“The Issues are in the Tissues”: 11 Benefits of Massage Therapy
One of my favorite yoga teachers often like to tell her classes that we practice yoga not just to feel more comfortable and at ease in our bodies, but in our minds as well. Yoga, she would say, makes us stronger and more flexible on both a physical level as well as a mental one. And when the mind and body are both strong and at ease, it becomes easier to cultivate a nourishing spiritual life. This is why many yoga traditions emphasize the idea that the mind-body practice of asanas (physical movements of the body along with intentional breathing), is traditionally thought of as preparation for deeper states of well-being found through sitting meditation or ‘raja yoga’.
She liked to tell us that “the issues are in the tissues”. Although I’m not sure if she was the originator of this quote, it was a statement that I’ve always held close to my heart. As a practitioner of acupuncture and herbal medicine, it is crystal clear to me just how inextricable and interwoven the mind-body connection is for healing and optimal wellness.
Acupuncture and herbal medicinal formulas are the primary modalities that I’ve been trained to use to promote balance of the body’s physiological, biochemical and energetic systems. But these aren’t the only pathways towards optimal mind-body balance.
Massage therapy is a powerful modality that I’ve also turned to frequently over the years to help me maintain and improve health. Personally, I often look to massage therapy when I feel my shoulder’s rotator cuff starting to feel restricted and in need of greater mobility. Or when I have physical aches and pains. Or when I feel in need of a ‘reset’- physically or mentally- and just want to feel more comfortable in my body and mind.
To highlight the many therapeutic benefits of massage therapy, I’ve created my own list here. 11 Important benefits of Massage Therapy:
- Stress and Anxiety relief
- Better sleep
- Pain reduction (especially Chronic Pain)
- Range of Motion and Mobility enhancement
- Toxin release
- Immune system benefits
- Energy increase (reduces fatigue)
- Workout-related recovery
- Circulation and Lymph improvement
- Post-surgical recovery (helps expedite the healing process after surgery)
- That radiant ‘Glow’ (after a massage)
Special thanks to The Cleveland Clinic, Penn Medicine and the Mayo Clinic for some helpful reminders about the many benefits of massage therapy. See links below to learn more about additional benefits of massage therapy not included in the list above.