The Benefits of Regular Massage
Once people discover the many
joys and benefits of massage, a common question arises —
"How often should I schedule my massage sessions?" Of
course, there is no set answer, but studies indicate that massage
at regular intervals is most beneficial to your overall health.
In a Newsweek article
entitled "The Magic of Touch," the advantages of frequent
massage are considered. The following excerpts help to answer
the question, "How often?"
"A weekly massage may
seem an indulgence, but new research suggests it can have major
"Since instituting a program
of massage, job-specific exercises and ergonomics in 1990, the
Virginia-based company [Wampler Foods] has cut repetitive-stress
injuries by 75 percent....
"From assembly lines to
corporate headquarters, Americans are discovering the magic of
massage. At Boeing and Reebok, headaches, back strain and fatigue
have all fallen since the companies started bringing in massage
therapists . . . Doctors have started prescribing massage to help
patients manage stress and pain. And a few HMOs have begun sharing
in the cost. ‘Massage is medicine, not merely an indulgence,’
says Laura Favin of Not Just a Luxury Onsite Massage in New York....
"Scientists are now finding
that massage can reduce blood pressure, boost the immune system,
dampen harmful stress hormones and raise mood-elevating brain
chemicals such as serotonin. And you can’t beat massage
for relaxation. Babies fall asleep faster when massaged than when
rocked — and they stay asleep, rather than waking the moment
Mom tiptoes away. All these factors, says Tiffany Field, founder
of the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami’s
School of Medicine, ‘put massage in the same category with
proper diet and exercise as something that helps maintain overall
"The effects aren’t
always so straightforward. Massage can also stimulate nerves that
carry signals from the skin to the brain, triggering changes throughout
the body.... Field showed that massage (as opposed to light touch)
stimulates the brain’s vagus nerve, causing the secretion
of food-absorption hormones, including insulin. Nerve stimulation
probably explains other benefits as well.... Dr. James Dillard
of Columbia University [says], ‘Every nerve cell in the
body has some connection to every other nerve cell.’ ...
"Like exercise, massage
does more for you if you engage in it regularly... even a monthly
treatment can help maintain general health. ‘Touch is basic
to survival,’ says Elliot Greene, past president of AMTA
[American Massage Therapy Assn.]. That’s all the excuse
anyone should need to indulge."
Remember, your body strives
to maintain optimum health by keeping all of its systems in balance.
Along with proper nutrition, exercise and rest, massage relaxes
tense muscles and stimulates the body’s communication lines
to help it do its job — and to keep you feeling your best.
So, make regular massage a priority in your life for a healthier