Sure, it can help you relax. But massage therapy can do much more than that. Here are six healthy reasons to book an appointment.

1) It counteracts all that sitting you do

“Most individuals are dealing with some kind of postural stress,” says Aaron Tanason, registered massage therapist, kinesiologist and owner at Paleolife Massage Therapy in Toronto. “More often than not [that stress] tends to manifest in the shoulders and neck.”

One in five Australians live with chronic pain — its health burden costs Western society almost equal to diabetes and cancer combined. Despite its prevalence, there's still stigma attached to chronic pain among medical professionals and the community which can have a lasting impact on sufferers.

Psychology student and model Isabella, 22, has experienced pain so intense her body went into shock and she was unable to walk. She developed the "excruciating pain" throughout her whole body at age 15 and at first doctors thought it was "all in [her] head".

It can be very hard to tell exactly how your body will react to an acupuncture treatment. There are some patients who are able to respond to acupuncture very strongly, the great majority of participants need to go for a few sessions before they will start to experience results with their acupuncture treatments. This means that even though their body is hardwired to respond to acupuncture in the best possible way, they still won’t notice the greatest benefits of acupuncture until they are at least a few sessions in.

According to the National Institute of Health, “Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older.” In addition, according to the same source, women are 60% more likely to experience anxiety and the average onset of an anxiety disorder is age 11. However, only 42.2% of those with anxiety seek any kind of treatment, and of that only 33.8% are receiving minimally adequate treatment. The take away is that anxiety is something we all experience at some level and we are not doing enough to treat it.

Generally, people use massage for either general relaxation and wellbeing, or to address a specific complaint, such as pain or limited range of motion. Research suggests massage therapy may contribute to both goals.

Watching his wife in agony as she was giving birth, Pavel Goldstein didn't know what to do.

"All I could think was, 'What can I do to help her?' " the postdoctoral pain researcher recalled. "I reached for her hand and it seemed to help."

He knew that couples can calm each other down, synchronising their breath and even brainwaves and heartbeats, just by being in each other's presence (it can also happen when people sing together or watch a movie together).

Regular massage therapy given people with multiple sclerosis (MS) significantly reduced their pain and fatigue, and helped to ease spasticity, a small pilot study reports. The results further support previous findings as to the benefits of massage in treating MS symptoms and improving patients’ quality of life.

The study, “Impact of Massage Therapy on Fatigue, Pain, and Spasticity in People with Multiple Sclerosis: a Pilot Study,” was published in the International Journal of Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork.

Drinking just a couple beers throughout the week may be hurting your health more than you think: Even moderate drinking can damage your brain, new research from the University of Oxford in the U.K. suggests.

In the study, researchers recruited 550 people, tracked their weekly alcohol intake, and measured their performance on brain tasks over a 30-year period. Then, they performed MRIs on them to analyze their brain structure.

There is soooo much confusion about this issue. It’s a shame because therapeutic icing and heating — cryotherapy and thermotherapy — are rational, cheap, easy, safe self-treatment options for many common painful problems.

What ice and heat are for

Ice is for fresh injuries, and heat is for stiff, aching muscles. Roughly. But the devil is in the details, and there are a lot of them.

I first learned about the traditional Chinese therapy called gua sha on Instagram, of all places. I was looking at photos of cupping and accidentally clicked on someone’s photo that was labeled with #guasha. FYI, if you ever want to be terrified, click on that hashtag; it’s all images of people who look like they’ve been mauled by tigers. And yes, I was instantly intrigued.