The Healing Powers of Massage

Given that Hippocrates, the “Father of Medicine,” in ancient Greece knew about the healing powers of massage, it's hardly news that a good massage has therapeutic benefits.

The medical community is increasingly sold on the positive effect that a professional massage can have on the body. According to a CNN article, medical centers, such as Cardiovascular Institute at New York Presbyterian Hospital—Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center—now offer massage as regular therapy for their patients.

Research shows that massage and bodywork can help relieve pain, insomnia, PMS, stress, migraine and many other ailments. For back pain, it seems that massage is more effective than chiropractic therapy and acupuncture. It also appears to have an impact on the hormones that affect our moods and stress levels. Studies show that massage lowers the amount of cortisol, a stress hormone, and simultaneously boosts our levels of serotonin and dopamine.

Along with improving our moods, the hormonal shifts slow your heart rate, lower blood pressure, ease pain and help muscle tissue to heal.

A good massage is one of those indulgences that I rarely allow myself. I seem to get them on vacations or if I wake up with stubborn knots in my back that are impervious to an emergency yoga class. But throw in the list of medical reasons to splurge on a massage, and suddenly it seems less like an indulgence (or dire necessity) and more like a smart way to spend money on myself. Which is why I just put a call into a great therapist I know to see if she can squeeze me in this weekend.

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