10 BENEFITS OF MASSAGE & HOT STONES
Massage has so many benefits for your health and wellbeing! It is really an understated natural preventative treatment and remedy that should be part of your self-care routine. The bonus is it's so enjoyable - unlike taking medicines, being sick or going to the Doctor. Particularly over winter and in the colder weather, I recommend you utilise the increased benefits of Hot Stone Massage and schedule in 2-3 treatments to boost your immunity and keep you healthy and happy!
Massage is one of the oldest forms of hands on healing to humans. For thousands of years, people from virtually every culture have used touch, heat and stones as therapeutic tools. Probably the first recorded use of stones for healing was by Chinese medical practitioners (circa305BC) who massaged acupressure points and meridians with ‘Bian Stones’. American Indians also used stones for healing. Hot Stone therapy is a complete mind, body and spirit treatment. Physically, the circulation and metabolism are stimulated. Mentally, the client reaches a state of deep relaxation within minutes and spiritually, the client is balanced and healing takes place.
1. Relieves pain
Heat has long been used to ease muscle tension and pain. Hot stone massage can help relieve painful conditions, such as fibromyalgia and other autoimmune disorders. Several studies on fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis have linked moderate massage techniques with lessening pain and improving range of motion. According to a 2002 study, people with fibromyalgia who received a 30-minute massage slept longer, had fewer trigger points, and had decreased levels of substance P (a substance involved in transmitting pain signals) than people with the condition who received relaxation therapy. A 2013 study found that people with rheumatoid arthritis may benefit from a moderate-pressure massage, such as hot stone massage. Participants in the study experienced less pain, greater grip strength, and a greater range of motion after one month of massage therapy.
2. Reduces stress and anxiety
Deep massage relaxes the nervous system within minutes. Several studies have shown that massage reduces stress and anxiety and improves cardiovascular health. A 2001 study showed that a 10-minute massage improved cardiovascular responses such as stroke volume.
3. Reduces depression
Who honestly feels great during the winter months? A simple alternative to combating the cold can be a regular massage! The days are shorter, there is less natural sunlight, the weather is gloomier and it’s cold so it’s not surprising that quite a few people get the winter blues and can suffer from depression known as Seasonal Affective Disorder. During daylight, your brain releases serotonin – a chemical that makes you feel positive, happy and motivated. So it makes sense that during the winter, your brain releases less of this chemical. Massage makes your body release serotonin and endorphin chemicals that your body produces when the sun shines!
4. Increases joint flexibility
Muscle tension decreases blood flow and lymph flow and nutrients and can make it difficult and more painful to move the joints. Massage helps to relax muscles, increase circulation, flexibility and range of motion.
5. Decreases muscle spasms and tension
Massage helps increase blood flow to the affected area, reduces muscle spasms, and promotes relaxation of the muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints to ease both pain and spasms. It also assists the musculoskeletal system by breaking down adhesions.
6. Promotes sleep
Many people do not sleep well. Factors such as stress, insomnia, and busy schedules mean they get much less than the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep each night. A 2006 literature review stated that massage may be an alternative to sleeping pills in adults with insomnia. The research showed that back massage helped promote relaxation and sleep. A 2001 study showed that infants with sleep problems who were given a 15-minute massage by their parents went to sleep faster and that they were also more alert, active, and positive upon awakening. Massage helps you enjoy a more restorative sleep.
7. May help decrease cancer symptoms
An extensive, three-year study published in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management examined how massage affected pain, fatigue, stress and anxiety, nausea, and depression in 1,290 people with cancer. The study showed massage, especially Swedish massage, reduced cancer symptoms, even in those with substantial symptoms. Researchers believe the therapeutic use of human touch played a role.
8. Reduces fatigue
Having regular massage can be a great mood lifter, as it relaxes the mind and body and gives a sense of rejuvenation and energy.
9. Helps with Sports Injury Rehabilitation
Hot stone massages have also been used for rehabilitation after certain sports injuries, such as tennis elbow. The targeted heat massage can increase circulation, soothe damaged tissue and nerves and boost healing. It can also help with athletic fatigue.
10. Boosts immunity
Massage increases circulation of fresh, oxygenated blood into your body’s organs and lymphatic system, delivering nutrients and stimulating cell production and metabolism. It helps cleanse your internal systems and remove toxins and waste from your body through lymphatic circulation. White blood cells that tackle infections live in the lymph nodes and can be reluctant to come out to fight invading bacteria. Massage helps stimulate these cells into action and boosts your immune system. According to a 2010 study, a single session of Swedish massage therapy had a positive and acute impact on immunity. Blood samples taken before and after the massage showed a decrease in arginine-vasopressin, a hormone that helps regulate blood pressure and water retention.