It’s the number one result when searching for ‘massages’ on Google: “Are massages good for you?” Somewhere along the way between the Dark Ages and the era of paying some stranger £50 to rub your back for a bit (now), the seeds of doubt were sewn around the previously unquestioned art of massage.
As a site that has unabashedly endorsed massages since day-dot (see here and here), we thought it’s about time we follow through with our claims. After all, if we don’t have credibility. what do we actually have?
Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, we’ve done our research and are ready to put to rest, once and for all, whether massages are actually good for your health or are just an overpriced excuse to be touched by a stranger…
The Prosecution (The case against massages)
Okay, before the proceedings begin it should be stated, for the record, that the internet is currently in the midst of its Wild West phase (or the toddler phase). Building a case using internet sources is like trying to build a snowman with a hammer. It can be done but with little to no tact and you might just accidentally achieve what you set out to do.
Anyway, after a thorough wade through the abhorrent Meninist blogs that detail the evils of a female-led industry, a case was built against the current practice of massage.
As Live Strong report, “massage isn’t an appropriate treatment for everyone, and in rare cases, may cause negative side effects”. The side effects, as corroborated by this Yahoo piece, involve long-stretches of fatigue that can occur up to 48 hours after massage. This isn’t just tiredness, “the massage may have over-stimulated your neurological system, creating a stress-induced fatigue” – now that’s ironic.
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The Defence (The case for massages)
Maybe up until this point you had never doubted for a second the restorative, meditative, relaxing benefits of massage. Fortunately for you, as opposed to the prosecution, The Defence has science to endorse their case, not some half-baked Yahoo testimonial.
In 2008, a study took place that observed 263 volunteers after a 45-60 minute massage. What was observed was a clear-cut blood pressure drop of 10 mg Hg and a decrease by10 beats a minute in heart-rates. What was also observed was “reductions in salivary and urinary levels of the stress hormone cortisol”, report MindBodyGreen. While it’d be unwise to use massage as substitute treatment to prescribed stress medication, it is a far cry from a ‘dangerous’ practice.
Furthermore, just to hammer the final nail in the prosecutions case, thousands of sportsmen and women will attest to the rehabilitative powers of massage. A study published in the Journal Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, showed that “if MT [massage therapy] treatment is implemented after EMI [exercise-induced muscle injury], increased local blood flow may hasten the inflammatory response by reducing the time course of neutrophil infiltration and activation, thereby protecting against neutrophil-mediated tissue damage.”
So there you have it, ladies and gentlemen. A (partially) scholarly exploration of the benefits of massage. Maybe this was more of an enlightening about the partisan nature of the internet but either way, if you were looking for some justification for the amount of massages you get – you can take this to the bank.