If you want to, or if you already have a pro-active preventative medical plan, I suggest you include regular massage.

Frequent massage has many benefits to health and longevity. Here are just four of the reasons to make your massage indulgence regular.

  1. Chronic Stress Reduction – Many of our modern illnesses are related to chronic stress. Not to mention that every year Americans spend thousands of dollars and a considerable amount of time seeking relief from stress-related diseases. By adding regular massage to your current health-care routine, you will enjoy proven results in stress reduction, which, in turn, reduces illness. According to a 2008 medical article, short-term stress boosts the immune system, but chronic stress has a significant impact that ultimately manifests in illness. Psychological stress alters the body’s insulin needs, thus increasing the risk of diabetes mellitus. (J. Malays, 2008).On their website regarding stress, the Mayo Clinic affirms the following health-risks related to chronic stress:
    “The long-term activation of the stress-response system and the overexposure to cortisol and other stress hormones that follow can disrupt almost all your body’s processes. This puts you at increased risk of many health problems, including:
    Anxiety
    Depression
    Digestive problems
    Headaches
    Heart disease
    Sleep problems
    Weight gain
    Memory and concentration impairmentThat’s why it’s so important to learn healthy ways to cope with your life stressors (Mayo Clinic).”Massage is a natural way to relax the central nervous system when stuck in fight or flight (sympathetic nervous system), which induces the over secretion of cortisol, this state is common in our current culture. Massage engages the parasympathetic nervous system, which is a relaxed state and necessary for healing.
  2. Strengthens Your Immune System – Massage therapy stimulates natural killer cells as well as decreases the secretion of that dang cortisol that destroys natural killer cells. Also, an increase in white blood cells and natural killer-cell activity better prepares the body to fight off possible invading cells. A 2012 study from the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine regarding the effects of repeated massage on healthy individuals, concluded that the data suggest weekly massage therapy has cumulative and sustained biologic effects on the immune and endocrine system over the course of 5 weeks (Rapaport, M., Schettler, P., Bresee, C. 2012).
  3. Relief from Injury and Pain – Regular massage may help you get back on your feet quicker. Massage is known to improve blood circulation. When you have more efficient blood circulation, oxygen, and other nutrients are distributed throughout the body, better assisting in the repair of tissue and accelerates the recovery process. Additionally, “New research indicates the use of massage therapy instead of opioid medication (for conditions where massage is proven effective) can reduce costs to the American economy by up to $25.99 billion annually” (AMTA).
  4. Lowers Blood Pressure – Receiving regular massage has a positive effect on blood pressure. Massage can stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest functions), which results in regulating your heart rate and lowering your blood pressure. You should not consider massage as your primary mode of treatment and consult your doctor to see how this integrative form of therapy can help your condition.

These are just four of the many benefits of massage. Adding massage is a viable expression of self-care for longevity, health, and emotional and mental well-being. Besides, it makes you feel great! You know you want to , now you just have to make that commitment to yourself, your health, and your schedule.

Resources:

AMTA, Massage Therapy Can Reduce the Cost of the National Opioid Crisis, retrieved at https://www.amtamassage.org/research/Massage-Therapy-Research-Roundup/Research-Roundup–Massage-Therapy-Can-Reduce-the-Cost-of-the-National-Opioid-Crisis.html

Rapaport, M. H., Schettler, P., & Bresee, C. (2012). A preliminary study of the effects of repeated massage on hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal and immune function in healthy individuals: a study of mechanisms of action and dosage. Journal of alternative and complementary medicine (New York, N.Y.)18(8), 789–797. doi:10.1089/acm.2011.0071
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3419840/

Salleh M. R. (2008). Life event, stress and illness. The Malaysian journal of medical sciences : MJMS15(4), 9–18.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3341916/