In addition, massage speeds recovery from injury or infection by increasing the production of white blood cells. Massage also increases the body’s circulation, delivering more nutrients to nearby tissues and promoting healing. This means that massage doesn’t have to be performed directly on painfully injured tissue to provide benefits to the area.
Several studies by the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami Medical School have focused on changes massage causes in the balance of dopamine, serotonin and endorphins in the blood. The changed balance encourages the production of cells that fight pathogens as well as affecting mood and emotions.
A brief massage – for example, a 15-minute chair massage – increases levels of dopamine, epinephrine and norepinephrine, encouraging alertness, focus and attentiveness. Many companies offer chair massage to employees occasionally or on a regular schedule because of this. The employees appreciate how the brief massage relieves aches and pains. Employers can expect reduced absenteeism and improved employee performance on the day chair massage is scheduled.
A longer massage raises the level of serotonin, an endorphin that subdues anxiety and stress, creates pleasurable sensations and promotes feelings of satiety. Conversely, massage lowers the level of cortisol, a stress hormone that is involved in stress-related diseases, suppressed immunity, inappropriate inflammatory responses and sleep disturbances.
Massage is safe during any stage of pregnancy as a gentle, non-invasive way to relieve backaches, reduce leg cramps and improve the quality of sleep.
Massage isn’t simply about pampering yourself; it enables your body to function better. The fact that is feels really, really good is a wonderful bonus.