Seven reasons to work a massage into your overall health plan

We all know a massage feels good, but therapeutic massage can help us not just feel better, but get better. Certain types can help relieve pain or other symptoms from a range of health concerns.

OSF HealthCare massage therapist Erin Nelson uses different methods – Swedish, therapeutic, cold and hot stone therapies – to help comfort her clients.

While Erin says “anyone and everyone” can benefit, there are some people who might find unexpected relief for common health conditions.

“There are different techniques for everything you’re experiencing,” Erin said.

Here are seven reasons you might want to schedule yourself a massage:

1. Massage can relieve migraines

Your therapist will focus on your shoulders, upper back, neck and head to help relieve the pain of migraines. Those who suffer from migraines might also find relief from cold stone therapy, which reduces inflammation.
man gets head massage

“Massage therapy can relieve headaches because it relaxes tense muscles, relieves muscle spasms, improves blood flow and aids relaxation. It can be helpful for relieving the pain of both tension and vascular headaches,” Nelson said.

2. Massage can help you recover from injury or surgery

Massage can help break down scar tissue, restore range of motion and relieve muscle tension. Some people may find it can help manage post-injury or post-surgical pain – meaning they are less reliant on pain medication.

3. You can get sinus relief

Certain techniques can help drain mucus. Your therapist may also use cupping therapy, a technique popularized by Olympic athletes that involves gentle suction, to help ease your breathing.

4. Your immune system can get a boost

The lymphatic system is an important part of your immune system. The clear, watery fluid, called lymph, can build up in your body if a lymph node somehow becomes blocked. Massage can help drain this fluid and prevent a condition called lymphedema.

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5. Your blood pressure can benefit

The pressure of a massage can help mechanically move blood through your veins. “Depending on what method you use, you can increase or decrease blood pressure to help with well-being,” Erin said.

6. Foot massage can relieve arthritis pain

Often, arthritis or back pain can start with your feet. Erin recommends a foot massage to gently ease pain and relax the muscles in your feet that can help ease pain in other parts of your body.

7. It helps you relax

Relief from stress and anxiety is another well-documented benefit. Schedule one before your mammogram, wellness appointment or other visit to make a trip to the doctor a treat for yourself.

Last Updated: June 1, 2022

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About Author: Laura Nightengale

Laura Nightengale was a writing coordinator for OSF HealthCare. 

She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Kansas and worked as a reporter at a daily newspaper for five years before joining OSF HealthCare. 

When she’s not working, Laura loves to travel, read, and spend time with her family, including her sweet and ornery dog.

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Categories: Physical Therapy