Could massage be as effective as a painkiller?
I have lost count of the amount of clients that have said to me over the years "if only you could get massage on prescription through the National Health Service".
I came across some interesting information supporting this theory. Canadian researchers from the Buck Institute for research on ageing at McMaster University in Ontario have found that massage reduces inflammation deep inside muscle cells. It is thought that it uses the same anti-inflammatory mechanism as painkillers.
Many people think of a massage as an indulgent treat, but research suggests that you could be missing out on a hugely beneficial and scientifically proven health tonic.
'The potential benefits of massage could be useful for those suffering from musculoskeletal injuries and people with chronic inflammatory disease" Mark Tarnopolsky MD, PhD from the department of paediatrics and medicine.
An hours massage is almost guaranteed to make you relax, but according to the American Massage Therapy Association, certain types of massage can decrease heart rate, blood pressure and cortisol levels in as little as 15 minutes.
Researchers at the Group Health Centre for Health Studies in Seattle, Washington have found that massage works better than common treatments such as Acupuncture and Chiropractic in the relief of lower back pain. It could be because massage reduces the stress hormone cortisol while boosting the feel good hormones serotonin and dopamine. These will slow the heart rate, reduce blood pressure and block the nervous system's pain receptors.
A single 45 minute massage has been shown to produce changes in the immune system and hormonal system according to researchers from the Cedars Sinai Medical Center in the US. It was found that massage could decrease arginine vasopressin, a hormone that contributes to aggressive behaviour, small decrease in the stress hormone cortisol and increase levels of lymphocytes, cells that help the immune system defend the body.