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10 ways massage can benefit you

Published: April 12, 2022

Many coaches, athletes, and sports medicine professionals…believe massage…benefits the body by improving blood flow, reducing muscle pressure and neurological excitability, and increasing a sense of well-being.’ [1]

In this blog I outline the way massage therapy may have a positive benefit on the body.

This stimulates and detoxifies the body

The Lymph system is the body’s own defence system against any toxins and or impurities. Massage therapy may assist with stimulating blood flow to the muscles, organs and tissues, in particular the lymphatic system which may then flush out toxins and impurities that are stored and improves health and digestion. [2]

Relieve pain

Massage therapy has been proposed for painful conditions. One research article draws a relationship between massage therapy and relieving the pain associated with certain cancers, low back pain, and neck pain. [3]

Massage therapy blocks out the nervous system pain and increases the rate of blood flow to the muscles. It can also upsurge mobility to the joints to help reduce pain with arthritis, migraines, pregnancy, and cancer.

Reduced stress

‘Massage may be useful adjunctive therapy for chronic musculoskeletal pain.’ [4] Massage therapy may calm the body and relax the mind, helping reduce stress. It is considered one mechanism is reducing cortisol levels as sustained high levels are considered detrimental to the body. Evidence suggests, however, the impact on cortisol levels is relatively minor. [5]

Preparation and Recovery

Many professional athletes receive massage therapy both before and after an event and in the lead-up to a major event. Whilst this is believed massage may help enhance recovery and prepare athletes for the next event, the evidence base appears sparse. The evidence available points to the psychological mechanisms around recovery. That being said, post-exercise massage has been shown to reduce the severity of muscle soreness, however, little positive impact muscle functional loss. [6]

Regulating body sugar levels

Massage therapy may help regulate blood sugar levels of people with and without diabetes. Lowered blood sugar levels may create greater mobility and elasticity in the body and help with anxiety and depression. One research article purported sports-massage had a positive effect on cardiovascular function and blood sugar for middle-aged women. It was believed sports-massage functioned as a passive exercise. [7]

Boost your immunity

Massage therapy may help boost our immunity and increase the body`s natural ability to protect itself and keep us healthy. One research article observed major immune findings for a subject group who received one month of massage therapy. This included a significant increase in Natural Killer Cell number. [8]

Increasing circulation

Massage may promote blood flow and stimulates the lymphatic system. Applied pressure stimulates circulation, which in turn may relieve pain. [1]

Massage helps reduce pain for long hours or sitting and driving.

The average Australian sits down 8-9 hours a day, either at a desk or behind the wheel causing the head to move forwards and the shoulders to round and pull forward. The upper lower back tends to become over-stretched and weak. Massage therapy can alleviate pain.[3]

Recover from injury faster

Massage therapy may help mobilise scar tissue associated with injury, thus creating more efficient movement, function and diversity of motion.

It feels wonderful

In addition to all these health benefits of massage, it just feels good. It is believed this is because it boosts endorphins, the same hormone associated with ‘runners high’.

If you have never had a professional massage, now is your time to try!


[1] Qais Gasibat, Wurida Suwehli, Sultan Zainal, Kuala Terengganu, Misurata, Libya, Determining the Benefits of Massage Mechanisms: A Review of Literature, Rehabilitation Sciences. Vol. 2, No. 3, 2017, pp. 58-67. Doi: 10.11648/ Received: April 26, 2017; Accepted: May 3, 2017; Published: May 27, 2017.

[2] Drouin J, Pfalzer L, Shim J, Kim S, Comparisons between Manual Lymph Drainage, Abdominal Massage, and Electrical Stimulation on Functional Constipation Outcomes: A Randomized Trial, Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(11), 3924;

Received: 19 April 2020 / Revised: 28 May 2020 / Accepted: 29 May 2020 / Published: 1 June 2020.

[3] Isomi M. Miake-Lye, Selene Mak, Jason Lee, Tana Luger, Stephanie L. Taylor, Roberta Shanman, Jessica M. Beroes-Severin, Paul G. Shekelle, Massage for Pain: An Evidence Map, The Journal of Alternative and Complementary MedicineVol. 25, No. 5, Published Online:9 May 2019,

[4] Plews-Ogan =M, Owens J, E, Goodman M, Wolfe P, Schorling J, Brief report: A pilot study evaluating mindfulness-based stress reduction and massage for the management of chronic pain, Journal of General Internal Medicine Volume 20, pages1136–1138(2005).

[5] Moyer C A, Seefeld L, Mann E, Jackley L M, Does massage therapy reduce

Cortisol? A comprehensive quantitative review, Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, Volume 15, Issue 1, January 2011, Pages 3-14.

[6] Weerapong P, Hume P A, Kolt G S, The Mechanisms of Massage and Effects on Performance, Muscle Recovery and Injury Prevention, published: 23 September 2012, Sports Medicine volume 35, pages235–256(2005).

[7] Yun S, Pack S, Shin M, Kim D, Jung H, the effect of sports massage on cardiovascular function, blood sugar and body composition for obese middle-aged women, Asian journal of beauty and cosmetology, Vol 7 (4), 2009.

[8] Ironson G et al., Massage Therapy is Associated with Enhancement of the Immune System's, Cytotoxic Capacity, International Journal of Neuroscience, Vol 84, 1996 – Issue 1-4.


About the Author:

Dr. Andrew Arnold is a Chiropractor and Remedial Massage Therapist at Cranbourne Family Chiropractic and Wellness Centre.