Stress can be a positive motivator when striving for a promotion or accomplishing an important task. Stress may be temporary, such as being stuck in traffic or delayed at the airport. However, the American Psychological Association states that stress may also be chronic — during financial difficulties, chronic illness or dealing with family issues. It is not necessarily the event, but rather your body’s response to the event that causes stress. When the brain senses any kind of stress, your heart rate and blood pressure rise, and your muscles tighten. Feelings of stress that continue for long periods have a detrimental effect on the body. Massage helps you relax, calming the mind and body and relieving your stress. (Considerations credit www.livestrong.com)
Up to 90% of all visits to primary care physicians are for stress related complaints such as headaches, backaches, neck pain, eyestrain, poor concentration, anxiety, depression, irritability, anger, high blood pressure, heart disease, ulcers, as well as, physical and emotional exhaustion.
Massage therapy has a profound effect on your body’s nervous system. When massage therapy activates your body’s parasympathetic nervous system, it counteracts your body’s negative response to stress, relaxing muscle tension and allowing your heart rate, blood pressure and circulation to return to normal.
Massage therapy also helps you become more aware of your body and your unconsciously held tension. As you become more aware of your body, you will begin to recognize tension as it builds during the day so that you can consciously release it before it can have a negative effect on your body.
MASSAGE RELAXES TENSE MUSCLES
Massage therapy stretches and loosens tight muscles, and connective tissue, breaking down and preventing further formation of adhesions, freeing your range of motion and reducing the dangers of fibrosis.
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 circulation of blood and increases the strain placed on your heart. Among the obvious problems that this can cause, this can leave you feeling fatigued and sore, reducing your precious energy reserves. Massage therapy releases contracted muscles and pushes venous blood towards the heart, thus easing the strain on this vital organ.
This increase in circulation brings energy producing nutrients and oxygen to your cells as well as carriers 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 even more oxygen to your body’s cells.
MASSAGE DECREASES CHRONIC PAIN
Far too many of us face our daily lives with chronic pain due to injuries or illness. Not only does massage therapy help to correct the conditions that cause chronic pain, but it also acts in two ways to decrease the actual pain itself. The first is by the trained touch of a massage therapist activating nerve receptor signals along myelinated nerve fibers to temporarily block chronic pain signals from reaching the brain.
The second is by the stimulated release of endorphins (The body’s natural painkiller) into the brain and nervous system to reduce your feelings of pain and discomfort without the use of unnatural drugs.
MASSAGE STRENGTHENS THE IMMUNE SYSTEM
Massage therapy not only improves the circulation of blood and its vital nutrients, but also increases the circulation of lymph in your lymphatic system thus helping your body to fight off infection and speeding your recovery from injuries and illness.
MASSAGE CAN IMPROVE NERVE FUNCTION
Contracted muscles can press on or pinch your nerves causing tingling, numbness, or pain. Massage therapy relaxes these contracted muscles to relieve the compression on you nerves. Sensory receptors in the skin and muscles wake up bringing new awareness to areas that have felt cut off by chronic tension patterns.
MASSAGE HELPS YOU TO SLEEP BETTER
Tension from everyday stress can disrupt your sleep leaving you tired, irritable and emotionally drained. This can rob you of the patience and stamina needed just to face day-to-day life. Massage therapy relaxes tense muscles and calms the nervous system, causing your body’s rhythm to slow down. When this happens, your blood pressure lowers, your heart rate settles, and your breath becomes deeper and more rhythmic, priming you for a perfect night’s sleep.
MASSAGE CAN GIVE YOU MUCH NEEDED RELIEF DURING PREGNANCY
Pregnancy is a time of major structural, physiological, spiritual and social changes. Some of these changes produce discomforts, which can be addressed with appropriate massage therapy.