We know that getting a massage feels good—whether you’re at home or at the spa, a good back rub helps you stand taller, both because your muscles are loose and because it improves your mood. But is that a placebo effect, or are massages really good for your health?
It turns out that massage is an ancient art for a reason. Research shows that massage therapy has many surprising health benefits, and there are many kinds of massage therapies that target different parts of the body and brain.
We wanted to know exactly what makes massage therapy so great, so we polled the experts on Gina’s Platform across ten types of massage that are bookable on our platform.
The Most Healing Benefits of Massage Therapy
Common conditions targeted by massage therapy include:
- Chronic pain
- Trouble focusing
However, you may be surprised by some of the ailments that massage therapy can alleviate. For instance, The American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) recommends the use of massage therapy for chemotherapy-induced nausea. According to the Mayo Clinic, massage therapy may alleviate symptoms of digestive disorders, migraines, and insomnia. It’s even said to have an immune-boosting effect. So in addition to soothing sore muscles and melting stress away, massage therapy has some really useful benefits to your health.
Massage Therapy and Mental Health
Though it is an embodied practice, massage’s health benefits extend beyond the physical form. The National Institute of Health (NIH) has published multiple studies that document the positive impact massage therapy can have on mental health.
You have heard—or experienced firsthand—how getting a massage relieves stress. The dimmed lights, soft music, warmth, and good smells are certainly a nice contrast to the chaos of daily life. However, when you leave the massage table, does your dreamy bubble burst, or do your stress levels stay lower than they were before?
The data shows that receiving a massage actually changes your neurochemistry to be more positive. In other words, after a massage, you can go back to your life not just with looser shoulders, but also with an altered outlook on life.
This is because massage therapy is shown to reduce the production of cortisol—the hormone that induces feelings of stress—by about 30%. In addition to that, it increases production of serotonin and dopamine—two chemicals that create feelings of happiness and ease. That could be why massage therapy is said to be good for people with depression and anxiety.
In fact, the positive impact of massage therapy on anxiety is backed by science. The NIH published a study in which 68 people with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) received massage therapy for 12 weeks. All participants saw a significant reduction in symptoms—around 50%—by the end of the 12-week period.
When the researchers followed up with participants 6 months later, they found that participants in the study had maintained the reduction in their symptoms, despite no longer receiving massage therapy. So, according to science, getting a massage can have both short and long term health benefits, regardless of whether you continue with massage therapy.
The Top 10 Massage Experiences Offered on Gina’s Platform
Different types of massage therapies target different ailments, so what type of massage might be good for you? Here are the top ten massage specialities offered by the professionals on Gina’s platform:
- Aromatherapy: The perfect blend of neuroscience and massage. Give your limbic system a treat with the smell of soothing essential oils. Aromatherapy massage is an unparalleled sensory delight.
- Chair massage: Get all of the regular massage benefits with your clothes on and your head up. Chair massage targets the muscles in the back that keep your neck and shoulders tight.
- Deep tissue: The ultimate massage for health and wellness. For pain caused by chronic conditions, deep tissue massages hit all your hard-to-reach spots.
- Express massage: Nothing tightens your shoulders like a packed schedule. Don’t have time for an hour-long massage? Express massage offers all of the benefits of a massage therapy session in half the time.
- Hot stones: Connect with yourself and the earth with a hot stone massage. Basalt—a type of volcanic rock—comes from deep below the earth’s crust. Though not as hot as the lava that made them, these stones warm you from the inside out.
- Neuromuscular therapy: Neuromuscular massage cuts the nonsense and gets to the point; in neuromuscular massage therapy, practitioners target one small area, known as a trigger point, to treat pain in other parts of the body.
- Physical therapy: Yes, physical therapists use massage too! Though not as relaxing as a spa treatment, massage in physical therapy—known as soft-tissue mobilization, or STM—can be used to treat neurological conditions and injuries and is complemented by the use of other treatment modalities.
- Pregnancy massage: Say goodbye to lower back pain and realign your tired spine with the help of a trained professional. Whether prenatal or postpartum, a massage may be just what you need to relieve your pregnancy pangs.
- Reflexology: Another highly targeted type of massage. Reflexology is said to heal ailments in the organs by touching pressure points on the feet and hands.
- Swedish: Through a combination of rubbing and tapping muscles and joints, Swedish massage is a great way to relax as well as treat pain.
Are massages worth it?
Massages are a refreshing, restorative remedy for aches and pains of all kinds. In other words, they’re totally worth it! When performed by a trained professional, massages are a safe way to improve your health and wellness.
Why are massages good for you?
Massage therapists know how to reach painful, stiff muscles that are deep beneath the surface of the skin, which may be causing pain elsewhere in your body. Getting massaged can alleviate pain, improve circulation, lower stress, and increase feelings of happiness and ease.
Is a monthly massage healthy?
For most, a monthly massage is a great way to improve and maintain the health of your body and mind. If you have an injury, infection, or condition related to the bones or blood, make sure to talk to your doctor before booking your next appointment.
What happens to your body when you have a massage?
During a massage, your heart rate and blood pressure go down, your muscles relax, and your brain produces higher levels of dopamine and serotonin, all of which make you healthier and happier.
Why are you so tired after a massage?
Getting a massage increases the production of serotonin in your brain, which can be converted into melatonin—a hormone that makes you sleepy. And the soft lighting, lying down, and listening to peaceful music definitely creates an optimal nap time atmosphere.
What should you not do after a massage?
Avoid drinking caffeine and alcohol after a massage as you want to make sure to stay hydrated. You may also want to wait a moment before showering so that your skin can absorb all of the healing oils that your massage therapist curated just for you.
What should I do after a massage?
Following a massage, make sure to drink plenty of fluids and engage in light, low-level activity. This can help prolong the benefits of the increased circulation that massage creates. And if your massage therapist gives you homework, make sure to do it!
On Gina’s Platform, you can quickly and easily book an appointment with an expert massage therapist in your area. The professionals on our site have a wide variety of specialities, so whether you’re looking for pain relief or pampering, you’ve come to the right place.
Ready to book? The massage therapists on Gina’s Platform are here to get you in peak health!
Beauty Icon and Expert
Gina Rivera skyrocketed to success when the company she founded in 2007, Phenix Salon Suites, became the fastest-growing salon suite company in the beauty industry. With more than 300 locations nationally and international expansion occurring in the UK, Entrepreneur Magazine named Phenix Salon Suites a Top 500 Franchise list seven years running.