The American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) estimates that 38 million American adults have a massage at least once a year. Massage therapy has been used since around 2700 BC for treating war and sports injuries and ancient cultures used it to relieve symptoms of terminal conditions.
Today, massage is commonly used for both physical and psychological ailments. Your skin can reap many benefits of massage therapy, including improved scar tissues, better complexion, anti-aging effects and a reduced risk of infection.
Increased blood flow and resistance to infections
Massage therapy helps to loosen the muscles and soft tissues that are directly below the skin. This in turns helps to increase blood flow to the skin. As the capillaries fill with blood, your skin will benefit from a healthy glow. Cells will receive more nutrients from the blood, which helps the skin the retain moisture and replenish old cells with new, healthy ones.This means that your skin will also become more resistant to infections as cells have increased nutrition and better cell regeneration.
Reduced Stress = Better Skin
32% of Americans say that they get a massage for stress-relief, which can be indirectly helping their skin too. When you’re stressed you may notice that you’re more likely to break out and skin can take longer to heal. This is because stress causes your body to make more hormones, such as cortisol.
Cortisol makes your skin more oily, which results in an increased chance of acne and other existing skin problems, such as eczema, rosacea and psoriasis. One study tested participants cortisol level in their saliva before and after a massage and found that it was consistently lower afterwards. So, if having a massage helps you to feel relaxed, it’s a good way to care for your skin too.
Assist with the appearance and symptoms of scar tissue
An evaluation of 10 studies looking at 144 patients was done in 2012, looking at if massage affected the appearance of scarring. Most notably, surgical wounds resulted in less scarring when compared to wounds caused outside of a controlled setting. Other studies found that massage therapy offers great benefits for symptoms associated with wound healing, such as itchiness, pain and anxiety.
Patients who had burn injuries received massage therapy twice a week for five weeks using cocoa butter. They reported less pain and itching at the end. Mood problems caused by scarring also improved, with patients reporting less anxiety and improved overall mood.
More sweating to remove impurities
Most people use deodorant to combat sweat and some people resort to Botox injections in their armpits to avoid it, but increasing your sweat production can be beneficial for your skin. When you sweat, waste is excreted through the skin. Massage therapy increases skin gland production, which allows the glands to empty of impurities.
These impurities are then sweated out, along with uric acid and other unhealthy elements that can be found in your bloodstream. The sweat helps to push oil out of pores and results in a healthy complexion.
Better tone, skin color and anti-aging properties
The increased blood flow and nutrients to your skin caused by massage therapy all result in a clearer and healthier looking complexion. Skin will hold moisture better, cells will regenerate quicker and dilated capillaries give the skin a better color that will make you glow. It can also make skin firmer, smoother and improve elasticity for a younger appearance.
Having a regular facial, or even just massaging your own face for a few minutes a day, can help muscles to stay toned and relaxed, reducing the appearance of wrinkles.
Massage therapy is often used for physical reasons, such as to improve scars and to recover from illnesses or injuries. It’s also a great way to relax and de-stress, making it a good treatment for psychological problems, such as anxiety and depression, particularly if it’s caused by your skin’s appearance. The benefits are often obvious after just one session, but ongoing massage treatments offer the best results.