Massage offers real health benefits, so much so that some conventional hospitals are making them a standard therapy for surgery patients and others.
This interesting CNN article details many of these benefits (including some that may surprise you). Along with promoting relaxation and improving your sense of well-being, getting a massage has been shown to:
Massage affects the nervous system through nerve endings in the skin, stimulating the release of endorphins, the body’s natural ‘feel good’ chemicals. Massage is one of the oldest and simplest forms of medical care used to ease pain and anxiety, and massages have profound health benefits. Massages, even between you and your significant other, can be an excellent addition to your healthy lifestyle.
Endorphins help induce relaxation and a sense of well-being, relieve pain and reduce levels of stress chemicals such as cortisol and noradrenaline — reversing the damaging effects of stress by slowing heart rate, respiration and metabolism and lowering raised blood pressure.
Stronger massage stimulates blood circulation to improve the supply of oxygen and nutrients to body tissues and helps the lymphatic system to flush away waste products. It eases tense and knotted muscles and stiff joints, improving mobility and flexibility.
Massage is said to increase activity of the vagus nerve, one of 10 cranial nerves, that affects the secretion of food absorption hormones, heart rate and respiration. It has proven to be an effective therapy for a variety of health conditions — particularly stress-related tension, which experts believe accounts for as much as 80 percent to 90 percent of disease.
In addition to the benefits listed above, massage can: