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Relaxation is essential

Need more time to relax? The majority of us wait to make time for relaxation until after our work and home commitments have stressed us to the point of exhaustion. Life can get hectic, and it’s important to listen to the signs that our bodies give us to slow down, smell the roses, and perhaps get a massage! Why are massages great? Besides the fact that they promote relaxation, massages may relieve you of that kink you’ve had in your neck for a month, or help you sleep better, the answer is very simple. Humans need human touch. Keep in mind that your skin is your bodies’ largest organ. Not only do we need touch, but it’s been scientifically proven that massage has powerful effects on the healing progress of a wide range of ailments.

According to the American Massage Therapy Association several studies have show that massage can positively affect back pains, burns, carpal tunnel syndrome, lung cancer, cardiac patients after surgery, boost immune function and relieve stress in women with breast cancer, assist students in relieving academic stress, assist with recovery and soreness of athletes, and relieve overall anxiety and depression. If you are suffering from a stress relation disease, massages should be in your arsenal along with yoga or meditation. If you have certain types of cancer, inflammation of the veins, certain skin conditions, an infectious disease or cardiac issues you need to consult a doctor before considering massage therapy.

Massage can speed up the healing process.

Below are a few  scientific studies that prove that massage can speed up healing:

A groundbreaking study of 40 preterm infants included the practice of giving a gentle, 15-minute massage three times a day for several days to a number of the group. The results were astounding; infants given massages  gained 47 percent more weight, became more responsive, and left the hospital six days earlier than controls. (Pediatrics, May 1986).

A controlled study of 20 HIV-positive men who received a 45-minute massage five times weekly for a month showed that natural killer cells increased (suggesting positive effects on the immune system), and that anxiety, stress, and cortisol levels were significantly reduced (International Journal of Neuroscience, February 1996).

In another study, thirty-two children with asthma received  massage or relaxation therapy from their parents for 20 minutes before bedtime for 30 days-and only the massage group experienced increased peak air flow, improved pulmonary function, and decreased levels of stress hormones.  (Journal of Pediatrics, May 1998).

The world really seems like a better place when you muscles are relaxed. So just as you find the time weekly, and daily to breathe, stretch, and go within, try also making time for self-care in the form of a massage. Even if it’s for a few minutes, it could make a great difference in promoting a healthier happier you.

References:

Field T, Henteleff T, Hernandez-Reif M, Martinez E, Mavunda K, Kuhn C,
Schanberg S. Children with asthma have improved pulmonary functions after massage
therapy. J Pediatr. 1998 May;132(5):854-8. PubMed PMID: 9602199.

Hernandez-Reif, M., Diego, M., & Field, T. (2007). Preterm Infants Show Reduced Stress Behaviors and Activity after 5 days of Massage Therapy. Infant Behavior & Development, 30(4), 557–561. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.infbeh.2007.04.002

Ironson G, Field T, Scafidi F, Hashimoto M, Kumar M, Kumar A, Price A,
Goncalves A, Burman I, Tetenman C, Patarca R, Fletcher MA. Massage therapy is associated with enhancement of the immune system’s cytotoxic capacity. Int J
Neurosci. 1996 Feb;84(1-4):205-17. PubMed PMID: 8707483.

 
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