The sense of touch is the first to develop in humans at about 8 weeks into the gestation period. Touch stimulates the brain to release endorphins. Blood pressure and heart rate can be reduced by a touch.
Massage is one of the oldest medical care practices
References to massage have been discovered in ancient Chinese medical texts over 4000 years old. In Western health care, massage has been in use since at least the time of Hippocrates. In the 4th century BCE Hippocrates (who is considered ‘the father of medicine’) wrote:
“The physician must be acquainted with many things and assuredly with rubbing”
Touch is vitally important for human development
People start developing their sense of touch in the womb at about 8 weeks in the gestation period. As such it is the first of our senses to develop.
Many maternity clinics now promote and practice skin-to-skin contact with the mother within the first hour of a baby’s life.
Infant massage has several benefits for babies including:
- Improving sleep patterns
- Improve digestion
- Reducing fussiness
- Improving neurological function
- Increasing weight gain for premature and full-term babies
Massage can help in surprising and unexpected ways
There are plenty of obvious benefits to massage. It helps to relieve and recover sore muscles, it alleviates stress and lowers blood pressure… but there are also some less-commonly known benefits.
- improve lung function in young asthma patients,
- reduce psycho-emotional distress in people suffering from inflammatory bowel disease,
- improve grip strength in people with arthritis.
- And it may enhance immune system functioning.
Massage is great for office workers
There is evidence to support the idea that workplace-based massage therapy can lower strain and blood pressure in office workers.
Given the great amount of stress on employers, and back strain from hours of sitting at a desk, it’s no wonder that workplace-based massage is suggested to enhance productivity and reduce absenteeism.
70% of hospital patients are willing to pay for massage
A 2017 study conducted on US hospital inpatients aged 19-95 found that 82% believed that massage was among the most useful complementary medicines, and 70% were willing to pay for massage to complement their treatment.
Participants cited relaxation (88%) improved well-being (86%) and overall satisfaction with their hospital stay (85%) as reasons for receiving complementary and alternative medicines.