Whether it’s a back rub from your partner or a hand massage during a manicure, a good rubdown can be a total godsend. But it doesn’t just feel nice: Research suggests (and experts agree) that getting massaged can actually benefit your health.
You can’t argue with science (and probably wouldn’t want to), so keep these facts in mind the next time you beg someone for a massage or consider splurging on a pro treatment. Below are several benefits of massage:
1. It’s basically a painkiller — especially when your masseur gets his hands on your bare skin. In one study, when neuroscientists compared brain activity of people undergoing different touch-treatments (e.g., with and without rubber gloves, with and without movement, etc.), bare-handed massages activated the same part of the brain that is activated by opioid painkillers such as codeine.
You don’t need a prescription for massage, so if you feel pain in a particular area, ask someone to press their fingers into the specific pain point (often referred to as a knot, or contracted muscle fibers where blood flow is impaired) for about 10 seconds with sustained, medium pressure. (The inclination is to rub all over, but that isn’t as effective for targeting knots.)
2. It boosts your immunity. Massage doesn’t just get the blood flowing – it actually changes your blood’s composition for the better. After a 45-minute Swedish massage (a technique that involves long strokes, deep kneading, and circular movements to push blood toward the heart), recipients had significantly higher levels of blood proteins that play a major role in protecting the body from tumors, viral infections, and other pathogens, compared to blood samples taken from a control group, according to a study published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.
3. It improves your flexibility. If you can’t even fathom contorting yourself into intimate positions like the Arc de Triumph, Erotic Accordion, or Pinwheel, there’s hope: Two 30-minute massages per week can improve your trunk flexibility and relieve pain associated with lower back stiffness, according to a five-week study that was published in International Journal of Neuroscience study. Tell your partner — massage is a gift that gives back!Massage is one of traditional methods to reduce pain and pressure.