Treat yo’ self! (or should you?) 

You might be contemplating going to the spa to treat yourself from your busy and stressful life, however there’s a tiny nagging voice at the back of your mind telling you it’s a silly indulgence. But did you know that there have been several scientific studies that going to the spa can help you not just physically but mentally as well? Yes, you read that right! There are scientifically-backed reasons why you should treat yourself to that spa day!

So read on to learn more about these benefits you get from going to the spa. 

Physical Benefits Of Going To The Spa

Here are some scientific reasons why going to the spa is not just good for your physical well-being, but could also be beneficial for the health of your future self!

Improved Cardiovascular Health 

While it might be strange to think how the sweltering temperatures found in saunas might be good for the heart and body – especially as a first timer who might think otherwise – it has been found that going to sauna was linked to having better cardiac health.

In a study done by the University of Finland, researchers observed a group of over 2000 middle-aged men for a 20 year period, and found several benefits directly related to frequent sauna usage. Finnish researchers found that men who went to sauna often during the week had a significantly lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Men who visited the sauna between 4 and 7 times a week had 63% lower chance of having a sudden cardiac-related death, as well as having lower chances of dying from coronary artery disease and developing other cardiac-related issues. 

Researchers found that the longer their test subjects stayed at the sauna, the less likely they were to develop heart issues. It appeared that staying in a sauna for more than 19 minutes was the key to improving cardiac health. 

Besides the sweltering heat of the spa, there’s another thing present at spas that could help improve your cardiac health: the smell of essential oils!

In a study done by the European Society of Cardiologists, scientists found that essential oils used during spa treatments weren’t just good for calming you down and smelling good, but also could produce benefits for your heart. 

In the study, they had 100 healthy young people placed in rooms where essential oils were vaporised. The test subjects had their blood pressure and heart rates monitored and after an hour of exposure to the smell of bergamot essential oil, researchers found that there was a reduction in blood pressure and heart rate. 

Unfortunately, there seems to be a limit to how long smelling essential oils can benefit you. After being in the room for over an hour with the essential oil being vaporised, the test subject’s heart rates began to increase and rise. So keep your massages with essential oils to an hour to reap the most benefits.

Increased Circulation & Decreased Inflammation 

Massages – they feel terrific and make you feel incredibly calm. But are they really that good for you?

In a study done by the University of Chicago, researchers found that receiving a massage after having done a bit of physical activity improves circulation of the body and helps with overall cardiovascular health. 

If you suffer from chronic joint pain or injury, you might also have soft-tissue restrictions which can cause knots or trigger points. Beside improving circulation, massage therapy can also help reduce inflammation and get rid of these soft-tissue restrictions. 

If left untreated, these soft-tissue restrictions can potentially lead to joint decay or various ligament problems so massage therapy not only helps your current condition, but can also be a preventive measure. Be sure that your massage therapist is licensed and experienced at handling injuries so they can best assess what areas to avoid and what areas surrounding the injury need to be massaged. 

Mental Benefits Of Going To The Spa

Here are some scientific reasons why going to the spa does wonders for your mental well-being and could potentially help you . 

Relieves Anxiety And Depression 

After a long spa session, you’ll definitely feel all the stress melt away and maybe feel that your mental health has improved. But is it possible that this is just a placebo effect?

According to a study by Emory University School of Medicine, it was suggested that if you suffer from anxiety or have  generalized anxiety disorder, it is possible that a massage could significantly decrease the symptoms of your anxiety.

Your body has 2 different kinds of nervous systems, the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system. Your sympathetic nervous system controls your fight-or-flight response. However when you receive a massage, your parasympathetic (or calming) nervous system is activated, which in turn decreases your anxiety and improves your mood.

In a separate study done by the International Journal of Neuroscience, researchers found having a massage could potentially relieve depression and its symptoms. After a massage session, they saw cortisol (the stress hormone) decrease by 31% while the “happy hormones” like serotonin and dopamine both saw an increase by 30%. 

So you’re not just imagining that your mental health has improved after a trip to the spa!

Protection Against Dementia

In the same study conducted by the University of Finland where they researched the health benefits of saunas, it was found that men between the ages of 42 to 60 years old who went to the sauna between 4 and 7 times weekly were 66% less likely to be diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Men who went to the sauna between 2 and 3 times weekly were 22% less likely to be diagnosed with dementia and 20% less likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. 

This, however, requires further research. That being said, together with its cardiovascular benefits, spending some time at the sauna on a regular basis might prove beneficial for future-you. 

Improved Sleep For Improved Mental Health

It might surprise you to learn that the quality of sleep you get and your mental state are closely linked, with sleep deprivation affecting you both physically and psychologically.

It is possible that massages can help you sleep better and more deeply. This is because sleep is dependent on the amount of activity within the nervous system. During a massage, the nervous system tends to slow down due to the pressure being applied. 

With your nervous system calmed and slowed down, you will be able fall into a deeper and more restorative sleep. Better sleep not only helps reduce the levels of a pain neurotransmitter, called substance P, decreasing the overall pain you experience, but also helps to relieve symptoms of mental disorders. 

Some study also says that, who did listen to audiobooks or music after a spa session slept significantly better than those who did not listen to anything.  


While some might think repeat visits to the spa to be a silly indulgence, we’ve shown that there is scientific proof that going to the spa is not just good for your physical health, but your mental health as well. In the midst of the hustle and bustle of modern living, you might find yourself even more stressed, tired and sleep deprived. Given the multitude of health benefits ranging from improved cardiovascular health, better blood circulation and improved mental being, why not book yourself a much-needed spa treatment?  

As the mantra goes, “treat yo’ self”!

Massages and spa sessions are a great way to pamper yourself, but you can also improve mental well-being with guided therapy sessions. Noah is a zero judgement men’s health platform offering individual therapy sessions conducted by licensed clinical psychologists. Getting started on Noah is simple – visit a website, answer some questions and consult with a professional, all from the comfort of your home.

Author’s Bio

Jules is part of the Editorial Team for Zoey, a digital health clinic for women in Singapore. In her free time, she loves to attend spin classes and get her heart pumping at the rock climbing gym!

Image by Gundula Vogel from Pixabay