Research continues to show the many incredible benefits of receiving massage, ranging from treating chronic diseases, neurological disorders and injuries, to alleviating the tension of modern lifestyles. A massage increases metabolism, hastens healing, relaxes and refreshes the muscles, and improves the detoxifying function of the lymphatic system. Massage helps to prevent and relieve muscle cramps and spasms and improves circulation of blood and lymph. The delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the cells can increase and enhance the removal of metabolic waste.
One of the beneficial effects of pressure applied to the skin is the stimulation of the sensory receptors, which in turn provides general relaxation, body awareness, and pain reduction. Massage can also provide physiological benefits to people with anxiety, emotional frustrations, and mental fatigue which exacerbate stress. Modern-day stress causes the release of hormones that create vasoconstriction and reduce circulation, making the heart work harder to facilitate optimal organ function. Massage will reduce stress to the central nervous system by releasing endorphins. Benefits such as mental alertness and clarity are related by increased sensory stimulation and circulation. The relaxation response is activated by the "fight or flight" parasympathetic nervous system, which brings balance back into the body.
Specific health benefits of the relaxation response are as follows:
- Increased levels of serotonin which protects against depression
- Reduced stress and tension
- Increased endorphin levels
- Decreased oxygen consumption and metabolic rate, thus less strain on the body's energy resources
- Eases medication dependency
- Relieves chronic and temporary pain
- Increased intensity and frequency of alpha brain waves associated with deep relaxation
- Promotes tissue regeneration and reduces scar tissue and stretch marks
- Reduced blood lactates, blood substances associated with anxiety
- Significantly decreased blood pressure in hypertensive individuals
- Reduced heart rate and slower respiration
- Decreased muscle tension
- Increased blood circulation to arms and legs
- Enhanced immunity by stimulating lymphatic flow
- Decreased anxiety, fears, and phobias, and increased positive mental health
- Reduces post-surgery adhesions and swelling
As you can see, massage can provide benefits for just about everyone. The more frequent the visits, the more benefits received. This is the beauty of massage therapy. Just because massage feels like a pampering treat doesn't mean it is any less therapeutic.