We often associate massage with a visit to a luxurious spa; fragrant massage oils, incense infused rooms with the glow of amber candle lights and new agey music. However, more and more research including several studies conducted by the Touch Research Institute Research, University of Miami indicate that massage is more than a relief to sore muscles, massage can also improve one’s health. Below are just some of the benefits of touch massage:

Improves Vascular Health: Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of men and women in the United States, according to the American Heart Association. The good news is decades of research shows that massage therapy is effective in lowering blood pressure, which are contributors of heart disease. Even after 72 hours the lingering effects on blood pressure from the massage are still noticeable.

Migraine Relief: Migraine and tension headaches affect 45 million Americans. As published by the International Journal of Neuroscience, both tension headaches and migraines have been effectively treated by massage therapy. Not only can massage help relieve headache pain, but it can also help to prevent headaches from occurring. Massage promotes circulation, massage can increase blood flow in areas that might be ischemic (lacking blood flow) and therefore help relieve pain.

Stress, Anxiety and Depression: According to American Psychological Association, massage helps regulate certain hormones in the body, massage therapy has shown to decrease levels of the stress hormone Cortisol. It also increases endorphins and stimulates the Para-Sympathetic Nervous system, promoting overall relaxation.

Immune Defense: Now you know massage relieves stress and anxiety, but studies have also indicated that regular massage sessions can also boost the immune system’s cytotoxic capacity (good cells) and enhances the body’s ability to deliver nourishment. Regular massage therapy can help keep the immune system strong and resilient.

Massage therapy has long been seen as an alternative form of medicine. But these days, the long-term benefits of massage therapy are not to be underestimated so much so that more and more insurance companies now provide coverage for the treatments. Good old fashioned hands-on technique not only provides a sense of tranquility and the release of muscles tension; manual massage therapy helps with heart health, migraines, stress and our immune system.