Many of today's health problems can benefit from massage therapy because the manipulation of soft tissues affects so many of our bodily systems.
The benefits of massage are extensive. Massage therapy treatments will have a therapeutic affect and improve health by acting directly on the muscular, nervous, circulatory and lymphatic (immune) systems.
Massage treatments aim to:
Develop, maintain, rehabilitate or augment physical function.
Relieve or prevent physical dysfunction and pain.
Relax tight and tense muscles.
Improve circulation, recovery time and immune system function.
Reduce overall stress.
Massage therapy is also effective in the control of pain chronic or acute, in stress reduction, and in creating a sense of relaxation and well-being.Massage is the manipulation of soft tissue effecting a change in the surrounding tissue and structures.
Our bodies and posture are held in balance by the muscular system. In order for you to stand still there are various muscles throughout the body constantly tightening and slackening to maintain the stillness that you desire.
If one or more of your muscles becomes too tight or slack then your posture will be thrown out and your body will deliberately put other muscles out of there normal state of tone to compensate. If this is not corrected it will over a period of time be accepted by your body and you will have a permanent imbalance.
You will become accustomed to this over time and quite probably will not notice that you have a dysfunction until you try to do something which requires a normal full range of movement.
This is where massage therapy comes into its own for if the muscles being worked are too tight they will be relaxed and stretch, however if they are too slack then they will be toned and tightened.
If a joint is too tight causing stiffness then it will be released, or if too slack then it will be tightened, or rather the surrounding tissue that holds it in its proper alignment will be adjusted.
This is the main physical property to massage but it does have a pronounced effect on all the systems of your body, as well as relaxing you mentally and reducing emotional turmoil.
Massage was used extensively in the national health system up till the 1950s when it was abandoned, not because it was ineffective rather because it demanded a one to one approach which was deemed to costly in therapists time. They then taught their physiotherapists to use exercise and machinery which is why there is such a big difference between a NHS trained Physical Therapist and a Massage trained Physical Therapist.
General benefits of massage therapy
Massage feels good and it is a pleasurable experience.
Massage increases your body self awareness and sensitivity.
Massage reduces your stress, tension and anxiety levels.
Massage calms the nervous system and has a centring/balancing effect.
Massage relaxes, focuses and clears your mind.
Massage helps to improve and maintain your posture.
Massage helps to fulfil your need for a caring and nurturing touch.
Massage encourages self-esteem and a general feeling of well-being.
Massage increases your awareness of the whole being connection and improves your emotional awareness.
Benefits to your muscular system
Massage increases the blood supply and nutrition to your muscles.
Massage helps your muscles recover more quickly from exertion and fatigue.
Massage relaxes your muscles, effectively reducing spasms, tension and cramping.
Massage reduces and breaks down adhesions (knots) and fibrosis.
Massage stretches your connective tissue.
Massage helps to re-establish your proper muscular tone.
Massage reduces your muscle and soft tissue pain.
Massage supports increased work capacity and encourages your metabolism.
Massage helps to prevent muscular atrophy (wasting from injury and paralysis).
Benefits to your skeletal systems
Massage improves the circulation and nutrition of the joints and helps increase your range of joint movement.
Massage reduces joint strain and compression through releasing tight muscles and tendons.
Massage increases the ease and efficiency of your movements.
Massage helps to increase the retention of nitrogen, phosphorous, and sulphur in the bones and this aids in fracture healing.
Benefits to your circulatory systems
Massage increases the nutrition of the tissues via an increased exchange of fluids and materials.
Massage, via the mechanical actions on the soft tissues, produces a dilation of the blood vessels which helps to improve your circulation.
Massage helps to reduce the lack of blood and by direct pressure and stimulation reduces pain due to the irritation of nerves that control your circulatory system.
Massage enhances the elimination of the waste products of your metabolism.
Massage helps to reduce any swelling and contusions.
Massage increases the number of red blood cells in your circulation.
Massage has the overall effect of lowering your blood pressure and reduces your pulse rate.
Massage facilitates tissue healing through the enhancement of circulation.
Massage increases tissue fluid and assists lymphatic circulation thus reducing swelling and enhancing the immune and filtering activities of this system.
Massage increases both your venous and lymphatic flow
Benefits to your nervous system
Massage can have a sedative, stimulating or even exhausting effect on the nervous system depending on the type and length of treatment given.
Massage stimulates the touch, pressure and proprioceptive receptors of the skin and underlying tissue.
Massage helps to balance the autonomic nervous system.
Massage relaxes the muscles and helps to re-establish proper tonus through its effect on the neuromuscular reflex pathways.
Massage is known to affect the neurotransmitters of the brain and increase endorphin secretion in particular (natural painkillers).
Massage can help reduce nerve entrapment through the release of soft tissue or muscular binding.
Massage can reduce nerve root compression caused by muscular tension.
Benefits to your digestive and excretory systems
Massage aides the normal movement throughout your alimentary canal assisting with many dysfunction's through its stress releasing effects.
Massage increases the excretion (via the kidneys) of fluids and waste products of protein metabolism, inorganic phosphorous and salt in normal individuals.
Massage can facilitate elimination through the large intestines by mechanically stimulating peristalsis and improving tone.
Massage stimulates peristalsis and can reduce cramping or spasm in the digestive tract.
Benefits to your Skin
Massage helps to reduce tension in the skin and adjoining tissues as well as increasing its circulation and improve its nutrition.
Massage depending on the medium used to apply it can help to re-moisturise, and soften dry skin.
Massage can help with some skin conditions like eczema, but please check with your Doctor to make sure that what you have is not contagious.
Benefits to your respiratory system
Massage deepens and normalises the breathing pattern through relaxation, and release of tension in the breathing structures, both the rib cage and the muscles of respiration.
Massage can help to relieve congestion in the lungs through percussive and compressive movements.
Massage increases the action of the heart, stimulating the blood flow to and from the lungs, helping with the elimination of waste and the absorption of oxygen.