There are myths and facts about the benefits and effects of massage. After all, many studies and researches rely on anecdotal accounts which can be inconsistent and unreliable. It’s difficult to design a quantitative experiment that shows the benefits of having a massage. The methodological challenges make it difficult to prove if massage indeed affects our overall wellbeing and health.
About relaxation and stress relief
Whether there’s scientific evidence or not, most of us agree that massage helps us relax and takes away some of our stress and worries. Aside from the massage itself, perhaps it’s a combination of the ambiance in the massage room, the friendliness and overall sociability of the masseuse and the staff and the isolation from the busy world. After a long day or week of work, more and more people get a massage to leave the day behind and perhaps start fresh for the next day or week.
Whether it’s a traditional Thai massage, foot reflexology, aromatherapy or a facial massage, stepping away from the busy atmosphere and treating yourself with a good massage can do wonders for your physical and mental states. Many times we just need a break so that we can consolidate everything that is happening and remind ourselves that everything shall pass and there’s always another day coming.
About treatment and performance enhancement
Aside from relaxation and stress relief, we also often associate massage with treatment (i.e. massage therapy) and performance enhancement (e.g. sports massage). Several studies have already been conducted to try to establish whether massage can indeed help in healing and improvement.
For example, some people have found some complementary methods to standard cancer treatment safe and helpful. These people have tried massage therapy, aromatherapy, acupuncture, meditation and other methods (source: American Cancer Society). However, everyone should be careful with these alternative and complementary therapies when it comes to fraud and exaggerated claims.
Performance enhancement is also associated with massage therapy. For instance, sports massage is often used to help athletes prepare for activities, prevent injuries and aid in healing from injuries. This kind of massage should be done by qualified professionals because of the need of specialised knowledge about anatomy, sports and biomechanics.
In summary and in conclusion, massage can help us relax and take a break from this busy and fast-paced life. We can benefit from it physically and mentally because of that temporary slowdown and the relaxing massage. But for medical treatment and sports performance enhancement, it could be a separate field and you need competent medical advice before proceeding.