What can massage therapy do for you?

Yes, a good massage feels pretty amazing. But what does it actually do that is so beneficial?

  • Massage boosts circulation. Every cell in our body is dependent on a healthy supply of blood – which delivers oxygen and nutrients to the body tissues – and lymph, which helps to remove wastes and toxins. Massage frees tissue congestion by moving stagnant blood out of a tightened area and flooding it with new, fresh blood. Better circulation enhances the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to muscle cells, and as cellular health improves, tissues function more efficiently.

  • Massage reduces stress. Do you get ill when you’re stressed? We know that stress reduces the immune system’s ability to fight off infections such as the common cold. Although we are able to recover from short-term stress quickly, long-term stress can be dangerous, as it commonly leads to high blood pressure. Massage techniques stimulate the part of the nervous system called the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps the body to redress the balance and calm down from stress, or “rest and digest”. By engaging this system, massage can help induce a deep sense of relaxation which has huge benefits to your body and mind’s well-being.

  • Massage can help with headaches. Stress and headaches are frequently linked. By a similar route as relieving stress, massage therapy can reduce the frequency, duration and severity of headaches and migraines, especially when received regularly, as a long-term treatment. Deep-tissue massage can also relax strained muscles and free compressed nerves, which may be the root cause of headache pain.

  • Massage increases flexibility. Friction strokes during massage dilate the blood vessels and increase the temperature of the muscle, encouraging trapped fibres, felt as ‘knots’ to loosen.  By working into these fibres, they are realigned back into place, which increases mobility and flexibility.

  • Massage promotes good sleep. Massage is linked to the chemistry of sleep because it can directly influence the body’s production of serotonin, which contributes to our well-being and happiness, and the creation of melatonin, which regulates sleep and wakefulness. Massage also reduces levels of the hormone cortisol, which helps our body respond to stress or danger. This encourages a feeling of calm restfulness and promotes undisturbed sleep.  A 2004 study by The University of Auckland, NZ, found massage stimulated “a reduction in migraine frequency, fatigue, and improved sleep quality” and “reductions in state anxiety”.

  • Massage lessens pain.  When a muscle is chronically tense, it can compress the surrounding nerves, causing you pain. This is what causes pain in conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome.  But as massage strokes are applied, they stretch out and relax tense muscle tissue fibres, releasing compressed nerves.  In the same way, massage pushes oxygen into these now-stretched fibres, reducing painful muscle spasm. This can be very beneficial for people with conditions affecting the nervous system, such as Multiple sclerosis.

  • Massage reduces blood pressure. Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries. During a massage, the contact with and mobilisation of skin, muscle and other tissues stimulate receptors that send messages of relaxation to the central nervous system. These responses cause the blood vessels to dilate, resulting in decreased heart rate and blood pressure.

  • Massage helps prevent and heal injuries. When muscle tissue is tight and inflexible, it is likely to tear or pull. Blood cannot easily flow through tight muscle, and injury healing is slow. Massage increases flexibility and mobility, which keeps you supple and reduces your chance of injury.  By loosening muscle fibres, pushing healthy blood through congested areas and removing metabolic waste e.g. lactic acid, massage helps to speed up recovery time. Massage also increases the immune system’s white blood cells – which protect the body against infectious disease and foreign invaders – keeping you in great condition.

So, what are you waiting for? Book a massage today to see how massage can benefit you!


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