While many people look forward to the holidays for spending time with family and the overall festive fun it brings, it is also one of the most stressful times of year overall. Dr. Nancy Babbitt from the Creekside Medical Clinic says that tension and stress may be best relieved with a nice massage.
“Massage is generally considered to be part of the world of complementary and alternative medicine, but more and more there are studies showing many medical benefits to massage therapy,” Babbitt told Rapid City, SD, Fox affiliate KEVN. “Especially in the area of reducing stress, reducing musculoskeletal pain, and reducing muscle tension. One of the most common reasons why I refer patients for massage therapy is for tension headaches.”
Babbitt says those tension headaches usually start in the shoulder or neck and work their way up until they sit right behind the eyes to cause the headache. While they can be caused due to poor neck posture at night, they are also caused when someone is stressed for long periods of time, causing them to hunch up their shoulders.
About 92% of consumers responding to a survey agreed that massages are effective in reducing pain, which Babbitt concurred.
“Massage therapy works very well and a good massage therapist will know how to find and use the right amount of pressure treating the area of the neck and shoulder strain,” she said. “They do have to go through special licensing and be certified. And it’s important to make sure that your massage therapist is certified.”
Massages usually last for 30 to 60 minutes, usually following a medical questionnaire with a licensed massage therapist. They feature quiet and relaxing environments, and many aspects of a massage can be tailored to fit the consumer’s comfort level.
Recent studies have found that massage therapy is useful beyond just typical relaxation as well. In fact, it is often used as a preventative treatment for ailments or a rehabilitative treatment for injury.
Reliance on painkillers for back pain, for example, is proven to be reduced by 36% of more, and massages are more effective than both spinal modification and acupuncture. The therapy may also be used to manage headaches, promote better sleep, decrease instances of depression and anxiety, and decrease swelling in problem areas.
Overall, studies in recent years have proven the efficacy of massage therapy in those suffering from chronic pain, and those who simply lead an active lifestyle.