Can you actually relax the pain away?
Massages have a variety of health benefits but do they actually help people who are dealing with serious medical issues?
The benefits of massage are poorly understood by research but there is hope that it can help people who are dealing with various medical problems.
Below, I will show you how massage therapy can help people with migraines, premature babies, people who want to quit smoking, anorexia patients and cancer patients.
I want to stress that massage therapy isn’t considered a cure for these conditions, but that it can help people find some comfort.
Perhaps you will see how you can also experience natural healing with massage therapy.
Please keep in mind that this post is for informational purposes only and is not meant to replace professional medical advice, care, or diagnosis. Please read my full medical disclaimer here.
1. Massages can help reduce the occurrence of migraines
A migraine is more than just a headache. It is the nausea that makes it difficult to function, the light sensitivity that makes it impossible to look at a computer, the exhaustion and dizziness that can last for days after.
Migraines can be truly debilitating and even worse, they are random. I personally suffer from migraine headaches, and though I don’t get them often, I do worry about the days that I won’t be able to work or study.
Various things can trigger a migraine including but not limited to:
- poor diet
- poor sleep
There is some research that suggests that massages can help alleviate migraines by targeting poor sleep and stress. Researchers Lawler and Cameron found that migraine sufferers had reduced anxiety, heart rate, and the stress hormone during a massage. Even more, the migraine sufferers who got a massage not only experienced fewer migraines but also reported a better quality of sleep.
Though this was just a preliminary study, it provides hope that massages could be a good treatment option for migraines.back to menu ↑
2. Massages can help premature babies leave the hospital sooner
According to the CDC, about 1 in 10 babies are born premature. These little babies come into the world facing a multitude of challenges. The organs in their bodies just haven’t had the chance to develop as much as they should.
Premature babies tend to have problems with:
- the immune system
- the brain
- the heart
Nutrition and growth especially are a huge problems for premature babies. The womb provides a special environment for growth that is difficult to copy in the hospital. Any measure that can help a premature baby grow could improve that child’s quality of life.
Massage therapy is extremely helpful for preterm babies. According to the National Institute of Health, babies that receive massages tend to gain more weight and have a higher bone density. Even better, the parents of the child can learn massage therapy and it can deepen their bond with their child.back to menu ↑
3. Massages can help people quit smoking
- According to the CDC, smoking can harm nearly every organ in the body. Most people who smoke want to stop completely.
Quitting is hugely beneficial and can reduce the risks for several diseases including:
- lung cancer
- heart disease
- peripheral vascular disease
- coughing and wheezing
Despite this, smoking is notoriously difficult to quit. Some estimate that it can take between 8 to 11 attempts to quit smoking.
Some of the issues that people are quitting have to deal with are:
- feeling down
- weight gain
Massages can be extremely beneficial for people who want to quit smoking. Massages tend to reduce anxiety, reduce craving and withdrawal symptoms, improve the mood, and reduce the number of cigarettes smoked.
By helping people manage the withdrawal symptoms, massages can increase the chances that they will be able to successfully quit smoking.back to menu ↑
4. Massages can help people recover from anorexia
- Anorexia is a very dangerous and misunderstood mental condition. People with anorexia are obsessed with their weight and worry about gaining even a few pounds.
Anorexia distorts a person’s perception of their body making them think that they weigh more than they actually do.
They tend to diet and exercise so excessively that their weight drops to unhealthy levels. People with anorexia may also take diet pills and laxatives to lose weight.
Anorexia is truly devastating. According to the Mayo clinic, some of the complications of anorexia include:
- heart problems
- bone loss
- hormonal imbalance
- gastrointestinal problems
- kidney problems
Anorexia is truly a complex disorder. Many people believe that it is all about appearance or food but anorexia usually has complex emotional causes.
According to a research study, massages can help people cope with anorexia in a variety of ways. Massages tend to decrease stress and anxiety levels in people with anorexia and increase the hormones dopamine and serotonin.
Dopamine is a hormone that is associated with pleasure and serotonin is associated with feelings of well-being. After massage therapy, the anorexia patients also reported less body dissatisfaction.back to menu ↑
5. Massages can help cancer patients
- A cancer diagnosis can mean different things for different people. Sometimes cancer is mild and treatable; other times it is considered terminal.
Some people are able to take everything in stride while others find that they have a more difficult time coping.
One commonality among all cancer patients is that their life was altered in some way when they got their diagnosis.
Cancer patients have to deal with a variety of things as just a part of their treatment including:
- frequent doctor appointments
- more medication
- the side effects of the medication
- a change in appearance
- a change in appetite and the taste of food
- shots and needles
Emotional health and emotional support is extremely important for cancer patients because it can help them find some sort of comfort even when things seem to be falling apart.
One person that I personally have great respect for is Valerie Harper, an actress who was diagnosed with terminal cancer and given only a few months to live. She chose to enjoy the time that she had left and has continued to live for many years since (much longer than her initial prognosis.
Down below is an interview that she did with CBS news after the diagnosis. I highly encourage you to watch it!
==> Valerie Harper’s interview: https://youtu.be/TmGWHDBFOz0
Massages can help people deal with various problems from cancer. Some of these issues include:
With all of the medication and harsh treatments that cancer patients have to deal with, it is wonderful that they have a therapeutic treatment that focuses on pleasure and comfort.
When massage therapy works in conjunction with other treatments, it can really help improve the lives of people dealing with serious medical issues.
In this article, I showed how massage therapy can help with migraines, premature babies, smoking cessation, anorexia recovery, and cancer treatment.
My hope is that you can use this knowledge to help yourself and others.
Let me know in the comments if you or someone you know has had to deal with any of these issues. Did they try any alternative therapies? Did it help?