Massage is a general term for pressing, rubbing and manipulating your skin, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Massage may range from light stroking to deep pressure.

Massage can be a part of a pro-active plan of preventative medicine much in the same way as exercise and healthy eating.
Here are 5 very good reasons why you should consider adding regular massage to your wellness routine.

1. Stress Reduction – Every year, people spend thousands of money and significant time seeking relief from illness. Many of which are stress-related, like depression, heart disease, diabetes, fibromyalgia, and cancer. Adding a regular massage to your current health-care routine has been proven to reduce stress, which reduces illness.
Doctors recognize the benefits and often recommend regular massage to their patients for reducing stress. Several studies have measured the stress hormone called cortisol and found massage decreases cortisol levels dramatically. Cortisol is produced when you are stressed and kills important cells needed for immunity. So, when massage reduces your stress levels (and the cortisol) in your body, it may help you avoid getting sick.

2. Relief for Chronic Illness – Massage often relieves symptoms of chronic disease or illness such as fibromyalgia, arthritis, and cancer.
* • Reduces Anxiety – Massage eases anxiety before and during uncomfortable procedures. Some schedule their massage the day before a procedure or a chemotherapy infusion because they find it helps them stay calm.
* • Eases Pain – Clients who receive massage say they have less pain, treatment-related pain, and pain due to muscle tension.
* • Helps Control Nausea – Gentle-touch massage has been shown to reduce nausea in patients in the hospital receiving bone marrow transplant.
* • Improves Sleep and Eases Fatigue – Massage eases fatigue and improves energy levels which allows an increase in activity which often promotes better sleep.
* • Helps Relieve Depression – Research shows that massage may help relieve depression in cancer patients.

3. Strengthens Your Immune System – Massage therapy boosts the immune system by stimulating natural killer cells. Since therapeutic massage decreases cortisol that destroys natural killer cells, your immune system gets a boost. An increase in white blood cells and natural killer-cell activity better prepares the body to fight off possible invading cells. Massage even boosts immunity in those people with severely compromised immune systems, such as cancer patients.

4. Relief from Injury – Are you a weekend warrior or recovering from surgery? Regular massage can help you get back on your feet quicker. Massage improves blood circulation. When you have more efficient blood circulation, oxygen, and other nutrients are distributed throughout the body better. This helps in repairing tissue and hastens the recovery process.

5. Lowers Blood Pressure – Receiving massage on a regular basis has a positive effect on blood pressure problems. Massage can stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, which results in regulating your heart rate and lowering your blood pressure. You should not consider massage as your primary mode of treatment and consult your doctor to see how this integrative form of treatment can help your condition.

How often should you get a massage?

- If you’re an expecting mom, you should get a massage biweekly. A massage can help relieve that pressure, helping mamas-to-be sleep better, and move more easily.
- If you suffer from insomnia, you should get a massage weekly. It will help you sleep and stay asleep.
- If you’re working with an injury, you should get a massage weekly or biweekly. Then, as you heal, you can start to leave more time in between sessions.
- If you suffer from chronic pain, you should get a massage weekly or biweekly. If you’re dealing with ongoing discomfort caused by depression, IBS, or another condition, it’s especially important to keep an ongoing dialogue with your masseuse.
- If you’re under major stress, you should get a massage weekly.