Tag Archives: chronic back pain

Therapeutic Massage Part 1 – Potential Health Benefits

There are different types of massage such as Swedish, deep tissue or full-body massage. The type that works for you may not work for the next person, as massage is a subjective, one-size-fits-one type of service. There is little conclusive empirical evidence that massage has definitive pain relief benefits, but there is much anecdotal and personal evidence that it can help with pain management and provide the following benefits:

  1. Stress management – Arguably the strongest proven health benefit of massage therapy is its effect on lowering stress. Stress triggers cortisol and adrenaline levels to rise in the body which can have detrimental effects on physical conditions and overall wellbeing, especially when these levels are perpetually elevated due to chronic stress. Massage has shown to reduce stress-releasing hormones, while simultaneously elevating levels of feel-good endorphins in the body which helps many people shake the stress of the day or week.

  2. Lower back pain relief – While research has been inconsistent on massage and pain in general, studies on the effectiveness of massage as pain relief have yielded the best results for patients with chronic lower back pain. Expert massage stimulates the release of natural analgesics in the brain, temporarily distracting the brain’s pain centers by redirecting it with these ‘feel good’ neurotransmitters and hormones. This effect seems to go further in helping back pain than shoulder, hip or migraine pain.
  3. Pregnancy benefits – According to the Mayo Clinic, prenatal massage can be very helpful in lowering stress and anxiety levels in pregnant women, as well as helping to ease the aches, pains and swelling that can be associated with pregnancy. According to the American Pregnancy Association (APA) prenatal massage may even improve delivery outcomes, however it is best to seek out a certified prenatal masseuse to ensure safety and effectivity.  

  4. Insomnia is connected with lower than average serotonin levels, and massage has shown to help increase these levels as well as release other feel-good hormones in the body. These hormones may also help bring down stress, alertness and make way for relaxation and perhaps improved sleep.

  5. Lymphedema – another strongly proven medical benefit of massage is for lymphedema patients. Some patients have such immense swelling and water retention in their lower limbs that water will actually drain out of their skin during the right type of medical massage known as a lymphatic drainage massage. This can be essential for some lymphedema patients, as there is no cure for the disease so patients often get relief from different types of treatment. ‘

 That concludes the first part of our look at the potential medicinal benefits of massages, stay tuned next for some of the risks and different types of massage. Thanks for visiting DocChat!