Massage therapy is used to treat and prevent a wide range of diseases and adverse conditions, including stress, muscle tension, pain, inflammation and more. It’s a safe, non-invasive practice that has become increasingly popular for this very reason. You may be surprised to learn that massage therapy can also yield benefits for heart health.
Even with the advancements made in modern medicine, heart disease remains the leading cause of death among men and women in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 600,000 people in the U.S. die from heart disease each year. While diet and exercise can lower a person’s risk of developing heart disease, there is strong evidence indicating that massage therapy can help as well.
So, how can massage therapy lower a person’s risk of developing heart disease? It is able to do this in several different ways, one of which is the positive impact it has on stress levels. Whether it’s a light-pressure or deep-tissue Swedish massage, all forms of massage are known to lower stress levels. When you experience lower stress levels, you’ll have a lower risk of developing heart disease. It’s that simple.
Massage therapy can also work to lower blood pressure levels, which is a major risk factor of heart disease. A study was conducted recently in which 50 people with elevated blood pressure were given 15-minute massages three times a week. By the end of the sessions, the group who received massage therapy had lower blood pressure levels than the control group who didn’t. (source).
It’s important to note that massage alone will not protect you from heart disease. While there’s strong evidence suggesting that it can help, it’s not a fool-proof means to prevent heart disease. If you are looking to further lower your risk, it’s recommended that you adjust your diet to focus on lean meats such as fish, fresh vegetables, fruit, and whole grains. In addition, you should strive for a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per day. Whether it’s running, jogging, using the elliptical, etc., staying active is paramount to maintaining a healthy heart.
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