Massage can be relaxing, but more study is needed to prove it helps with back pain or trigger points. More research is also needed to confirm that massage increases the body’s oxytocin and serotonin levels, which can improve mood.
During massage, oil or lotion is used to help your therapist move their hands over the surface of your skin. They may use effleurage, petrissage, and kneading strokes. Visit Website for more information.
When we get stressed out, our bodies produce unhealthy levels of cortisol. This can cause many problems from sleeplessness to digestive issues and more. Massage has been shown to decrease cortisol in the body, allowing your body to enter a rest and recovery mode. It also triggers a series of brain chemistry responses that encourage relaxation and reduce stress levels.
During a massage, friction is applied to the soft tissues of the body which increases their temperature and stimulates the release of feel good hormones such as endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine. These hormones help alleviate pain and reduce the feeling of stress and anxiety.
Another way massage helps to reduce stress is by releasing muscle tension. Tight muscles often develop from injury, overuse and even due to a lack of flexibility. Massage improves muscle elasticity by increasing the tissue’s pliability which helps decrease the tightness and pain. It also increases the range of motion and decreases the chance of injury.
In addition, massage stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system which is responsible for returning the body to a balanced state. Massage is especially useful before a stressful event such as an exam or job presentation. It can help balance the body before a mental challenge and reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Massage has been shown to increase blood circulation which is beneficial for the muscle and soft tissue health. It is thought that the increased flow of blood allows for better delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the muscle cell. This helps the muscle cells function more effectively, and may help to reduce the build-up of lactic acid from strenuous exercise or trauma.
The increased blood flow caused by a massage may also assist in reducing swelling. This is because it decreases the pressure on the lymphatic system which carries away fluids and waste products from the muscle cells. This allows for a faster and more efficient muscle recovery. Massage can help improve your overall wellbeing by decreasing stress, releasing feel good hormones and improving muscle flexibility and circulation. So what are you waiting for?
Massage is effective in treating chronic pain by disturbing the signals sent to the brain from nerves that perceive touch as painful. During a massage, the friction between skin and fingers or hands causes an increase in blood flow to the treatment area which relaxes muscles and reduces tension and tightness. This allows muscle fibers to stretch and the range of movement is increased. Inflammation and edema (swelling) are also reduced by massage.
Muscles and joints that are tense can cause stress, which in turn leads to an increase in pain levels. Tense muscles can also contribute to reduced functioning due to comorbid health conditions, deconditioning and decreased activity. In a 2010 study published in the International Journal of Neuroscience, researchers found that stimulating pressure receptors – or nerves under the skin that convey pain-reducing signals to the brain – with moderate pressure during massage decreased symptoms of fibromyalgia. The pain reduction was attributed to lowered heart rate, lower blood pressure, reduced anxiety and depression, decreased muscle spasms and an increase in oxytocin (the hormone that increases social bonding and feelings of well-being).
Organs can also benefit from massage as they share neurological pain pathways with muscles, bones, and nerves. Research has shown that when organs are stressed, tense, or inflamed they can trigger a chain reaction resulting in low back pain, menstrual cramps, arthritis, and even heart disease. Massage has been shown to increase range of motion in patients with osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia by decreasing the stiffness of their joints and increasing the flexibility of their muscles.
Massage has been shown to reduce migraine headaches in a clinical trial. This was attributed to the decrease in the level of’substance P’, which is a neurotransmitter that transmits information on the pain pathway in the nervous system. Massage has also been shown to increase the production of cytokines, which are substances that inhibit inflammation and reduce pain. A variety of massage techniques are available, such as Swedish, deep tissue and myofascial (trigger point) massage, each with their own unique benefits.
Increased Blood Circulation
One of the more commonly promoted benefits of massage is increased blood circulation, which is supposed to deliver more oxygen and other nutrients to muscle tissue. However, research supporting this claim is somewhat inconsistent.
Many studies that directly measure blood flow find that massage increases skin temperature and blood flow in the rubbed area, but not in deeper muscle tissue (1 inch or 2.5 cm from the surface). This superficial heating and increased blood flow is known as capillary hyperemia.
It is also possible that the mechanical action of massage (squeezing and pulling) stimulates muscle tissue to pump more fluid toward the heart. The increase in venous and lymphatic flow may then help to stimulate arterial blood flow as well.
For some people, especially those with poor veins or those taking medications that affect blood pressure or circulatory function, this might be problematic. In these cases, the therapist should focus on shortening session length and slowing down the pace of massage to avoid pushing blood too fast through the body.
The same studies that find a direct increase in blood flow to the skin and muscles also find that massage decreases muscle fatigue after exercise. This is probably due to the aforementioned increased blood flow, which allows for faster delivery of oxygen and other nutrients to the muscles, and to the reduced tightening and clenching of the muscle in response to pain or perceived threat to the muscles.
Other benefits of massage include helping to flush out the muscles and joints of accumulated waste materials such as lactic acid, uric acid, and other metabolic byproducts. Massage also improves the circulation of lymph fluid, which carries metabolic waste away from the muscles and internal organs. Studies of infants have found that massage can improve motor skills, behavioral problems, and levels of oxytocin, a hormone associated with social bonding and trust. Moreover, abdominal massage has been shown to alleviate chronic constipation by increasing bowel movements.
Boosted Immune System
Research has shown that massage helps to naturally increase the cytotoxic capacity of the immune system (the ability of your body’s natural killer cells to kill off viruses and bacteria). Studies also show that massage can enhance the lymphatic system, which is responsible for removing toxins from the body. Having a strong immune system is key to fighting off the germs that we encounter in our daily lives. Massage is a natural way to give your immune system a boost and help to fight off disease, including the common cold.
Stress is one of the primary reasons that a person will get sick, and regular massage reduces this stress. When a person receives a massage, their body releases “feel good hormones” like serotonin and dopamine. This helps to reduce the number of antibodies produced by the immune system and increases a person’s resistance to infection.
Another benefit of getting a massage is that it improves sleep, which also helps to keep the immune system healthy. When a person sleeps well, they are able to recover better from the day’s stresses and have more energy to combat toxins and other damaging agents in their environment.
The effleurage and petrissage techniques used in Swedish massage, as well as in lymphatic drainage massage, are also great immune-boosting power plays. The squeezing and pulling action of these massage types stimulate the movement of lymph fluid throughout the body, which removes waste and toxins from tissues, helping the body to more quickly process metabolic wastes. This increased blood circulation helps the body to transport disease-fighting white blood cells to where they are needed most.
In a study, 20 HIV positive men received 45 minute massages five days a week for a month. Compared to the touch control group, the massage group showed a steady pattern of increased circulating lymphocytes and an increase in cells that are viewed as the first line of defense in the immune system.
In addition to a well-balanced diet, proper exercise and plenty of rest, adding massage to your weekly routine will help strengthen your immune system so it can keep you fighting fit! Call us today to book your introductory session and start feeling the health benefits of this amazing therapy.