Massage is a cornerstone of health and wellness, not a luxury.

There is no question that times are still tough economically. Even if we haven’t see a difference in our own bottom line, we hear the dire news everyday. Everyone is looking for ways to save money- cutting back on anything that seems unnecessary in the budget. Business continue to cut costs, and individuals are still scaling back in their consumer spending. For many, it can be tempting to trim your wellness budget in these lean economic times.

However, taking a short-sighted approach to investments in your health isn’t always the wisest choice. Research shows that small changes over time can have long lasting effects on health- both good and bad. A recent national consumer survey showed that most Americans refuse to cut back on massage therapy and are committed to maintaining their health through massage. It is actually more necessary than ever to get regular massage in tough economic times- massage therapy counters the overwhelming stress incurred from economic uncertainty, job loss, and financial pressure. It also helps strengthen immunity and prevent injury, curtailing costly medical bills, expensive and synthetic prescription medicine needs, and time away from work.

Following are a few reasons you should keep massage in the budget for you and your family. According to volumes of research, massage therapy:

-Boosts immunity.
-Decreases cortisol levels, the damaging stress hormones that cause tissue breakdown, illness, and premature aging.
-Lower blood pressure and decreased anxiety.
-Improves sleep cycles, allowing your body to better rest and recover.
-Helps you fight colds and illnesses, lessening the time away from work or school and decreasing long-term medical costs.
-Increases the body’s overall circulation, in turn improving vitality, concentration and productivity.
-Increases flexibility and joint mobility while optimizing an active lifestyle.
-Helps release serotonin and endorphins- the body’s natural “feel good” hormones. This can have a tremendous effect on those suffering from depression and anxiety.
-Reduces the occurrence of tension headaches.
-Great for reducing pain, adhesions, inflammation, and scar tissue post surgery.
-Supports the rapid changes and physical discomfort for pregnant women, while mitigating labor pains and supporting the stress of new parenthood post delivery.

The profound effects listed above are just some of the outcomes of regular massage. The health benefits of massage therapy go on and on. And it isn’t just your own physical health that is improved with regular massage. Consistent massage therapy can have overarching effects in other areas of your life:

Work Life: we all know how hard it is to be productive or creative when we are ill, injured, in pain, or foggy-headed from insufficient sleep. Because massage boosts the immune system, disturbs pain patterns while flushing lactic acid from muscles, and helps support healthy sleep patterns, regular massage can help you clear physical and mental obstacles so you reach the next level in your career. No wonder why so many employers are beginning to implementing on-site chair and corporate massage into their health care programs for employees. A healthy, happy, stress-reduced, pain-free, and well-rested employee is a much more effective member of the team!

Home Life: Adults in this generation often have more responsibility than any other, as they are faced with caring for not only their children, but their parents, all the while trying to build their own future amidst dissipating community and financial support networks. These people need massage and wellness support now more than ever. For years, research has shown that high levels of stress, depression and chronic pain wreaks havoc on an individuals’ home life. Relationships with spouses and children can be adversely affected in prolonged states of physical and mental disruption and dis-ease. Regular massage can help reduce the pain, physical dysfunction, and chronic stress patterns, leaving family members more relaxed, present, and interconnected. And adults who take consistently good care of their own health set a fantastic example of self-care for their children (and maybe even their parents!).

Spiritual Life: Whether you consider yourself to be a spiritual person or not, you might agree that it is not easy to connect with your deepest self when you’re hurting, stressed out, overworked, depressed, anxious, and exhausted. A Wise man once said that it can be very difficult to connect to the gentle sound of your higher self when your physical self is always screaming out in pain and dis-ease. Stepping away from the cycles of stress and getting relief from chronic and acute pain can free your attention to connect to your authentic self and live your fullest life possible.

And what about the cost? When taken in a long-term context, the price of massage therapy is an incredible value. Price points for high quality and skilled massage therapy have remained fairly consistent over the years, while medical costs continue to skyrocket. Massage is often positioned by marketers and portrayed in the media as a luxurious indulgence. While of course it should be an enjoyable experience, and should always provide a mini-retreat, maintaining a regular massage routine has more to do with a healthy lifestyle than a self-indulgent luxury. Less stress, improved quality of life, greater health, freedom from physical and mental pain- what better return on your investment could there be? In these uncertain times, invest in yourself by including massage therapy as a regular part of your health routine. Get started today!

Jessica Abegg CMT, MBA, MSIB. Jessica is the owner of Sanctuary Wellness and Massage in Alexandria Virginia. She is a consultant, coach, retreat leader, massage therapist, Sanctuary Diva, Escape Artist and author of the upcoming book Massaging Success: Tools for Creating a Thriving Business (Pearson/Prentice Hall 2010). Visit her website at or read her blog at