How many people does it take to break a massage world record? Answer 641.

Thailand has rubbed out Australia's record of 263 people being massaged at the same time for five minutes, by mass-massaging (yes, that's a phrase) 641 people simultaneously for 12 minutes.

According to The Huffington Post US, the event was organized by the Ministry of Public Health to promote the Southeast Asian nation's massage and spa industry.

massage world record

Thai masseuses perform mass massaging at a sport arena on the outskirts of Bangkok, Thailand

Steve Foster, secretary of the London & Counties Society of Physiologists (LCSP), adds that massage has many hidden health benefits, beyond the pleasurable.

"Massage can be used to stimulate the nervous system and increase energy levels. Or using different techniques, it can calm and relax a patient."

Fosters also uses massage to improve the muscular system of the body, pointing out that ancient Green physician Hippocrates advocated rubbing joint that were too loose or tight.

So are you missing out? Find out what else massage can do...

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  • Manage Anxiety And Depression

    For the same reasons that a massage is relaxing, it can also <a href="http://www6.miami.edu/touch-research/Massage.html" target="_hplink">soothe anxiety and depression</a>. Massage reduces levels of the <a href="http://www.prevention.com/health/natural-remedies/massage-away-depression-and-anxiety" target="_hplink">stress hormone cortisol</a>, resulting in lifted spirits and often lower blood pressure. It can also boost the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine, which are involved in depression. <em>Flickr photo by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/eflon/3974595140/" target="_hplink">eflon</a></em>

  • Ease Pain

    Eight out of 10 Americans will experience debilitating back pain, according to Time.com, but a <a href="http://healthland.time.com/2011/07/06/aching-back-try-massage-for-chronic-pain/" target="_hplink">massage can help</a>. According to a 2011 study, massage helped people in pain <a href="http://www.annals.org/content/155/1/1.abstract?aimhp" target="_hplink">feel and function better</a> compared to people who didn't receive any massage treatment. "We found the <a href="http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110704174603.htm" target="_hplink">benefits of massage</a> are about as strong as those reported for other effective treatments: medications, acupuncture, exercise and yoga," Dan Cherkin, Ph.D., lead author of the study, said in a press release. Massage has also been linked to <a href="http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/12/061212091936.htm" target="_hplink">decreased stiffness and pain</a>, as well as better range of motion in people with osteoarthritis.

  • Improve Sleep

    If you've ever dozed off on a massage table, you don't need to be convinced that a massage can <a href="http://www6.miami.edu/touch-research/AdultMassage.html" target="_hplink">promote healthy sleep</a>. A number of studies have examined this link, and chalk it up to massage's affect on <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2007/HEALTH/03/08/healthmag.massage/" target="_hplink">delta waves</a>, the kind of brain waves connected to deep sleep, according to <em>Health</em> magazine.

  • Boost Immunity

    Multiple studies, although often small, have linked massage to better functioning of the <a href="http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S027322970500033X" target="_hplink">immune system</a>. In one 2010 study, researchers found massage increased a person's <a href="http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100908094809.htm" target="_hplink">disease-fighting white blood cells</a>. The stress-reducing powers of massage can also help <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/16/colds-facts_n_1152479.html#s548325&title=Myth_Or_Truth" target="_hplink">keep you healthy</a>.

  • Beat PMS

    At least one small study found that massage can kick pesky <a href="http://www6.miami.edu/touch-research/AdultMassage.html" target="_hplink">PMS symptoms</a>, like <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2007/HEALTH/03/08/healthmag.massage/" target="_hplink">bloating and mood swings</a>, to the curb.

  • Raise Alertness

    Want to boost your brainpower? Adults who were given a 15-minute chair massage in a small 1996 <a href="http://www6.miami.edu/touch-research/AdultMassage.html" target="_hplink">Touch Research Institute (TRI) study</a> were <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8884390" target="_hplink">more alert</a> and completed a series of math questions faster and more accurately.

  • Curb Headaches

    Just like muscle and back pain, headaches can also be alleviated thanks to massage. A regular rubdown can <a href="http://www.webmd.com/balance/massage-therapy-styles-and-health-benefits?page=3" target="_hplink">reduce a person's number of migraines</a>, according to WebMD, as well as limit <a href="http://www6.miami.edu/touch-research/AdultMassage.html" target="_hplink">how painful each migraine feels</a>, according to the TRI. A 2009 study found that a 30-minute massage decreased pain for people with <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19748404" target="_hplink">tension headaches</a>, and even curbed some of the stress and anger associated with that pounding head.

  • Save Face

    A little prodding in the right places can even have beauty benefits. "<a href="http://www.womenshealthmag.com/beauty-and-style/massage-benefits#axzz1ljKXqiLe" target="_hplink">Massage increases blood flow</a>, which plumps up slack skin, encourages lymphatic drainage (the shuttling of toxins out and away from cells so that more nutrients can travel in) and adds vitality to a dull complexion and lackluster hair," Kimara Ahnert, a New York City skin-care studio owner told <em>Women's Health</em>. And you don't even have to make an appointment -- simply rubbing your face and scalp for a few minutes can make a big difference.

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  • Ease Cancer Treatment

    Because of many of the benefits listed above, massage is particularly helpful for people living with or undergoing treatment for serious illnesses, like cancer. Various studies have shown that massage can relieve <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18315504" target="_hplink">fatigue, pain, anxiety, depression and nausea</a> in <a href="http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080915174534.htm" target="_hplink">cancer patients</a>.