Ever wondered what the scientific benefits of massage are?
Most people enjoy massage, but there is a growing body of research and evidence that explains and supports why massage has far reaching benefits for a wide range of people.
Your skin (the bodies largest organ) has a rich supply of nerve endings and receptors. Physically activating / manipulating these gives the brain all sorts of signals that create a cascade of effects in the brain and body.
De-sensitisation of wound-up, tight tissues but also a wound-up nervous system is a great example – many types of pain including more complex pain syndromes have an element of central sensitisation – massage decreases this so their brain is getting more accurate information from muscles, joints, skin, ligaments etc. – this results in less pain and dysfunction.
Physically manipulating soft tissue causes increased local blood flow and lymph flow to oxygenate tissues and remove waste products – decreasing pain, helping healing.
Massage has also been shown to have the potential to decrease anxiety and stress – boosting brain levels of Serotonin.
Studies on massage therapy have found it can be useful at helping subacute/chronic low back pain, delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS), and can help support the wellbeing of patients with chronic and/or terminal diseases such as cancer. There are also initial positive studies into the benefits of massage therapy for other various disorders such as fibromyalgia, digestive disorders, premenstrual syndrome, headaches, insomnia related to stress, myofascial pain syndrome, soft tissue strains or strains, multiple sclerosis, myofascial pain and knee osteoarthritis. Of course, research is ongoing.
Massage therapy has been proven in the research to be safe when performed by a qualified practitioner that adheres to proper guidelines and practices.
“Massage therapy, as a stand-alone treatment, reduces pain and improves function (compared to no treatment) in some musculoskeletal conditions” Journal of Physiotherapy
In certain conditions, massage therapy has been shown to be even more effective when combined with other evidence-based treatments such as Physiotherapy.
Here at Orion Family Physiotherapy our highly qualified and experienced massage therapists can (with your permission) communicate with your Physio to give you the most effective combined treatment approach.
Bervoets DC, Luijsterburg PAJ, Alessie JJN, Buijs MJ, Verhagen AP (2015) Massage therapy has short-term benefits for people with common musculoskeletal disorders compared to no treatment: a systematic review. Journal of Physiotherapy 61: 106–116