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Massage is a wonderful tool for healing and enhancing physical and mental well-being. Like many yoga teachers, I am also a masseuse, in part because it allows me to offer students a complimentary therapy that can deepen and improve their practice.

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Three key ways it does this is by increasing flexibility, healing injuries, and fighting stress.

Massage increases and maintains flexibility through manipulation of the muscles, connective tissue, tendons and ligaments, and by stimulating the production and retention of the natural lubricants between the connective tissue fibers.

Massage helps address common injuries such as carpal tunnel and 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. Research on carpal tunnel patients showed those that regular massage reduced pain and symptoms and improved grip strength.

Massage is a great way to combat stress, anxiety and depression. Massage is able to lower the body’s level of cortisol, a stress hormone, by as much as 50 percent. It also appears to increase the serotonin and dopamine levels, which lifts your mood.

This adds up to major life-enhancement, as massage helps fight the aches, pains, stiffness, and stress that can keep us out of the studio and away from our practice. Combined with yoga, it keeps our minds and bodies resilient and working in harmony.
photo credit: Spa By Payot ©DavidAndre via photopin (license)

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