Studies show massage has a tangible impact on certain health conditions
If you’re new to the field of massage therapy, or if you’re thinking about enrolling in a massage therapist training program, you be surprised to learn that massage has benefits that go far beyond relaxation.
Of course, this probably isn’t news to experienced massage pros, many of whom have probably witnessed the health benefits that massage can provide firsthand.
In any case, it’s interesting to see scientific research confirming just how beneficial massage can be.
Here are three studies that provide evidence that massage can help improve health.
1. A boost to the immune system
Can a single session of Swedish massage boost immunity? It’s possible, according to researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
Doctors in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences studied the effects of Swedish massage on study participants’ immune function. By measuring levels of different biochemicals after light-touch massage and Swedish massage, researchers found that people who had received Swedish massage showed measurable, positive effects on their immune systems.
The researchers went even further: They postulated that repeated sessions of Swedish massage may prove to be therapeutic for people suffering from autoimmune and inflammatory conditions.
2. Fall reduction risk in older adults
Researchers at Auburn and Samford Universities in Alabama found a link between massage and increased stability in older people. What that means: massage could actually decrease fall risks in the elderly population.
What’s especially interesting is that the Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts that the massage therapy field is expected to grow by 23% between now and 2022, which is a much faster rate than other occupations. Part of this increase is attributed to the increase in the aging population.
The takeaway for massage therapy students: Know that when you’re working with an older person, you may actually be helping him or her avoid a fall that could result in a broken hip or other serious injury.
3. Improved mental health
The University of Miami has conducted multiple studies showing that massage can have a positive impact on people suffering from depression and anxiety.
In one particularly interesting study, researchers looked at 500 men, women, and children with depression or stress problems. They found that cortisol – also known as the “stress hormone” – could be reduced by up 53% after a massage.
On the flipside, many participants showed increased levels of serotonin and dopamine, neurotransmitters that have been shown to help reduce depression.
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