Massage is the scientific manipulation of the body soft tissues. It is a procedure that involves kneading, rubbing, pressing, stroking, and manipulating soft tissues and muscles with the use of fingers, hands, knees, feet, or elbows. The popularity of massages among everyone, including women over 50 years is gradually increasing due to its several research-backed benefits of improving physical health and emotional well beings.
Here are 8 science-backed health benefits of massage for women over 50:
1. Helps Relieve Low-back Pain
If you are over 50 years and really want to manage your low-back pain, then you must find a way to engage in massage therapy. A study has shown that 8 of every 10 American women experience back pains the moment they are over 50. Other than drugs and pills, massage is now being recommended by surgeons and physicians to their patients as a natural means to relieve low-back pain and generally improve back pain symptoms. Another study conducted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 2011 showed that massage is very effective in reducing low back pain as well as decreasing related depression and anxiety.
According to part of a study published by the Yale Prevention Research Center in 2006, it was shown that massage can effectively treat severe back pain in 401 patients by improving back function. It boosts blood flow, blocks pain receptors in the muscle tissues, and then signals the brain to calm down the body. Having a weekly or bi-weekly massage can help to decrease back stiffness.
2. Reduces Pain of Osteoarthritis
Our joints, connective tissues, and muscles pay a heavy toll whenever the stress level rises. Coupled with our stressful daily activities, we tend to get some serious aches and pain that require attention. According to a survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention between 2010 and 2012 shows that about 22.7% of American adults were annually diagnosed with different forms of arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis.
A study published by the NIH in 2015 has linked massage to be very helpful in reducing pains and stiffness plus improving the overall function of the joints. In another research published by the NIH in 2012 shows that Swedish massage, in particular, can considerably alleviate pain caused by osteoarthritis of the knee. In another study published in the Journal of Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice in 2012, it was shown that massage can give encouraging results in treating rheumatoid arthritis. It effectively lowers pain in patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis in their hand and arms. Generally, massage reduces stress hormones and boosts pain-killing hormones.
3. Increases Range of Motion
In a simple term, range of motion can be defined as a joint’s full movement potential. A 2002 study shows that massage can greatly improve the range of motion in adults by increasing flexion performance and alleviating pain in the trunk. Another study published by NIH in 2008 also shows the effectiveness of massage in increasing range of motion, while relieving sciatica symptoms and low-back pain in women over 50.
4. Lowers Blood Pressure
High blood pressure (HBP) is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that about 29% of American adults (of course, women inclusive) have high blood pressure. On the preventive side, a 2014 study published in the Cardiovascular Nursing Journal showed that Swedish massage is particularly highly 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 also shows that massage can generally reduce blood pressure for about 72 hours. Having a deep massage can lower heart rate and blood pressure by improving oxygen intake to decrease the renin-angiotensin pathway – a path related to blood pressure.
5. Improves Quality of Life in Older Adults
A recent survey conducted by Health line shows that by 2056, the population of Americans Adults that are over 50 years will be larger than the population under age 18. And a study published by NIH shows that if massage therapy is implemented, it will provide clinical benefits of reducing depression and anxiety, stress perception, boosting 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 can greatly reduce or totally eliminate pain in women over 50 (men include). The study also shows massage to be efficient at softening tissues, alleviating muscular tightness, and reducing joint swells – all these are common in older adults. In the study, 29 patients with shoulder strains and injuries were treated using soft tissue massage and there were great improvements in the muscle repairs. The massage therapy improves active knee flexion, stops muscle pains by alleviating swelling and by stopping the release of prostaglandins and bradykinins from inflammatory white blood cells.
7. Strengthened immunity
Our bodies need a strong immune system to deal with different foreign body attacks and infections. Particularly for older adults, their level of immunity decreases during the flu season. A study published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine shows that adults over 50 years that are treated with Swedish massage had considerably higher blood protein levels which function in protecting the body against viral infections and tumors. Massage therapy can prove to be very effective in increasing the body’s immune system. It can aid the body to release illness-fighting white blood cells to combat infection-causing virus and bacteria, common cold, and to promote overall wellness.
8. Increases Blood Circulation
If anyone, regardless of their age can engage in a regular massage, they should expect to have improved blood circulation. Massage therapy helps the blood to smoothly convey the essential amounts of oxygenated blood all over the body at an enhanced speed. Likewise, it helps to move toxin substances away from the muscles, which boosts the healing from muscle tension or injury. For instance, a head massage can help to increase blood circulation in the scalp and also nourish it, thus boosting hair growth and even reducing grey hair.
Massage can offer you wide-ranging health benefits that are proven and science-backed. From helping to relax and decrease stress to pain alleviation and health improvement in general. As a woman over 50, undergoing massage regularly will help your fitness performance and also boost your immune system. You can select the one that suits you from the over 100 types of massages available. However, it is always advisable you consult a physician before you engage in any routines.
What benefits of massage have you found? Please leave a comment below.