July 26, 2019 by Jordan Nunziato
From an early age, we learn that the touch of a hand can ease pain.
The healing power of a well-placed hand is so apparent that just about every culture in history has used massage to relieve pain. Massage faded into the background with the arrival of modern medicine, but a growing number of people are turning (or returning) to hands-on relief.
Massage seems to ease pain in several different ways. For starters, it can increase blood flow to sore, stiff joints and muscles, which are warmed by the extra circulation. Organs can also benefit from massage, as they share neurological pain pathways with muscles, bones, and nerves.
Massage not only helps to heal physical pain, but pain associated with stress, anxiety, and depression.
One of the things about massage that helps pain is that it goes down to the heart of where people feel their pain. There is an overall sense of well-being one can get from the massage approach. And the stress responses in the body associated with pain, such as elevated cortisol, are reduced through massage.
Perhaps one of the reasons massage reduces depression and anxiety: it’s relaxing. While not proven as well as you might think, it is a pretty safe bet, and the idea is further supported by evidence that massage therapy may reduce blood pressure and helps people to sleep, even when they are under the unusual stresses of hospital care.
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