According to a survey sponsored by the Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals (ABMP) the top two reasons people seek massage are: 1) relaxation and restoration and 2) relief from pain or muscle soreness.

Everyone can use a little relaxation, and who doesn't have that sore neck/shoulder muscle, but the truth is that there are numerous benefits of massage that you probably don't even know about.

There isn't a man, woman or child that couldn't benefit from healing touch.

How many benefits listed below could you use?:

Cardiovascular System:

  • Dilates blood vessels

  • Improves blood circulation

  • Decreases blood pressure

  • Creates hyperemia

  • Stimulates release of acetylcholine and histamine for sustained vasodilation

  • Replenishes nutritive materials

  • Promotes rapid removal of waste products

  • Reduces ischemia

  • Reduces heart rate

  • Lowers pulse rate

  • Increases stroke volume

  • Increases red blood cell (RBC) count

  • Increases oxygen saturation in blood

  • Increases white blood cell (WBC) count

  • Enhances the adhesion of migrating WBCs

  • Increases platelet count

Lymphatic / Immune Systems:

  • Promotes lymph circulation

  • Reduces lymphedema

  • Decreases the circumference of an area affected with lymphedema

  • Decreases weight in patients with lymphedema

  • Increases lymphocyte count

  • Increases the number and function of natural killer cells (a type of WBC)

Skin and Related Structures:

  • Increases skin temperature

  • Improves skin condition

  • Stimulates sebaceous glands

  • Stimulates sudoriferous glands

  • Improves some skin pathologies

  • Reduces superficial keloid formation

Nervous and Endocrine Systems:

  • Reduces stress

  • Reduces anxiety

  • Promotes relaxation

  • Decreases beta wave activity

  • Increase delta wave activity

  • Increase in alpha waves

  • Increase in dopamine levels

  • Increases serotonin levels

  • Reduces cortisol levels

  • Reduces norepinephrine levels

  • Reduces epinephrine levels

  • Reduces feeling of depression

  • Decreases pain

  • Reduces analgesic use

  • Activates sensory receptors

  • Faster and more elaborate development of the hippocampal region of the brain (related to superior memory performance)

  • Increases vagal nerve activity

  • Right frontal EEG activation shifted to left frontal EEG activation

  • Decreases H-amplitude levels during massage

 Muscular System:

  • Relieves musclular tension and spasms

  • Relaxes muscles

  • Reduces muscle soreness and fatigue 

  • Increase range of motion

  • Increases flexibility

  • Lengthens muscles

  • Reduces Trigger Point formation

  • Manually separates muscle fibers

  • Improves performance (balance and posture)

  • Improves motor skills

  • Tones weak muscles

  • Reduces creatine kinase activity in the blood

  • Improves muscular nutrition

  • Decreases electromyography (EMG) readings

Connective Tissues:

  • Reduces keloid formation

  • Reduces excessive scar formation

  • Decreases adhesion formation

  • Releases fascial restrictions

  • Increases mineral retention in bone

  • Promotes fracture healing

  • Improves connective tissue healing

  • Reduces surface dimpling of cellulite

Respiratory System:

  • Reduces respiration rate

  • Strengthens respiratory muscles

  • Decreases the sensation of dyspnea

  • Decreases asthma attacks

  • Reduces laryngeal tension

  • Increases fluid discharge from the lungs

  • Improves pulmonary functions by:

  • Increased vital capacity

  • Increased forced vital capacity

  • Increased forced expiratory volume

  • Increased forced expiratory flow

  • Improved peak expiratory flow

Digestive System:

  • Promotes evacuation of the colon

  • Relieves constipation

  • Relieves colic and intestinal gas

  • Stimulates digestion

Miscellaneous Effects:

  • Increases urine output

  • Promotes the excretion of nitrogen, inorganic phosphorus, and sodium chloride in urine

  • Reduces fatigue and increases vigor

  • Improves sleep patterns

  • Reduces job related and post-traumatic stress

  • Improves mood

  • Decreases feeling of anger

  • Improves body image

  • Improves self-esteem

  • Promotes communication and expression

  • Improves lifestyle habits

  • Increases physical well being

  • Reduces touch aversion and touch sensitivity

  • Increases academic performance

  • Increases mental alertness

  • Satisfies emotional needs

Above listed benefits were taken from Massage Therapy - Principles and Practice, Second Edition, by Susan G. Salvo