Massage can relieve tension in your muscles, and most people use it for relaxation, relief of stress and anxiety, or to reduce muscle soreness. Massage can also cause your body to release natural painkillers, and it may boost your immune system.
Some studies have found it helpful for:
Massage reduces anxiety by soothing the nervous system, quieting the mind and easing tension in the body.
Pain was decreased in people with fibromyalgia, migraines and recent surgery. Back pain also might be relieved by massage.
Massage during labor appears to lessen stress and anxiety, relax muscles and reduce pain. Regular massages while pregnant help to reduce pain and stress.
Massage encouraged weight gain in premature babies and reduced the number of days they stayed in the hospital.
Some athletes receive massages after exercise, especially to the muscles they use most in their sport or activity. A massage will help increase blood flow to your muscles and will reduce muscle soreness after you exercise.
People with HIV who participated in massage studies showed an increased number of natural killer cells, which are thought to defend the body from viral and cancer cells. The reduction of stress being carried by the body allows the body to build up it's natural defenses.
Because massage involves direct contact with another person through touch, it can make you feel cared for. That special attention can improve self-image in people with physical disabilities and terminal illnesses. And using touch to convey caring can help children with severe physical disabilities.