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The Many Benefits of Massage

The Many Benefits of Massage

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Here at the Furniture For Life headquarters in Boulder, Colorado, we love massage, and we’re vocal advocates for the use of massage chairs. We understand first hand the physical and mental health benefits that come from regular massage because we are fortunate enough to work in an office with many massage chairs.

While you may not have several massage chair models beckoning you to give them a try at your place of work, it is still helpful to learn about how regular massage can improve your health and increase your happiness. Once you do, you just might want a massage chair in your home or at your office, and we can help with that!

Essential Massage Benefits

Researchers have confirmed time and again that massage therapy works, but exactly what benefits does it confer? Below are some of those that people commonly seek and experience:

  • Pain management. One of the most well-established benefits of massage therapy is its ability to relieve pain. Studies have shown that massage therapy can be effective for managing a variety of chronic pain conditions, including low back pain, fibromyalgia, and osteoarthritis. Additionally, massage therapy has been found to be effective for managing post-operative pain and pain associated with cancer.
  • Stress and anxiety symptom reduction. Massage therapy has also been found to be effective for managing stress and anxiety symptoms. Research has shown that regular massage can reduce the physiological symptoms of stress, such as increased heart rate and blood pressure and can also improve mood and reduce feelings of anxiety. Additionally, massage therapy has been found to be effective for managing symptoms of depression and PTSD.
  • Immune system support. Another area where massage therapy has been found to be beneficial is in supporting the immune system. Studies have shown that massage therapy can increase the number of white blood cells, which are responsible for fighting off infection and disease. Massage therapy has also been found to increase the activity of natural killer cells that play a critical role in the body’s immune response.
  • Injury prevention and faster recovery. Getting regular massages can increase your flexibility and range of motion. As a result, you may be less likely to suffer injuries from physical activities. If you do get hurt, massage can help you recover more quickly. That’s why many athletes—from amateur to elite—make massage part of their fitness strategy.

And, of course, we can’t forget about one more benefit of massage: pure enjoyment. Having a physical or mental health concern is not a prerequisite to getting massages or purchasing a massage chair. Frankly, we all face challenges in life. Why not plan some time into your daily routine to escape from them and simply lose yourself in a pleasant experience?

The Science of Massage Therapy

Research has shown that massage therapy can have a number of positive physiological effects on the body. For example, it has been found to increase blood flow, reduce muscle tension, and promote relaxation. Additionally, massage therapy has been found to reduce the production of stress hormones, such as cortisol and increase the production of positive hormones, like serotonin and dopamine. All of which help people feel better.

In other words, the benefits of massage therapy are not just “in your head.” They are very much in your body, as well—so much so that Penn Medicine uses the term “magical massage” in one article!  

As for the specifics of how massage benefits the body, it is important to note that massage affects more than just muscles. On top of them is your largest organ, your skin, and the spidery web of connective tissue that covers us from head to toe, the fascial layers. Massage directly impacts them as well.

While it is often the musculoskeletal system that grabs the headlines, there is much more going on in a massage. In all, there are 11 central “systems” in the body: 

  1. Cardiovascular/circulatory (arteries and veins)
  2. Digestive (what we have taken in and eliminate)
  3. Endocrine (hormonal balance)
  4. Integumentary (skin)
  5. Lymphatic (immune system)
  6. Musculoskeletal (a framed body in motion)
  7. Nervous (brain-to-body communication)
  8. Renal (bodily fluid and blood flow)
  9. Reproductive (sex organs)
  10. Respiratory (mechanism for breathing)
  11. Vestibular (balance and movement)

When you get a full body massage, the movements impact these systems in a positive way. And the effects are wide-ranging. For example, many people report that massage has helped with a better night’s sleep. That is because massage encourages a parasympathetic nervous system (PSNS) response. Your PSNS represents half of your autonomic nervous system, along with the sympathetic nervous system. 

