6 Surprising Benefits of Massage

Good news! Experts explain the reasons you can stop making excuses for why you deserve a rub down.

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Massage can help cut down on migraines.

Massage can help cut down on migraines.Pixland/Thinkstock
If you're frequently tortured by migraine pain, you might consider a massage. Researchers at the University of Auckland found that those who suffered from debilitating headaches reported fewer migraines and more restful sleep after receiving massage therapy for several weeks. The American Massage Therapy Association has a handy tool to help find an MT near you.

Massage can help reduce pain from exercise.

Massage can help reduce pain from exercise.Photodisc/Thinkstock
Research indicates that massage therapy can reduce inflammation of skeletal muscle damaged through exercise. A study by the Buck Institute for Research on Aging and McMaster University in Ontario, Canada found evidence that massage therapy may provide relief from inflammation (which is often the reason behind post-workout aches and pains), similar to how anti-inflammatory medication helps swelling go down.

Massage can make you look younger.

Massage can make you look younger.iStockphoto/Thinkstock
Massages stimulate blood flow, which is why regular gentle rubbing and kneading might keep your face looking healthy and radiant. Skin care expert Kimara Ahnert told Women's Health that massage plumps slack skin, encourages lymphatic drainage (moves toxins out of cells so nutrients can travel in), and adds vitality to a dull complexion.

Massage can help beat PMS.

Massage can help beat PMS.Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock
A massage could banish mood swings, bloating, headaches, weight gain, and other PMS symptoms, according to a study by the Touch Research Institute and University of Miami Medical School. Researchers there found that regular massage sessions lessened symptoms of premenstrual syndrome in women age 19 to 45.

Massage benefits chronic pain relief.

Massage benefits chronic pain relief.iStockphoto/Thinkstock
Sufferers of chronic soft tissue pain (arthritis, fibromyalgia, disc problems, degenerative joints) can find relief after only a few massage therapy sessions, says Nancy M. Porambo, licensed massage therapist with the American Massage Therapy Association. "My personal experience working with clients suffering from [this type of pain] has been extremely positive," she says. "People ... are surprised when they find relief through application of specific massage therapy techniques."

Massage can help treat side effects of cancer.

Massage can help treat side effects of cancer.iStockphoto/Thinkstock
Researchers in Boston found that patients with metastic cancer reported better sleep, less pain, and overall better quality of life after receiving massage therapy. Similarly, a 2004 study at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City found that massage therapy (Swedish, light touch, and foot massage) reduced symptoms like pain, nausea, fatigue, depression, and stress in cancer patients.

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