Massage is one of the earliest known therapeutic practices. Treatments for various disorders were based on the belief that massage therapy had curative characteristics shared by many ancient cultures, including the Greeks, Egyptians, Chinese, and Indians.

A growing number of medical illnesses and circumstances are benefiting from massage in addition to regular therapy.

Massage can reduce stress, increase relaxation, reduce pain and muscular soreness and tension, improve circulation, energy, and alertness, decrease blood pressure and heart rate, and enhance immunological function.

Stress hormone cortisol may be reduced by getting a massage, and the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine can be increased, which are known to help regulate your mood. For people who suffer from sleeplessness due to menopause or congestive heart failure, massage treatment can help.

Plus, it feels good! While a massage sounds like something you should have as often as possible, to maintain its benefits, you may not need one as often as you think. It all depends on your goals, lifestyle, and general state of health.

Wellness and Relaxation

Even for the healthiest person, massage offers major benefits like:
• Calming the central nervous system
• Increasing circulation
• Elongating tight muscles
• Loosening toxins from the tissues for elimination
• Boosting immunity

If you’re just looking to enhance your health or want occasional respite from everyday stress and strain, scheduling a massage once or twice a month will probably suffice.

For those who work in a high-stress environment or have daily activities that risk causing repetitive-motion injuries or postural issues, weekly sessions might be best. Keep in mind that the effects of regular massage are cumulative, and spacing them too far apart might leave you back at square one every time.

Optimizing Athletic Performance

For athletes, massage can both enhance performance and reduce the risk of injury by balancing muscle groups and increasing joint mobility. The process of lengthening contracted muscles and releasing myofascial adhesions is rarely a one-shot deal, and serious athletes may need two or more sessions a week to stay in top shape. Many professional teams have therapists on staff for that very reason, but the more casual athlete may not have the resources to be massaged that often.

For the average athletic person, it depends on your training schedule and whether or not you haven chronic muscle issues. One or two massages a month may be enough during lighter training periods, increasing frequency as workouts intensify.

Never schedule deep tissue massage less than five days before a big event. It can cause soreness and changes in body mechanics that can throw you off your game. Stick with circulation-boosting massage such as Swedish or Abhyanga immediately before and after a big event—it helps flush out lactic acid build-up and speeds recovery.

Pain Management

Overly contracted muscles often cause chronic pain, from migraine to sciatica, and more. In general, weekly sessions are recommended, but much depends on how you feel. If your pain starts to return within a few days, it’s time for another massage. If you are still pain free a week later, maybe you can spread your sessions out.

Most people find that they need more frequent sessions to start, slowly decreasing frequency as their muscles elongate and relax. Some therapists will also suggest stretches you can do at home to maintain muscle balance longer between sessions.

Injury/Surgery Recovery

Massage is often recommended after injury or surgery. It can help:
• Reduce pain, minimizing the need for pain medication
• Inhibit swelling by moving lymph
• Break up scar tissue
• Hasten the healing process by increasing the flow of blood and oxygen

Always check with your doctor before getting a massage. It may not be the best treatment option after an injury or surgery or may be limited to particular modalities. For example, deep tissue massage would be a bad idea for someone on blood thinners or with an acute injury, but lymphatic drainage massage could be helpful. Once you’re given clearance, two sessions a week or more may be needed to start, with frequency decreasing as healing and recovery progress.

Additional benefits of prenatal massage include:

  • Providing an overall sense of well being
  • Improving sleep
  • Increasing oxygenation of muscles and tissues
  • Hormone regulation (which is linked with lower stress levels)
  • Pain relief
  • Reduction of swelling (edema)
  • Relieving anxiety and stress
  • Lower incidence of depression (which might have been the result of an increase in dopamine and serotonin levels)
  • Lower levels of anxiety
  • Less back and leg pain
  • Decreased levels of cortisol (the stress hormone)
  • Lower rate of postpartum depression

Pregnancy Massage

A prenatal massage is a full body massage performed by a certified prenatal massage therapist that is similar to a Swedish massage (like what you might experience at a spa) except for a few modifications with body positioning that can ensure the safety and comfort for both mother and baby. Women should always have a discussion with their prenatal care provider about their health before deciding on any type of massage therapy. Luckily, at Celebrate Birth, your care team and prenatal massage therapist work hand in hand!
Let’s dive right into some of the many benefits of prenatal massage:

1. Reduce Swelling
When your feet, legs, and hands start swelling during pregnancy, it is often caused by reduced circulation and increased pressure on the major blood vessels. Massage can help stimulate the soft tissue, move the extra fluid, and reduce the swelling, leaving you feeling more comfortable.

2. Relieve Lower Back Pain
Pregnancy massage improves lower back pain including sciatic nerve pain by addressing the tight muscles in the affected area. Prenatal massage increases blood flow and helps release the tension that can be brought on naturally by pregnancy.

3. Improve Sleep
Getting good quality sleep becomes harder and harder as your pregnancy progresses. Prenatal massage relaxes the nervous system and releases feel good hormones. This will leave you more relaxed and let you sleep better. That is something we all need!

4. Prepare Your Body for Labor and Birth
Prenatal Massage can help you have an easier delivery, not only because it can reduce your overall stress level but also because of how well it can keep your muscles toned and relaxed in advance of the start of labor. Studies show that women reportedly had shorter hospital stays, shorter labors and less incidence of post-natal depression when receiving massages.

5. Relieve Pain Naturally
Prenatal massage offers a natural, safe, drug-free alternative for pain relief. This is beneficial since the use of medications is limited during pregnancy for the safety of your baby. The increased blood flow to your tissues and the relaxation your body will experience during and after a session can significantly alleviate many of the common discomforts of pregnancy.

Lymphedema Massage benefit

The lymphatic system plays a key role in the body’s immune defenses.

Lymphatic fluid flows through lymph vessels, which connect lymph nodes. As it passes through the lymph nodes, white blood cells trap and destroy harmful particles, such as bacteria.

Like blood in the circulatory system, lymphatic fluid is always moving. If it stops, swelling can occur, as lymph fluid builds up, often in the arms or legs. Health experts call this lymphedema.

Lymphatic massage usually forms part of a treatment program health experts call decongestive lymphatic therapy (DLT).

DLT for lymphedema includes:

  • lymphatic drainage massage
  • compression garments
  • exercise
  • skin care

Together, these can improve circulation throughout the lymphatic system and help manage Trusted Source symptoms of lymphedema, including:

  • swelling in the extremities — such as the arms, legs, hands, or feet — which can affect mobility
  • swelling in other parts of the body, including the chest, breast, shoulder, face, and groin
  • pain and changes in sensation
  • a feeling of heaviness
  • difficulty fitting into clothing

Lymphedema can benefit people who have a buildup of lymphatic fluid:

  • cancer and cancer treatments that involve the removal of lymph nodes
  • filariasis, which is infestation of the lymph nodes by a parasite carried by mosquitoes
  • some types of vascular surgery, such as vein stripping
  • burn scar excision
  • lipectomy,/ BBL a type of surgery to remove fat from the body
  • infection or trauma in the lymphatic system
  • a buildup of fluid due to deep vein thrombosis
  • health conditions that affect blood flow to the extremities, such as the hands and feet