Have you heard the term “fight or flight”? This is a hormonal response that includes the “stress hormone” cortisol initiated by the sympathetic nervous system. Think clammy hands and dilated pupils. It is designed to help you run fast to get out of danger or fight your way out of it . This is, of course, a helpful response in some situations, but it creates unwanted side effects if it is stimulated too often or for too long.

Your PSNS,  on the other hand, is known as the “rest and digest” system. It helps slow down your heart rate, decrease blood pressure, and prepare your body for a good meal and a refreshing night’s sleep. Unsurprisingly in today’s stressful world, stimulation of the PSNS feels wonderful and provides much-needed relief.

Massage Health Benefits: Stats From AMTA on Why People Get Massages

According to the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) 2015 consumer survey, an average of 18% of US adults received at least one massage from July 2014-July 2015. And in this same study, 27% of the population received a massage in the previous five years. That’s a lot of happy people! As a massage therapist, I can see and feel the value of touch with massage therapy. In a world that pulls us out of our bodies, massage helps us to reconnect.

A recent Massage Profession Research Report from the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) provided some interesting insights on why people got massages in the past year. For example, 60% of respondents cited health or wellness as one of their reasons for getting a massage. Other top responses were relaxation/stress reduction (47%), pampering/just to feel good (34%), and sports conditioning (6%).   

Also notable are the percentages of massage therapists who got referrals from different healthcare providers in the last year. Below are the percentages of massage therapists who receive referrals from each respective type of healthcare provider:

  • Chiropractic offices (67%)
  • Hospitals/medical offices (54%)   
  • Other healthcare professionals (72%)
  • Physicians (46%)
  • Veterans Affairs facilities (13%) 

Clearly, massage is a modality that is widely respected and recommended within the healthcare community for many reasons.

Massage Chair Benefits

Considering all the ways that getting regular massage can improve your health, amplify your happiness, and generally elevate your quality of life, it makes sense to simplify your access to sessions. The best way to do that (short of having a live-in massage therapist on call 24/7) is to own an advanced massage chair. 

Having a massage chair in your home or at your office (or better yet, in both locations) is advantageous for multiple reasons, including:

  • Easy access. How many times have you thought, “It would be fantastic to get a massage right now,” but you didn’t enjoy a session for any of several reasons? You reluctantly acknowledged that your massage therapist wasn’t available, you didn’t want the expense, you didn’t want to face the weather or the traffic on your trek to a massage therapist’s office, etc. All of those hurdles disappear when you have a massage chair in your home. You have a standing appointment for an incredible massage with the shortest of commutes!
  • Tailored sessions. Chairs from top manufacturers enable you to get precisely the type of massage you desire. Do you want a gentle session that puts you on the glide path to a great night’s sleep? Your massage chair can deliver that. Are you looking for deeper or more vigorous bodywork to help you recover from strenuous exercise? That functionality is available. Or maybe the session you want today is less about the massage movements and more about just escaping for a while. If so, features like Bluetooth audio immersion, air ionizers, and aromatherapy can transport you to your “happy place.” 

Cost-effectiveness. Like regular sessions with a massage therapist, buying a massage chair is an investment in your health and happiness. The difference is that once you have made your purchase, there is no ongoing expense. With massage therapist appointments, there is the cost of the bodywork, expenses related to your commute, the downtime as you travel to and from an appointment, etc. To be sure, the best massage chairs have a significant cost, but owners find they pay for themselves very quickly.

Enjoy Massage Chair Health Benefits in Your Home

Ideally, your path to experiencing anytime-access to massage chair health benefits should start at the Furniture For Life showroom near you. There, you can talk with one of our Comfort Consultants about your wants and needs. 

They use that information to develop a short list of massage chairs for you to try, all the while helping you understand how different features and functions contribute to the experience a particular model delivers. And that is what you should focus on—how you feel during and after a session in a particular massage chair. 

We carry a curated selection of The World’s Best Massage Chairs®, offer excellent warranties, and provide attentive post-sale support, so you can’t go wrong with a purchase from Furniture For Life. Don’t wait to enjoy the benefits of massage in your home!

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