Benefits of Massage

Medical Benefits of Massage

The benefits of massage really are endless, so I’ll start with a basic list for those readers who like “short and to the point”.  If you are wanting to know more, keep reading past the bullets.

  • reduces headaches
  • reduces anxiety
  • decreases fatigue
  • prevents injuries
  • promotes better sleep
  • improves concentration
  • increases waste removal and elimination
  • strengthens the immune system
  • improves posture
  • promotes greater creative expression
  • enhances self-image
  • improves skin tone
  • increases muscle strength and muscle diameter
  • decreases fat weight, increases muscle weight
  • increases elasticity and resiliency of muscles
  • increases contraction ability of muscles
  • tired muscles recover faster and better
  • increases blood flow
  • removes lactic acid in muscle

Massage increases the circulation of blood flow and lymph bringing fresh blood and oxygen into the muscles.  It also stimulates nerve receptors causing blood vessels to dilate. Stress causes blood vessels to constrict (called vasoconstriction), which causes the heart to work harder, breathing to be more shallow and rapid, and digestion to slow.  “The most carefully planned diet is wasted if blood vessels are not developed and open. Massage can boost internal nutrition rates by improving circulation.”

Lymph is a milky white fluid in our bodies that carries impurities and waste fluids away from tissues, acting as a filter for our health and immunity.  Lymph does not circulate as blood does.  Its movement depends largely on the squeezing effect of muscle contraction (from exercise and/or massage).  Massage dramatically increases the movement of lymph.

“For the whole body to be healthy, the cells must be healthy.  The individual cells of the body are dependent on an abundant supply of blood and lymph because these fluids supply nutrients and oxygen and carry away wastes and toxins.  So it is easy to understand why massage can be so beneficial for the entire body due to its effect on circulation alone.”

Massage causes changes in the blood. The oxygen capacity of the blood can increase 10 – 15% after massage.

Massage affects muscles throughout the body. It can help to loosen contracted, shortened muscles and stimulate weak, flaccid muscles. This muscle balancing improves posture and provides for more efficient movement.

Massage increases the body’s secretions and excretions. There is a proven increase in the production of gastric juice (in the digestive system), increase in production of saliva, and increase in urine production after massage. Also increased are excretions of nitrogen, inorganic phosphorus and sodium chloride (salt). This suggests that the metabolic rate increases.

Massage affects the nervous system.  The nervous system is stimulated and/or soothed by massage.

Massage enhances skin condition, because it directly improves the function of the sebaceous and sweat glands which keep the skin lubricated, clean and cooled.

Massage affects internal organs by indirectly or directly stimulating nerves that supply internal organs. The blood vessels of these organs dilate and allow for greater blood supply,  which brings fresh oxygen and blood to the area/organs.

“When massage has been substituted for rest, an increase from 20 – 75% (even 100%) muscle recovery has been recorded.  That is why boxers are massaged rather than rested between rounds.” This makes a good case for chair massage in business settings.

Joints are critical and have a way of stiffening and settling when not used.  Massage counteracts this by increasing blood supply to the joints and relaxing the muscle tension that binds them.  Massage also aids in recovery from injuries such as sprains, strains and fractures.

“The relationship of stress and illness is of interest to anyone maintaining their health.  We all have stress in our daily lives relating to work, family, environment and society.  Mental tensions, frustrations and insecurity are among the most damaging.  Stress causes the release of hormones that create vasoconstriction (vessel shrinking) and reduce circulation.  Affected by stress, the heart works harder, breathing becomes rapid and shallow, and digestion slows. Every body process is degraded. Psychosomatic studies show how stress factors can cause migraines, peptic ulcers, hypertension, depression, etc.  Soothing and relaxing massage can help by counteracting stress effects.

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