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Growing numbers of adult Americans – especially baby boomers – are reaping the health benefits of massage therapy. Practiced for thousands of years, its spectrum of pressures, movements and techniques can provide relief from symptoms, heal injuries, help with specific conditions and improve overall health.

With deep tissue, sports, chair, neuromuscular therapy, hot stone and numerous other styles, all forms of massage therapy involve pressing, rubbing or manipulating muscles and other soft tissues.

One of the greatest benefits of massage therapy is increasing blood flow to muscles, joints and organs, which warms up the body. Regular massage enhances circulation, reducing the many aches, pains and discomforts the cold weather can bring.

By boosting circulation, massage improves skin hydration, nourishing and relieving that dry-skin feeling in winter. Massage therapy also increases lymph flow, which aids your immune system during cold and flu season.

According to the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA), research has linked massage therapy with a reduction of cortisol –a major stress hormone – that in high levels can contribute to such serious health problems as high blood pressure and blood sugar, suppressed immune system function and obesity.

The AMTA cites further health benefits of massage: reduce tension headaches, decrease migraine frequency, improve sleep quality, enhance exercise performance, help with chronic pain from fibromyalgia, rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, decrease symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and many others.

On top of all these great benefits, massage therapy can boost your mood during winter’s dull, gray days by creating an overall state of wellness. Beyond the benefits for specific conditions or diseases, many people enjoy massage therapy because it often produces feeling of caring, comfort and connection.

Come in out of the cold – enjoy a massage with hot stones and really warm up!