With few exceptions, everyone enjoys a massage. Since the beginnings of Eastern medicine thousands of years ago, care givers recognized the benefits of using touch and rubbing to generate feelings of wellbeing. The warmth of human touch can help to relax and comfort us, but there are deeper reasons that massage is good for the body, mind and soul.

Massage has become much more sophisticated, even in the past decade, than it was during its origins. Today our clients have many options in massage according to their medical needs and health goals. Some clients receive massage for its stress relief benefits — which plays an enormous role in our health, as stress is related to an estimated 90 percent of all health ailments. In addition to alleviating stress, massage helps the musculoskeletal system and other internal systems to function at their best and heal in countless ways.

Massage stimulates lymph flow which enhances the body’s natural immune system. It also helps to release endorphins, or amino acids that work as natural painkillers. Massage manipulates skin — the body’s largest organ, as well as muscle, tendons and ligaments, to help promote tissue regeneration and reduce scar tissue. Overall, massage improves circulation by pumping oxygen and nutrients into vital organs and tissues.

In general, massage therapy is used to exercise and stretch weak, injured, tight or atrophied muscles to help promote better movement and to alleviate pain. For athletes, massage can help muscles recover from strenuous training and help repair muscle damage and injury so that the body can achieve peak performance.

While massage is often associated with pampering and a luxury spa experience or alternative medicine, it is a tool often used by traditional medical practitioners as a complementary treatment for a wide range of conditions. While the physical benefits are more obvious, massage is also prescribed frequently for depression and anxiety.

Techniques and styles vary from the long, gentle and kneading strokes of Swedish massage to more forceful and slower strokes of deep-tissue massage. Other popular forms of massage include sports massage, trigger point massage and pre- and post-natal massage. All forms of massage have in common the objective of healing. This may take the form of a quicker recovery after pregnancy, a surgery or injury, or as an enhanced sense of wellbeing as experienced by lessened anxiety, better quality of sleep, improved energy and concentration.

Massage is one form of care that affects the entire human organism and can have immediate and long-term results with regular use. It should be considered a necessary part of every person’s self-care plan and as an investment in the maintenance and enhancement and of your general health and wellness to keep the body and mind functioning and feeling its best.