MASSAGE FOR A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE

 

It is still alarming to me when I hear that someone has never experienced a massage.  With the hectic pace of life and stresses we are constantly encountering, massage is one of the best resources available to help combat the negative effects of stress.  Stress and illness go hand in hand.  Think of stress as a precursor to illness.  When faced with stress our bodies can release hormones that will decrease circulation. If circulation slows, digestion will also slow. Under stress our heart will work harder and our breathing will become shallow.  

Through massage every body system receives benefits that will reverse the effects of negative stress. 

  1. Immune
    Massage aids in lymphatic drainage. This is important because lymph is a fluid that is responsible for the removal of toxins and waste within our bodies. Lymph will travel to lymph nodes located in various regions of our bodies, where the waste will be filtered and eliminated.  
  1. Circulatory
    Through the applied pressure used in massage, local circulatory changes take place.  Arterial blood provides oxygen and nutrients, while venous blood eliminates carbon dioxide and other metabolites. Improved circulation is then vital for normal body function.  
  1. Nervous
    Massage has the ability to relax or stimulate our autonomic nervous system. Commonly we recognize this systems as sympathetic (“fight or flight”) or parasympathetic (“rest and digest”). 
  1. Endocrine
    This system is our hormonal system.  
    Massage can increase the following neurotransmitters;
  •  
    • Dopamine-helps with focus and fine movements
    • Serotonin-helps regulate mood and the feeling of relaxation
    • Oxytocin-connected and intimate feeling (bonding)

 
 

  1. Respiratory
    By massaging muscles of respiration, rib cage expansion will increase, therefore increasing breathing capacity. Massage also loosens mucus which will in turn promote airway clearance. 
  1. Muscular
    Massage directly manipulates muscle tissue. Through this massage can decrease muscular tension, spasm and pain. All of these will improve mobility and function within the muscle. 
     
  1. Skeletal
    Our joints in our body are vital for movement. A Massage Therapist would be able to improve joint motion by reducing tension in the muscles surrounding the joints or through loosening the joint capsule (fibrous tissue that binds the joint). Indirectly through the increase of circulation, joint nutrition will be supplied and therefore more lubrication within in the joint allowing for greater range of motion. 
    With all these benefits, massage whether it is relaxation or treatment-based, is a valuable part of an individual healthy lifestyle.

 

By Rosanne Gross RMT

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