What Are the Actual Benefits of Massage Therapy?

The benefits of massage therapy: a closer look.

Entertaining conversations are never in short supply with my massage clients. These light-hearted discussions inevitably come to an immediate stop, however, when we come across a particularly painful trigger point or a compromised joint.

A variety of questions arise, such as: What caused this pain? Do you feel anything in there? Or, a personal favorite, why does my calf feel like a rock? Of course, it’s not always the client asking the questions, but it’s these types of questions and related conversation that gave me the idea of doing this month’s article.

Most of these conversations will usually revolve around this noteworthy question…

What are the actual benefits of massage therapy?

“The Study Guide for the Art of Massage,” by John Kellogg, M.D., references the specific structures of the body that benefit from massage therapy and the proven physiological effects. It also lists dozens of specific procedures together with their respective effects. My own personal copy of the guide happens to be chock-full of different highlighter-colored markings, asterisks and notations.

Massage “has a direct or indirect relation to every structure and function of the body.”


Here’s how it works:

  • Massage literally affects passive tissues in a mechanical way. As the therapist’s hands glide along the surface of the skin, for instance, the blood and lymph literally moves through their respective vessels below.
  • Reflexes play a part in affecting deep lying organs. Even gentle, light, strokes atop the abdomen, by example, are shown to help with digestion.
  • Referred to as a metabolic effect, changes occur biochemically as a result of both the mechanical and reflex activities. Case in point, there is less sugar in the urine of a diabetic after a massage.


Did you know that massage…

  • Promotes liver activity by bringing oxygen to it while working with the abdomen.
  • Increases muscle tone by improving the levels of nutrition reaching the muscles.
  • Decreases swelling of a swollen limb by draining lymph and excess fluids.
  • Has restorative effects by relieving mental, physical and nervous fatigue because of its effect on circulation and the organs.
  • Increases phagocytic activity that “helps clean up debris and aids the immune system.”


Get the full benefit of massage therapy! Let’s schedule your next session!


About the author:


Libby Winterhalter, a licensed massage therapist (LMT), has been in private practice since July 2004. She graduated from SHI Integrative Medical Massage School, then located in Lebanon, Ohio. Prior to that, she received a Bachelor of Art’s degree in Communications along with a minor in Religious Studies from the College of Mount St. Joseph in 2001. Libby has also worked both in the corporate world and she served as a Journalist for the United States Navy for 22 years from which she is now retired. She is an active member of the American Bodyworkers and Massage Professionals Association (ABMP).

Libby naturally blends both medical-based treatments and holistic therapies offering a more effective and comprehensive experience. Each session is specifically tailored to that client using one or more of the following techniques: therapeutic massage, Swedish (relaxation) massage, sports massage, Active Isolated Stretching – considered to be both a neuromuscular and myofascial release technique – Trigger Point Therapy, Craniosacral Therapy and more.

Libby has worked extensively with clients dealing with chronic pain, strains and sprains, compromised joints, spinal fusion(s), temporomandibular disorder, scar tissue, migraines, whiplash, digestive issues, plantar fasciitis and other foot-related pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder, failure-to-thrive syndrome, pregnancy, cancers, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease), sports-related injuries and severe injuries resulting from other accidents.

Thankfully, not all of Libby’s clients are facing life-altering issues. One client tells her she keeps him feeling younger than his years. Another client says Libby keeps her out of pain, while someone else tells her that she offers a necessary reprieve from the stressors of the world.

Libby is looking forward to expanding her practice and working with such an accomplished group of healthcare providers.