It’s pretty well known that getting a massage feels good. But did you know it does your body, mind, and spirit a whole lot of good as well? Here are eight surprising health benefits of massage.

Ease muscle pain. Got a cranky back? Sore from a hard workout? Massage can help. Massage increases and improves circulation, which helps ease sore muscles.

Relieve headaches. For some, massage can decrease the frequency and severity of tension headaches and migraines.

Improve sleep. Massage can help you sleep in a few different ways. First, it can easy body discomforts that can keep us awake. Second, it can help lessen stress and anxiety that often keep us awake.

Counteract negative effects of sitting. Most of us spend our days sitting, even if we work out regularly. This can cause what is called postural stress, where tension is carried in the shoulders and neck as well as pain in the low back and glutes. Regular massages can help counterbalance the effects of sitting for prolonged periods of time.

Ease back pain. Back pain is one of the most reported health issues of ISU employees. Massage an help ease back soreness as well as lead to decreased stiffness.

Boost immunity. In addition to reducing stress which improves the immune system, research has shown that massage boosts your white blood cell count, which plays a large role in defending the body from illness.

Make you smarter. Massage can lead to a boost in brainpower and increased alertness.

Help with stress, anxiety, and depression. Research has shown that regular massage can help aid those that experience stress, anxiety, and depression. Massage helps reduce the levels of the stress hormone cortisol, resulting in lifted spirits and often lower blood pressure. It can also boost the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine, which are involved with depression.

However, it’s important that you also speak with a professional counselor if you are struggling with these as well. Students can seek assistance through Student Counseling Services and employees can get help through the Employee Assistance Program.

Massage available on campus

Health Promotion and Wellness hosts full body massage on campus every week with licensed massage therapists from Aches Away. Massage is open to students, employees, and retirees of the university. Cost is just $15 for 15 minutes and multiple consecutive appointments can be booked to have a longer massage. View available appointments and sign up.