Benefits of Therapeutic Massage
Think massage is simply for relaxation?
- Intro to Massage Benefits
- What is Massage and How Does it Work?
- Massage for Pain Control
- Massage Research Facts
Massage Therapy Benefits
Most of us know that therapeutic massage feels good; but massage also provides relief to a multitude of specific health concerns.
Therapeutic massage has been proven beneficial in treating immunity disorders, lower back pain, depression, sleep disorders, high blood pressure, and much more.
Experts believe that 90% of stress accounts for 80-90% of illnesses and disease.
Therapeutic massage helps to reduce levels of stress chemicals/hormones such as cortisol, and noradrenalin. It helps reverse the damaging effects of stress by slowing the heart rate, respiration, and metabolism, as well as lowering raised blood pressure.
Therapeutic massage can provide an important component to overall well-being by promoting better sleep, improving concentration, and reducing anxiety.
Please remember that therapeutic massage is more than a feel-good “indulgence” providing more than a nice way to unwind after work or exercise. Therapeutic massage provides relief to people of all ages – from infants to seniors – to the sedentary and the athletic.
What is massage and how does it work?
Massage is the manipulation of soft tissue, effecting a change in the accompanying connective tissue and muscular structures. This is done by kneading, stroking, and stretching the muscles of one’s body.
Degrees of pressure vary, depending on the type of massage. Kneading actions enhance circulation, while long gentle strokes communicate calmness as well as flushing toxins out through the lymphatic system.
Deeper movements evoke change in the underlying areas and tissues surrounding the muscle.
Touch is our first sensational experience and remains, along with smell, the most immediate and evocative link between mind and body.
The skin is the body's largest sensory organ and thousands of specialized receptors in the dermis, the second layer of skin, react to external stimuli such as heat, cold and pressure by sending messages through the nervous system to the brain.
Therapeutic massage is said to increase activity of the vagus nerve, one of ten cranial nerves, which affects the secretion of food absorption hormones as well as heart rate and respiration.
Therapeutic massage can increase the flow of lymph fluid out of swollen tissues. This also is highly effective therapy for lymphedema (the retention of proteins and water in the tissues). Principally, this is done through a technique called effleurage, which is a light, but firm flushing movement of the therapist’s hands across the client’s body.
Other important associated therapeutic massage movements include petrissage, the firm kneading and rolling of the tissues, friction, deep direct pressure to release muscle tension, and tapotement, percussive hacking, tapping and clapping over the muscles and fleshy parts of the body.
With these movements, therapeutic massage increases the body’s circulation and lymphatic fluid movement. This allows the circulatory system to carry more oxygen and nutrients to the body’s organs, while eliminating toxins.
In this way, therapeutic massage acts as an ‘auxiliary heart’ by increasing circulation. And because oxygen and nutrients arrive to our cellular structure faster, therapeutic massage is highly beneficial to the general health of your body’s entire system.
Therapeutic sports massage lowers the level of muscle activity that will locally reduce the need for energy and oxygen that in turn reduces the rate of metabolic waste production. It will also reduce the muscular pressure on surrounding tissues, effectively improving circulation and recovery from use.
Gentle therapeutic massage affects the nervous system through nerve endings in the skin, stimulating the release of endorphins (the body’s natural pain reliever), to help induce relaxation, relieve pain, and reduce levels of stress chemicals such as cortisol and noradrenalin. It helps reverse the damaging effects of stress by slowing heart rate and respiration.
Stronger therapeutic massage eases tense and knotted muscles and stiff joints, often improving mobility and flexibility.
In addition to releasing chronic muscular tension and pain, there is a reduction in mental and physical fatigue and stress, promoting faster healing of injured muscular tissue, often improving posture in the process.
Therapeutic massage for pain control
What do you instinctively do when your back, neck, or head ache? Remember times when you have accidentally bumped your knee, bumped your head, or ... What is your natural instinct after yelping “ouch!”? Your hand(s) almost immediately reach for the affected area, and rub the pain away.
What does that tell you about the natural and genetic inclinations towards massage?
Bodywork offers a drug-free, non-invasive and humanistic approach based on the body’s natural ability to heal itself.
This makes therapeutic massage a great option for individuals recovering from surgery or suffering from chronic illness. This can lead to a decreased need for medication.
Some people rely on massage therapy when they can’t tolerate or would rather avoid the side effects of medication. (pregnant women, chemotherapy patients, people already on specific medications, etc)
More and more corporations are beginning to use on-site chair massage as an employee benefit, and as a way to reduce stress and absence, thereby increasing work productivity.
Prior to surgery, patients are often treated to therapeutic massage as a means to relax the day before their operation. Since the surgical area can’t be massaged right after surgery, the areas surrounding the surgical region may be massaged, stimulating healing and relaxation.
Here’s what the University of Miami’s School of Medicine says about massage:
- Increased immune function in women diagnosed with breast cancer in the past five years
- Relieved severe premenstrual symptoms
- Lessened labor pain and length, shortened hospital stays, and lowered likelihood of postpartum depression
- Lowered migraine headache pain, distress, and sleep disturbance(s)
- Decreased depression, anxiety, stress, pain, and insomnia in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Reduced leg and back pain of pregnancy, improved mood and sleep
- Lessened itching, pain, and/or anxiety for burn care patients
- Lowers job stress (and job stress scores)
- Led pregnant women to fewer labor or postnatal complications
In a recent survey, 54% of primary care physicians said they would encourage patients to add massage therapy to their medical treatment.
Texas Back Institute uses massage therapy to help reduce the swelling of edema (fluid accumulation in tissues), or lymphedema (fluid retention in arms or legs after removal of lymph nodes).
Therapeutic massage causes electromagnetic energy to be transferred from the giver to the receiver, and vice-versa.
This type of energy transfer cannot be duplicated by gadgets or machines. (This is also known as qi – or – life energy). This human transfer is a significant part of the healing process.
Therapeutic massage also increases beta waves, which shows that a person is more relaxed after a competent massage session. This relaxed state lasts longer as the cumulative benefits of more therapeutic massage at regular intervals are experienced.
Weekly massage will make you look and feel years younger!
Massage therapy is so much more than a luxurious way to relax.
It is an investment in yourself and in your health. It should be regarded as proof to your dedication towards maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Take a mini vacation for an hour or two!
Get down to the specifics. See how significantly massage specifically affects your body and promotes for your better health.
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