Massage is the manipulation of soft tissues in the body. Massage techniques are commonly applied with hands, fingers, elbows, knees, forearms, feet, or a device. The purpose of massage is generally for the treatment of body stress or pain. A person who was professionally trained to give massages was traditionally known as a masseur (male) or a masseuse (female), but those titles are outmoded, and carry some negative connotations.
One of the immediate benefits of massage is a feeling of deep relaxation and calm. This occurs because massage prompts the release of endorphins – the brain chemicals (neurotransmitters) that produce feelings of wellbeing.
Levels of stress hormones, such as adrenalin, cortisol and norepinephrine, are also reduced. Studies indicate that high levels of stress hormones impair the immune system.
Some of the physical benefits of massage and myotherapy include:
- Reduced muscle tension
- Improved circulation
- Stimulation of the lymphatic system
- Reduction of stress hormones
- Increased joint mobility and flexibility
- Improved skin tone
- Improved recovery of soft tissue injuries
- Heightened mental alertness
- Reduced anxiety and depression.