Massages have a lot to offer the world of health and fitness, from muscle relief to improved circulation. However, even though massage is common, there is still much about it that the general population doesn’t know. To help get the most out of the benefits of massage, we’ve compiled these facts you didn’t know about massage.
Massage Is Thousands of Years Old
The art of massage has been around for approximately 5,000 years. It emerged from the ancient Indian medical tradition of Ayurveda. From here, it spread, and each culture added something to it. The ancient Egyptians used essential oils. Ancient Greeks used massage for athletes. Ancient Japanese practitioners developed the art that would later become Shiatsu. And in the early 1800s, Dr. Per Henrik Ling developed the Swedish massage.
Massage Bolsters Immune System Health
When we’re stressed, the body produces a hormone called cortisol that reduces the number of antigen-fighting lymphocytes in the body. In other words, stress hampers our immune system, making it harder to fight off illness. Massage helps reduce cortisol and keep the blood moving, bringing new white blood cells in.
Massage and Wine Don’t Go Together
A glass of wine may seem like the perfect addition to a massage session. However, one fact you may not know about massage is that the things that make it so beneficial—namely the relaxation and increased circulation—can cause alcohol to have a more profound effect on the body. Drinking alcohol with massage can cause you to get more drunk.
Along with this, massage and alcohol both cause the body to become dehydrated more quickly. This can lead to unpleasant effects like a hangover or body pain.
Massage Can Also Cause Soreness
Because people typically get a massage to relieve muscle pain, they are often surprised to find themselves sore in the day’s following massage. But the causes of post-massage soreness are not the same as the muscle aches you likely walked into the massage parlor to alleviate. These aches are similar to the delayed onset muscle soreness and usually go away on their own.
Massage Improves Focus
Massage doesn’t only help the body go into a state of relaxation. Along with the focus-improving benefits of decreasing stress, massage helps improve brain activity. When we massage muscles, they release their tension, improving circulation in these areas. Improving circulation by massaging the neck and shoulders helps increase blood flow to the brain. This helps improve both focus and memory.