Everybody knows a massage is meant to allow the body to enjoy a little relaxation and stress relief, but what else can this ancient practice do?

Here are three little-known facts about the art of massage therapy:

  1. Massage is a Natural Pain-Killer

Well, massages may not be classified as pain-killers by themselves, but they do help the body release endorphins, which are chemicals that naturally help stave off pain and discomfort. Beyond the physical benefits of these incredible chemicals, there are mental and emotional benefits, as well. In fact, endorphins help reduce stress, ward off anxiety and depression, and improve sleep.

  1. There are Tons of Different Types of Massage Therapy

All massage therapy is not created equal. Some modalities use stones or bamboo while others rely on specific pressure points or movements around the body. “Massage therapy” is actually a very general phrase that lends itself to an entire world of specialties.

Here’s a brief look at just a few common types of massage therapies:

  • Swedish Massage — Among the most commonly taught modalities, Swedish massage is designed to energize the body and stimulate the circulatory system.
  • Thai Massage — Essentially a form of passive yoga, Thai massage helps participants stretch and energize their bodies through the assistance of their therapists.
  • Deep Tissue Massage — This type of massage is particularly helpful for people who suffer chronic pain or have limited mobility issues.
  1. Massages are Immune Boosters

White blood cells help the body combat everything from the common cold to more serious illnesses. Massage therapy helps get these guys going, boosting the body’s ability to produce white blood cells and keep them moving in the right direction. A regular regimen of professional massages can significantly bolster the body’s natural ability to ward off unwanted diseases.