Do you feel tired and sluggish come mid-afternoon? Most people who do immediately resort to a cup of coffee for an instant pick-me-up. While caffeine is a powerful stimulant that will certainly do the trick, it only offers temporary relief. You will likely experience a "crash" with even greater levels of tiredness later. This isn't the best way to get through your daily routine. In fact, studies have shown that a cup of coffee first thing in the morning can spike cortisol levels and blunt energy-boosting efforts -- not the type of effect you want when you're trying to be productive. But can Massage Therapy boost energy levels?
We know all about traditional ways to boost energy. There's a wealth of studies that conclude healthy eating can keep us clearer in mind, or that moving more can put us in an optimal energy zone. While increased exercise and consuming foods like peanuts and beef jerky are viable solutions to energy drain, they don't always take into account individuals with food allergies (nuts, seeds, or gluten, for example) or mobility issues.
A more effective solution to your fatigue may be realized through massage therapy. Throughout my time in the massage industry, I've found there are several ailments for which massage is the unconventional cure, including fatigue.
How massage therapy can help
To better understand the link between massage therapy and the body's energy levels, you must first look at the lymph system. This system is responsible for moving blood throughout the body and flushing away toxins, bacteria and other unwanted waste. It may sound stomach-churning, but our bodies contain a plethora of microscopic invaders and toxins. The good news is these toxins are rarely cause for concern. But the bad news is they can suppress the immune system and sap the body's energy levels.
Whether it's a light-tissue sports massage or deep-tissue Swedish massage, this centuries-old practice will restore order to your lymph system. If you have ever experienced a massage, you may recall a feeling of having to visit the restroom afterward. This is because massage therapy stimulates the lymph system, flushing toxins and waste from the body. Natural oils and other massage accessories can also help enhance this phenomenon. Once the impurities are expunged, you will naturally feel healthier and more energetic.
In that case you might wonder, how many massage sessions does it take to reap the benefits of increased energy?
While each and every client is different, most people report a noticeable improvement in their energy levels after just a single session. Many patients begin to feel more energetic within hours of having a massage performed, including those who suffer depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues.
A meta-analysis study published in 2010 by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health concluded that massage may also help reduce depression. Researchers considered results from 17 seperate clinical trials. One of these trials found that brief twice-weekly yoga and massage sessions over a period of 12 weeks helped alleviate depression and anxiety in pregnant women.
Tips to boost your energy levels
A few simple health tweaks can help make each massage therapy session even more effective. Drinking plenty of water before a massage will improve upon the energy-boosting benefits. In fact, most massage therapists recommend their clients drink a full glass of water beforehand, as this further promotes the flushing of toxins and waste from the body. It's also helpful that clients communicate with their massage therapist regarding what initially motivated them to get a massage. Letting a therapist know that increasing energy levels is a priority will allow them to target specific areas to help stimulate the lymph system.
When targeting improved energy levels, massage may seem like an unconventional choice, but scientific studies have shown that massage is as effective as its energy-boosting counterparts, offering a safe and accessible alternative.Originally published on May 25, 2018