Massage is the scientific manipulation of the body soft tissues that involves kneading and manipulating soft tissues and muscles with the use of fingers, hands, knees, feet, or elbows. The popularity of massage for women over 50 has increased due to its numerous health benefits.
Here are 8 science-backed health benefits of massage for women over 50:
1. Relieves Lower-back Pain
A study has shown that 8 of every 10 American women experience back pain after the age of 50. Massage is now being recommended by surgeons and physicians to their patients as a natural means to help relieve back pain symptoms. It’s also effective in decreasing related depression and anxiety.
Massage boosts blood flow, blocks pain receptors in the muscle tissues, and then signals the brain to calm down the body. Having a weekly massage can significantly decrease back stiffness.
2. Reduces the Pain of Arthritis
Stress can take a heavy toll on our joints, connective tissues, and muscles. Coupled with daily physical activities, this can turn into severe aches and pains. In 2010 and 2012 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that 22.7% of American adults were annually diagnosed with different forms of arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis.
In other research by Yale University, they found that Swedish massage, in particular, considerably alleviates knee pain caused by osteoarthritis. In another study published in the Journal of Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice in 2012, it was shown that massage showed encouraging results in treating rheumatoid arthritis. It effectively lowered pain in patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis in their hands and arms.
3. Increases Range of Motion
Range of motion is defined as how far you can stretch or move a part of your body such as a joint or muscle A 2002 study showed that massage greatly improved the range of motion in adults by increasing flexion performance and alleviating pain in the trunk.
4. Lowers Blood Pressure
High blood pressure (HBP) is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease and at least 29% of American adults have high blood pressure. Swedish massage is particularly effective in reducing diastolic and systolic blood pressure. It decreases blood pressure by slowing down the stress response. Another 2013 study published in the NIH revealed that massage will generally reduce blood pressure for about 72 hours. Having a deep massage can lower heart rate and blood pressure by improving oxygen intake and reducing hypertension.
5. Improves Quality of Life in Older Adults
By 2056, the population of Americans Adults that are over 50 years will be larger than those under age 18. When massage therapy is implemented it reduces depression and anxiety and boosts vitality and positive well-being in older adults.
6. Alleviates Joint and Muscle Pain
A study conducted by the Journal of Physical Therapy Science in 2015 showed that massage greatly reduces or totally eliminates pain in people over 50. Massage therapy softens tissues, alleviates muscular tightness, and reduces joint swelling.
7. Strengthened immunity
Our bodies need a strong immune system to deal with disease and infections. Often immunity decreases in older adults during the flu season. A study published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine showed that adults over 50 years who were treated with Swedish massage had considerably higher blood protein levels that aid in protecting the body against viral infections and tumors. It helps the body release illness-fighting white blood cells to combat infection-causing viruses and bacteria, the common cold and promotes overall wellness.
8. Increases Blood Circulation
Massage therapy helps essential amounts of oxygenated blood flow through the body more easily. It also helps move toxins away from the muscles and allows injuries to heal faster. A head massage can even increase blood circulation in the scalp so hair can grow faster.
Massage offers a wide range of health benefits that are proven and backed by science. It’s relaxing, decreases stress, relieves pain, and improves overall health. Older women who have regular massages will find that it improves their fitness, flexibility, and boosts immunity. There are many massage modalities to choose from depending on your preferences. However, make sure to consult your physician to find out what type of massage is best for you.
What benefits of massage have you found? Please leave a comment below.