Massage has long been a luxury available only in 5-star spas. Now you can get a massage in beauty clinics, hospitals, airports, and even at the office. The massage guarantees you relaxation by pressing and rubbing (light or strong) the skin, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. But its benefits are much more complex. Specialists have shown that massage has no significant side effects, fights pain, helps the immune system, and can be a powerful tool in the arsenal of self-care.
Massage helps you relax.
A tense and stressed body produces dangerously high cortisol levels, contributing to weight gain, insomnia, digestive problems, and headaches. Therapeutic massage lowers cortisol levels in the body, allowing it to enter a state of recovery and triggering a lasting feeling of relaxation and well-being (by releasing endorphins in the body). The massage gets rid of tense muscles and increases your physical flexibility.
Massage relieves you of pain.
What do you do every time you hit your coffee table with your knee or knock on the door of a kitchen cupboard left open? Quickly rub the place with your fingers to get rid of the pain, right? This instinctive reaction has a scientific explanation. Researchers call it the "gate theory" and explain it as follows: receptors under the skin transmit information to the brain faster than pain receptors; if both pressure receptors and pain receptors react simultaneously, the signals of the former tend to mask those of pain partially. As massage is the only way to activate pressure receptors and "close the gate" that allows pain to reach the brain, we all have a natural tendency to rub the place before it becomes harrowing.
Massage relieves stress and contributes to mental healing.
Massage increases the vagus nerve activity (nervus vagus), which connects the brain and spinal cord to organs, controlling certain aspects of the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). An increased level of activity in PNS is associated with states of relaxation. An increased level of activity in the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) is associated with forms of "running or fighting." In other words, massage helps you calm down by lowering the stress hormones (cortisol) or those that cause hypertension (vasopressin) in the body.
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