Introduction To The Benefits Of Massage Therapy We’ve all heard it, said it or thought it before, “I need a massage.” Once considered to be just hedonistic pampering for the rich and famous, massage therapy is now finding enormous popularity among millions of Americans. Massage therapy provides relief to people from all walks of life. The weekend athlete, the home gardener, the over stressed executive, secretaries, waitresses, laborers, virtually anyone can feel a need for massage therapy sooner or later. Numerous research studies conducted in the United States, Europe, and Asia have documented that far beyond simply “feeling good,” massage therapy has an impressive range of physical, mental, and emotional benefits.
MASSAGE REDUCES THE EFFECTS OF STRESS
MASSAGE RELAXES TENSE MUSCLES
MASSAGE INCREASES BLOOD CIRCULATION
MASSAGE DECREASES CHRONIC PAIN
MASSAGE STRENGTHENS THE IMMUNE SYSTEM
MASSAGE CAN IMPROVE NERVE FUNCTION
MASSAGE HELPS YOU SLEEP BETTER
MASSAGE IMPROVES SKIN TONE
MASSAGE REDUCES THE EFFECTS OF STRESS Up to 90% of all visits to primary care physicians are for stress related complaints such as headaches, backaches, neck pain, eyestrain, poor concentration, anxiety, depression, irritability, anger, high blood pressure, heart disease, ulcers, as well as, physical and emotional exhaustion.Massage therapy has an amazing effect on your body’s nervous system. When massage therapy activates your body’s parasympathetic nervous system, it reverses your body’s negative response to stress, causing your muscles to relax, your heart rate to slow, your blood pressure to lower and your circulation to increase. Massage therapy also helps you become more aware of your body and tension you may not be aware of. As you become more aware of your body, you will begin to recognize tension as it builds during the day so that you can consciously release it before it can have a negative effect on your body.
MASSAGE RELAXES TENSE MUSCLES Muscles can become tight and ineffective for many reasons. Stress injury, poor circulation, overuse, and misuse can all cause you pain and discomfort as well as restrict your normal range of motion. When left unattended, these conditions can become habitual and hamper the quality of your everyday life. Massage therapy stretches and loosens tight muscles, and connective tissue, breaking down and preventing further formation of adhesions, freeing your range of motion and reducing the dangers of fibrosis.
MASSAGE INCREASES BLOOD CIRCULATION When your muscles become tight, the muscle cells cannot hold much fluid nor can the vessels allow much fluid to pass through the muscles. This decreases the circulation of blood and increases the strain placed on your heart. Among the obvious problems that this can cause are muscle fatigue, swelling and the lowering of your energy levels. Massage therapy releases contracted muscles and pushes venous blood towards the heart, thus easing the strain on this vital organ. This increase in circulation brings essential nutrients and oxygen to your cells as well as carries away metabolic waste products that can make you feel sluggish and drained. In addition, massage therapy increases your body's oxygen carrying red blood cells which helps to bring even more oxygen to your body's tissue. MASSAGE DECREASES CHRONIC PAIN Far too many of us face our daily lives with chronic pain due to injuries or illness. Not only does massage therapy help to correct the conditions that cause chronic pain, but it also acts in two ways to decrease the actual pain itself. The first is by the trained touch of a massage therapist activating nerve receptor signals along myelinated nerve fibers to temporarily block chronic pain signals from reaching the brain. The second is by the stimulated release of endorphins (the body’s natural painkiller) into the brain and nervous system to reduce your feelings of pain and discomfort without the use of unnatural drugs.
MASSAGE STRENGTHENS IMMUNE SYSTEM The lymphatic system is a major factor in your body’s battle to ward off infection and heal injuries. The lymphatic flow is usually very sluggish in most people and especially so in those that have less active life styles. Massage therapy not only improves the circulation of blood and its vital nutrients, but also increases the circulation of lymph in your lymphatic system thus helping your body to fight off infection and speeding your recovery from injuries and illness. “If you have a massage every week you will have 2/3 less illness.” H.Gruenn, M.D. Los Angeles, CA
MASSAGE CAN IMPROVE NERVE FUNCTION Contracted muscles can press on or pinch your nerves causing tingling, numbness, or pain. Massage therapy relaxes these contracted muscles to relieve the compression on your nerves. Sensory receptors in the skin and muscles wake up bringing new awareness to areas that have felt cut off by chronic tension patterns.
MASSAGE HELPS YOU SLEEP BETTER Tension from everyday stress can disrupt your sleep causing physical and emotional exhaustion. This can deprive you of the precious energy needed just to face day-to-day life. Massage therapy relaxes tense muscles and calms the nervous system, causing your body’s rhythm to slow down. When this happens, your blood pressure lowers, your heart rate settles, and your breath becomes deeper and more rhythmic, priming you for a perfect night’s sleep.
MASSAGE IMPROVES SKIN TONE The sun, smog, poor diet, and the natural aging process all contribute to the drying, wrinkling, and general loss of the youthful characteristics of your skin. Massage therapy dilates the blood capillaries of the skin increasing the uptake of vital skin repairing nutrients and speeding the removal of harmful toxins. The improved circulation helps to moisturize your skin improving skin texture while relieving dryness and itching.