By Holistic Health Therapies 2022
Aside from being an important part of personal care, Massage Therapy is increasingly prescribed within the complementary and integrative health care model and is increasingly recommended along with standard treatment for a wide range of medical conditions spanning the mental, emotional, and physical spectrum of imbalances and diseases.
Massage Therapy can be beneficial throughout the healing cycle, including for prevention, during treatment, and maintenance when executed by skillful, informed practitioners.
Studies have shown that the benefits of Massage Therapy have been known to include:
Reducing stress and increasing relaxation
Reducing pain, muscle soreness, and tension
Improving circulation, energy, and alertness
Lowering heart rate and blood pressure
Improving immune function
Improving joint function or joint range of motion
Here’s how Massage Therapy Can Work for Pain Management
Massage Therapy Can Improve Mood
The emotional value of touch and its effects on mood and mental health are profound though it can sometimes be difficult to measure.
Research has shown that touch has many physiological effects. Touch is neurologically complex, the skin itself is rich in nerve endings, and researchers have even identified the existence of specialized nerve fibers that respond only to light stroking at specific rates.
Massage Therapy and healing touch can also trigger the autonomous sensory meridian response, creating euphoria.
Research has also shown that Massage positively affects mood and has been known to reduce depression and anxiety.
Massage Therapy Can Reduce Muscle Tension, Stress and Can Be Relaxing
Massage can be relaxing both psychologically and physiologically.
Skillful manipulation of the muscles can help ease muscle tension, elongate fascia, and soothe tissue.
Massage can have a soothing effect on the skin and nerve endings and can aid in reducing pain and some forms of nerve pain or nerve impingement.
Studies have shown that Massage Therapy can positively affect decreasing levels of cortisol and increases levels of serotonin and dopamine, hormones that affect stress, sleep, and mood.
Additionally, Massage can activate the parasympathetic nervous system, the part of the autonomic nervous system that invokes the relaxation response.
Massage Therapy Can Reduce Muscle Tightness and Can Improve Joint Function
Muscles work in pairs; in many cases, some muscles are overused, overworked, or compensating for other under-functioning structures. This can be expressed as tightness, adhesions, or spasming and the development of compensation patterns, which can negatively affect joint alignment and function.
A solid understanding of anatomy, alignment, and joint function, combined with the skillful application of Massage strokes, can address these patterns, along with retraining.
Massage Therapy Can Reduce Muscle Soreness and Speed Injury Recovery
When injury is present, tissue damage may occur; swelling and soreness may be present, and nerves may be impinged.
Therapeutic Massage can aid in injury recovery by helping nourish tissue while increasing blood flow to affected or surrounding areas.
Massage can also help evacuate waste fluids through a lymphatic-type massage, reducing lymph-related swelling (see below).
In many cases, compensation patterns develop and cause secondary issues, including reduced range of motion, a-symmetries, and joint misalignment.
Nerve pain caused by impingements may be positively addressed thru skillful therapeutic Massage.
Experienced manual therapists should only carry out medically related Massage on injured tissue or swelling.
Massage Therapy Increases Circulation and Can Aid in the Elimination of Waste Fluids.
Blood provides oxygen and food to muscle tissue. Skillful massage strokes can nourish tissue by pumping fresh blood and oxygen to it while also flushing waste products out, which can be both nourishing and hydrating to the tissue.
Massage therapy can aid in evacuating other metabolic fluids, including lymph and interstitial fluid (the fluid that surrounds cells), which also provide both nutrients and aid in removing waste products from cells.
In the skin, facia, and connective tissue, circulation, and blood flow can be positively improved as well.
Massage Therapy Can Reduce Swelling, Moves Lymph
Lymphatic Massage is a form of Massage that moves lymph thru the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is its own system and is a subset of the circulatory system that is responsible for immune function.
When edema or swelling is present, Lymphatic Massage can be necessary and even lifesaving by helping to manually evacuate accumulated fluid in a system that is not operating optimally.
Non-lymph-related “Swelling” can also result from blood engorging an affected area from muscle overuse, strain, or trauma. A slightly different approach may be taken in these cases.
To learn more about Lymphatic Massage, read my Article on Lymphatic Massage.
Massage Therapy Can Detoxify
For the same reasons mentioned above, Massage can be detoxifying by oxygenating and moving nourishment to tissue with fresh blood while also evacuating stagnant fluid from tissue to be reabsorbed by the circulatory system.
Massage can also stimulate and evacuate lymph thru the lymph system and speed the evacuation of other waste fluids from tissues.
To learn more about how Massage Therapy can benefit you, schedule a consultation.
Your opinions and comments are welcome in the comments section!