Are regular massages good for you?
Go looking for proof that a massage will improve your health, and you’ll have no trouble finding research to back you up. From easing muscle soreness after exercise to reducing stress, dozens of studies—stretching back several decades—have linked massage with real physical and psychological benefits.
One Australian study found that a 10-minute muscle massage after a workout could reduce soreness by 30%. A separate review study on massage found that levels of the stress hormone cortisol dropped 31% following a rubdown, while levels of feel-good hormones like dopamine and serotonin increased roughly 30%.
You don’t even have to shell out cash for a stranger to perform your massage. Research on different forms of self-massage, including foam rolling, have found that giving yourself a good kneading can reduce muscle soreness and improve pain symptoms, even among people with osteoarthritis.
In fact, pain reduction—along with depression relief—is one of the benefits that research has most consistently linked to massage, says Tiffany Field, director of the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami.