Every guest who visits Mountain Trek enjoys the complimentary massages that are offered in the evenings but most would say they're part of the program so as to help people relax and ease sore muscles from snowshoeing all day. While that's definitely a key reason why we include Swedish massages as part of our all-inclusive retreat package, there are many other benefits to massage therapy that you may not know about.
Here are five surprising health benefits of massage therapy:
It helps your body release toxins
Your body is designed to flush harmful chemicals, viruses and other toxins via the kidneys, liver, lungs, intestines, skin and lymphatic system. We can help it with this task by drinking lots of water, eating healthy foods, doing exercise, and, yes, getting a massage! A massage helps drain toxins through the lymphatic system, which clears your body of cellular waste.
It lowers cortisol levels
Human touch is a powerful tool. By physically interacting with another person, you are socially validated and that has physiological impacts: it lowers your levels of cortisol (stress hormone) and releases dopamine. If you don't have the opportunity for daily physical interaction with a loved one in the form of a hug for example, the skin-on-skin contact offered by a massage therapist is the next best thing.
It boosts immunity
In 2010 a study was published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine that determined the effects of a single session of Swedish massage on neuroendocrine and immune function. It was recorded that Swedish Massage Therapy increased oxytocin levels within participants, which helped decrease hypothalamic, pituitary & adrenal activity and enhanced immune function. The authors also concluded that massage boosts patients' white blood cell count, which help defend the body against disease.
It soothes anxiety and depression
As mentioned above, human touch in a safe, friendly environment has positive physiological impacts. Not only does it lower cortisol levels but it can ease negative moods. According to a 2005 study published in the International Journal of Neuroscience,women diagnosed with breast cancer who received massage therapy three times a week reported being less angry and less depressed.
It improves sleep
Not only does massage encourage relaxation but it can also help lead to a restful sleep. That's why we prefer to offer our Swedish massages in the evenings at Mountain Trek – by easing muscle pain and encouraging your body to relax, you're then set up for a deep, restorative sleep. [fbcomments]