More Than a Luxury Massage Does a Body Good
After a stressful week, you might decide that a relaxing massage is just what you need. For people dealing with injuries or chronic pain, however, massage therapy can serve as an alternative medicine, not just a soothing indulgence. Approximately one in 10 people feel that therapeutic massage helped to treat their stress, anxiety, pain, and sports injuries. A recent survey discovered that about 65% of individuals who used massage therapy felt that, combining standard medical care with massage improved their health.
Massage therapy may help the body in many ways. Listed below are the physiological effects of massage.
Effects on the Skeletal System
Massage can help increase joint mobility by reducing any thickening of the connective tissue and helping to release restrictions in the fascia (a thin sheath of fibrous tissue enclosing a muscle). It helps to free adhesions, break down scar tissue and decrease inflammation. As a result it can help to restore range of motion to stiff joints. Massage improves muscle tone and balance, reducing the physical stress placed on bones and joints.
Effects on the Muscular System
Massage relieves muscular tightness, stiffness, spasms, and restrictions in the muscle tissue. It increases flexibility in the muscles due to muscular relaxation and increases blood circulation bringing more oxygen and nutrients into the muscle. This reduces muscle fatigue and soreness and promotes rapid removal of toxins and waste products from the muscle.
Effects on the Cardiovascular System
Massage can improve circulation and the delivery of fresh oxygen and nutrients to the tissues. This improves the removal of waste products, toxins, and carbon dioxide via the venous system. Also helping temporarily to decrease blood pressure, due to dilation of capillaries and decrease the heart rate due to relaxation
Effects on the Nervous System
Massage stimulates sensory receptors this can either stimulate or soothe nerves depending on the techniques used. It also stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, helping promote relaxation and the reduction of stress. Massage helps to reduce pain by the release of endorphins (endorphins are also known to elevate the mood).
Effects on the Skin
Massage can bring about improved circulation to the skin, increase nutrition to the cells and encourage cell regeneration. Vaso-dilation of the surface capillaries help to improve the skin's color and improve elasticity of the skin. Massage increases sebum production, helping to improve the skin's suppleness and resistance to infection.
Effects on the Digestive System
Massage can increase peristalsis (the involuntary constriction and relaxation of the muscles) in the large intestine, helping to relieve constipation, colic and gas and promote the activity of the parasympathetic nervous system, which stimulates digestion.
Massage therapy can also be used as part of a preventative care program. This includes sports training, injury prevention, ongoing stress management, and more! Together, you and your therapist will develop a treatment plan based on your needs.