The Health and Beauty Benefits of Massage

“To sit in the shade on a fine day, and look upon verdure is the most perfect refreshment.” Jane Austen

We all need to relax once in a while and here in NYC, where the pace is always break-neck and the demands never cease, it’s not as easy as it sounds. Sorry, Jane. With The American Medical Association saying that stress is a factor in more than 75 percent of illnesses, de-stressing is about much more than indulgence, it’s about overall health and wellness.

At the center of it all is massage. There is simply no better way to relax your mind and your muscles than with a refreshing massage. In fact, regularly making time for massage has been shown to help with everything from sleeplessness to pain management.

  • A 2012 study proved that even a short 10-minute massage does help the muscles heal after a workout.
  • Massage reduces the level of the stress hormone cortisol, which eases stress and also soothes anxiety and even depression.
  • A 2011 study showed that those who had massages also experienced less pain, a huge finding considering that according to Time.com, eight out of 10 Americans will experience debilitating back pain.
  • Massage has been shown to help people sleep better. This Discovery Health article is a great overview of how.
  • A 2010 study found that massage increases white blood cells, which helps boost immunity enabling your body to naturally fight off colds and infections naturally. It’s cold and flu season – if this isn’t a good reason to spring for a massage, we don’t know what is.
  • We’ve heard – and read a few small studies – that massage can help ease PMS symptoms like bloating and mood swings. I don’t know about you, but that’s a theory we’re happy to test again and again.
  • Massage can actually make you smarter! This study showed that after a series of regular massage, people “showed increased speed and accuracy on math computations.”
  • According to WebMD, massage can lessen the frequency of migraine headaches and even lessen their severity when they do happen. Another study, this one from 2009, found that 30-minute massages can decrease the pain of a tension headache.

There are also beauty benefits of massage. “Massage increases blood flow, which encourages lymphatic drainage (and helps minimize the appearance of cellulite, a major factor in the success of Endermologie and VelaShape treatments), livens up the complexion, and even helps to return some volume to the skin,” explains Kirsy, our spa director.

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