This is right along the lines of conventional treatment of depression. Massages boost the body’s natural serotonin levels. It also encourages the body to release dopamine and oxytocin.

5. Lower Blood Pressure

Massages have been known to reduce blood pressure by significant amounts, but only temporarily. The trigger of the body’s parasympathetic nervous system, helping the body return to a state of biochemical balance and emotional ease after a stressful event.

6. Restore Deep Sleep

About 40-50 million adults suffer from sleep deprivation. This is a problem because it messes with the body’s natural chemistry, making it more vulnerable to lowered immunity, increased inflammation, and increased sensitivity to pain. Research has shown that massages can promote less disturbed sleep, deeper sleep, especially in those that have chronic conditions like fibromyalgia. Massages promote stimulation of the body’s nervous system to rest and relax (opposite of fight or flight), it gives the person a better chance of experiencing deep sleep to restore tissue through the night while allowing the body to cope in the morning.

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Last Updated on June 13, 2019

5 Fixes For Common Sleep Issues All Couples Deal With

5 Fixes For Common Sleep Issues All Couples Deal With

Sleeping next to your partner can be a satisfying experience and is typically seen as the mark of a stable, healthy home life. However, many more people struggle to share a bed with their partner than typically let on. Sleeping beside someone can decrease your sleep quality which negatively affects your life. Maybe you are light sleepers and you wake each other up throughout the night. Maybe one has a loud snoring habit that’s keeping the other awake. Maybe one is always crawling into bed in the early hours of the morning while the other likes to go to bed at 10 p.m.

You don’t have to feel ashamed of finding it difficult to sleep with your partner and you also don’t have to give up entirely on it. Common problems can be addressed with simple solutions such as an additional pillow. Here are five fixes for common sleep issues that couples deal with.

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1. Use a bigger mattress to sleep through movement

It can be difficult to sleep through your partner’s tossing and turning all night, particularly if they have to get in and out of bed. Waking up multiple times in one night can leave you frustrated and exhausted. The solution may be a switch to a bigger mattress or a mattress that minimizes movement.

Look for a mattress that allows enough space so that your partner can move around without impacting you or consider a mattress made for two sleepers like the Sleep Number bed.[1] This bed allows each person to choose their own firmness level. It also minimizes any disturbances their partner might feel. A foam mattress like the kind featured in advertisements where someone jumps on a bed with an unspilled glass of wine will help minimize the impact of your partner’s movements.[2]

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2. Communicate about scheduling conflicts

If one of you is a night owl and the other an early riser, bedtime can become a source of conflict. It’s hard for a light sleeper to be jostled by their partner coming to bed four hours after them. Talk to your partner about negotiating some compromises. If you’re finding it difficult to agree on a bedtime, negotiate with your partner. Don’t come to bed before or after a certain time, giving the early bird a chance to fully fall asleep before the other comes in. Consider giving the night owl an eye mask to allow them to stay in bed while their partner gets up to start the day.

3. Don’t bring your technology to bed

If one partner likes bringing devices to bed and the other partner doesn’t, there’s very little compromise to be found. Science is pretty unanimous on the fact that screens can cause harm to a healthy sleeper. Both partners should agree on a time to keep technology out of the bedroom or turn screens off. This will prevent both partners from having their sleep interrupted and can help you power down after a long day.

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4. White noise and changing positions can silence snoring

A snoring partner can be one of the most difficult things to sleep through. Snoring tends to be position-specific so many doctors recommend switching positions to stop the snoring. Rather than sleeping on your back doctors recommend turning onto your side. Changing positions can cut down on noise and breathing difficulties for any snorer. Using a white noise fan, or sound machine can also help soften the impact of loud snoring and keep both partners undisturbed.

5. Use two blankets if one’s a blanket hog

If you’ve got a blanket hog in your bed don’t fight it, get another blanket. This solution fixes any issues between two partners and their comforter. There’s no rule that you have to sleep under the same blanket. Separate covers can also cut down on tossing and turning making it a multi-useful adaptation.

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Rather than giving up entirely on sharing a bed with your partner, try one of these techniques to improve your sleeping habits. Sleeping in separate beds can be a normal part of a healthy home life, but compromise can go a long way toward creating harmony in a shared bed.

Featured photo credit: Becca Tapert via unsplash.com

Reference

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