Dallas, TX 7/15/2009 03:03 PM GMT (TransWorldNews) Sure, you look forward to your regular massage, but massages have more benefits than you probably realize.

“Regular massage keeps the body working at optimal levels,” says CG Funk, Vice President of Product Development for Massage Envy, the leading provider of massage therapy in the U.S. “It helps to keep people well—physically and emotionally.”

Here are eight ways massage can benefit your body and mind:

1. Fight Fibromyalgia Symptoms. Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition characterized by muscle pain, fatigue and tenderness. Symptoms can be brought on or worsened by stress and lack of sleep. Massage has helps relieve stress and alleviates muscle pain, discomfort and spasms in fibromyalgia patients. The National Fibromyalgia Association reports that about 40 percent of sufferers have used massage in their treatment plans.

2. Ease Surgical Effects. After surgery, massage can help get you back on your feet by increasing circulation, relaxing muscles, and improving joint movement and flexibility. Massage promotes tissue regeneration and reduces post-surgical adhesions and swelling.

3. Improve Your Mood. The relaxing qualities of massage have been shown to help treat anxiety and depression. A review by the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine, found that massage lowered the body’s level of cortisol, a stress hormone, by as much as 53%. Massage is also said to increase the “feel-good” hormones, serotonin and dopamine.

4. Relieve Headaches. Migraine headaches are often triggered or worsened by stress and poor sleep. In the Annals of Behavioral Medicine, researchers found that people who received massages had higher quality sleeping habits and fewer migraines than people who didn’t receive massages. These positive effects even lasted up to three weeks after their massage therapy ended.
5. Lower Blood Pressure. A study in the journal, Biological Research for Nursing, found that people who had at least three, 10-minute back massages per week lowered their blood pressure more than people who had spent the same amount of time just relaxing.

6. Increase Flexibility. Massage can help you maintain flexibility and your range of motion by working the muscles, connective tissues, tendons and ligaments, and by stimulating natural lubricants between the connective tissue fibers.

7. Alleviate Back Pain. A study in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that massage therapy was more effective at relieving back pain than other therapies such as acupuncture and spinal modification. It even appeared to reduce the use of painkillers by 36%.

8. Curb Carpal Tunnel. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a painful condition in which the median nerve that connects the forearm and hand becomes pinched at the wrist. Symptoms include burning, tingling or numbness. Treatments usually consist of medication, wrist braces, and surgery. A study from the Journal of Bodywork and Movement reported that carpal tunnel patients receiving regular massage had less pain, reduced symptoms and improved grip-strength.

Massage Envy therapists are trained in trigger point, deep tissue, and reflexology techniques, as well as cranial sacral therapy. Talk to your therapist about the medical conditions that are affecting you to find out if massage can help.

“Massage has many benefits including the promotion of relaxation,” says Funk. “And, for those that receive massage on a regular basis, try a style of massage that’s new to you, such as a hot stone therapy, cranial sacral therapy or Reflexology at a Massage Envy clinic.”

At Massage Envy, an introductory one-hour massage session (a 50-minute massage and time for consultation and dressing) is just $39. Memberships are available for $49 per month and include a one-hour massage session. Members may also enjoy unlimited additional one-hour massage sessions at the $39 member rate.

Log on to www.massageenvy.com to find the nearest Massage Envy clinic. There are 25 Massage Envy locations throughout the Metroplex and another three are scheduled to open soon. All are open seven days per week.

Massage Envy Limited, LLC is a national franchise of massage therapy clinics dedicated to providing professional and affordable therapeutic massage services to consumers with busy lifestyles at convenient times and locations. Founded in 2002, Massage Envy has opened 500 clinics in 38 states in just over five years, with 300 more franchises currently under development from coast to coast and 25 locations in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. For more information about Massage Envy, visit the website at www.massageenvy.com. *Not all types of massage available at all clinics.