Massage Releases Tight Muscles
Muscles can become tight and ineffective for many reasons. Stress, injury, poor circulation, incorrect posture, 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 affect the quality of your everyday life. Massage therapy stretches and loosens tight muscles and connective tissue, breaking down and preventing further formation of adhesions and improving your range of motion.
Massage Interrupts the Pain Cycle
The Pain Cycle is a result of moving in ways to avoid pain, leading to muscle imbalance and joint stress which cause further pain. Massage therapy helps to identify and correct the conditions that cause chronic pain and activates the body’s natural healing process.
Deep tissue techniques such as trigger point therapy and myofascial release have an analgesic effect which block pain signals from reaching the brain. The second is by the stimulated release of endorphins (the body’s natural pain killer) into the brain and nervous system to reduce your feelings of pain and discomfort.
Massage Increases Blood Circulation
Like a sponge that is squeezed, a tight muscle cannot hold much fluid nor can it allow much fluid to pass through it. This decreases your blood circulation and places stress on your heart. Massage therapy releases contracted muscles and pushes venous blood towards the heart, easing the strain on the heart. This also helps bring nutrients to the cells and carries away metabolic waste products that can make you feel listless and drained. In addition, massage therapy increases your body’s oxygen carrying red blood cell count helping to bring more oxygen to your body’s cells.
Massage Helps You to Sleep Better
Tension caused by everyday stress can emotionally drain you; robbing you of the patience and stamina you need just to cope with day-to-day life as well as disrupting your sleep leaving you tired and irritable. Massage relaxes your tense muscles and calms your nervous system, causing your body’s rhythm to slow down, blood pressure lowers, your heart rate and breathing becomes deeper; all of which promotes deeper relaxation.
Massage Strengthens the Immune System
The lymphatic system is a major factor in your body’s battle to ward off infection and heal injuries. The lymphatic flow can become sluggish, especially so in those that have less active lifestyles. Massage therapy not only improves the circulation of blood and its vital nutrients, but also increases the circulation of lymph, thus helping your body to fight off infection and speeding your recovery from injuries and illness.
Massage Reduces the Effects of Stress
A high percentage of all visits to primary care physicians are for stress related complaints such as headaches, backaches, neck pain, eyestrain, poor concentration, anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, heart disease, ulcers, as well as physical and emotional exhaustion.
The antidote to stress is known as the total relaxation response, which is triggered by the parasympathetic branch of the central nervous system. Massage therapy activates your body’s parasympathetic nervous system; it counteracts your body’s negative response to stress, relaxing muscle tension, stabilizing your heart rate, blood pressure and circulation. Massage can also help you become more aware of your body, which in turn helps you to identify when you are becoming tense.
How long do the effects of massage last?
The duration of the effects of a massage vary greatly from person to person depending on your physical and mental condition, activities, ability to relax, and ability to heal. If you are receiving massage to help heal injury or to get rid of chronic pain, you usually need to receive weekly massage until you reach that goal.
The effects of regular massage are cumulative. If you are receiving massage for prevention, health maintenance, or just to feel better, a massage every week or two can make a big difference in your overall health and tension levels.
How often should I receive massage?
A monthly massage is highly recommended.
Make regular massage part of your health maintenance program (along with good nutrition and exercise), and you’ll feel better.
The Top Ten Reasons to Get a Massage
1. Massage heals by assisting the body regain normal functioning.
2. Massage moves blood and lymph fluid for better circulation.
3. Massage breaks up scar tissue, giving tissue and bones better movement.
4. Massage promotes the flow of metabolic waste from muscles, organs, tissues for better elimination.
5. Massage stimulates digestion in the stomach and intestines.
6. Massage reduces inflammation and relieves pain.
7. Massage calms irritated nerves.
8. Massage stimulates tired muscles and relaxes tight muscles.
9. Massage eases stiff joints
10. Massage feels good
How To Get The Most Out of Your Massage
1. Your First Massage Appointment
When you arrive for your first appointment, you will fill out a client record that gives your massage therapist the information needed to offer you safe and effective massage.
You will discuss any pain or injuries you have and what you want from the massage. Depending on why you are receiving massage, your massage therapist may observe your body alignment or do other assessments (for example, check your shoulder movement if you have a shoulder injury).
Your massage therapist will then leave the room while you undress and relax onto the massage table, covering yourself with a towel. You are required to wear underwear – you will be covered at all times except for the area being massaged.
2. Before Your Massage…
Avoid a heavy meal for a couple of hours before your massage because massage on a full stomach may be uncomfortable.
Check your skin for any open cuts, scrapes, and scratches, and cover them with a bandage.
Let your massage therapist know how you felt after your last massage and about any changes in your health, pain, or injuries.
Be aware that massage is not recommended in the early or acute stage of cold or flu, because massage can help the virus spread through your body.
3. During Your Massage…
Tell your massage therapist if you are cool; massage is more effective if you stay warm.
Let your massage therapist know if you prefer different music or no music at all.
Tell your massage therapist if any part of the massage is too painful or too uncomfortable.
Breathe slowly, deeply, and evenly. When your massage therapist locates pain or tension, consciously try to relax the area by visualizing your breath flowing into the tension and then exhaling the tension with your breath.
Relax. Your massage therapist will tell you if he or she wants you to move or shift position.
4. After Your Massage…
Drink water to help flush out waste products moved around by the increased circulation created by massage.
Deep tissue or injury/pain treatment massage may leave you feeling sore for a day or two. If you were experiencing pain when you came in for the massage, the general expectation is that you may be sore the first day, but by the second day you should feel looser and probably have less pain. Let your massage therapist know how you felt, so that he or she can adjust the approach if necessary. Always call your massage therapist if you have concerns or questions.