REDUCING PAIN AND MUSCLE TENSION
Massage relaxes tense and tight muscles, eases aches and pains, mobilises the joints and regulates blood and lymph circulation.
Physical and mental relaxation induced by massage has been proven to be effective in relieving the symptoms of stress and thereby reducing health problems.
IMPROVE FLEXIBILITY AND RANGE OF MOTION
Massage is a great method of maintaining and improving flexibility and range of motion. By working the soft tissues regularly, massage keeps your joints more fluid and makes them less prone to injury.
STRENGTHENS THE IMMUNE SYSTEM
Research has indicated that regular massage increases the body’s number of T cells, which improve the body’s ability to fight infection. This may be attributed to the increase in serotonin levels associated with regular massage, as this hormone is key for immune function.
HOW MASSAGE HELPS
Massage is perhaps one of the oldest healing traditions. Many ancient peoples – including the Ancient Greeks, Egyptians, Chinese and Indians – were convinced of the therapeutic properties of massage and used it to treat a variety of ailments.
Massage therapy is the practice of kneading or manipulating muscles and other soft-tissue in order to improve wellbeing or health. It is a form of manual therapy that includes holding, moving, and applying pressure to the muscles, tendons, ligaments and fascia.
The term ‘massage therapy’ is used to describe a wide variety of techniques that vary in the manner in which touch, pressure and the intensity of the treatment is applied. Higher levels of relaxation, which reduce stress, anxiety and sleep enhancement.
Massage therapy helps to increase circulation bringing newly oxygenated blood to the muscles and removing waste more effectively.
Poor posture is the number one culprit for back and neck problems, and there is a lot of tension in both of these areas. When the body is inactive, circulation to the limbs is reduced which in turn decreases the oxygen delivery and nutrients to the muscles. If you add poor posture into the mix, then this can produce a large number of musculoskeletal disorders with symptoms that include pain, tingling, discomfort and swelling at the joints and muscles.
In addition, poor posture combined with the loss of bone density and flexibility as you age, can be a perfect platform for a large number of back, shoulder and neck issues e.g. lower back pain and rotator cuff diseases. Therefore, when your body is aligned properly, your bones rather than your muscles, tendons, ligaments support your weight and strain/impact on the body is greatly reduced.
LOWERS BLOOD PRESSURE
High blood pressure or hypertension is a silent killer, has very little symptoms and is strongly associated with cardiovascular disease. Research has indicated that a consistent massage program can significantly reduce systolic and diastolic blood pressure, cortisol levels and lowers depression, anxiety and aggression. High cortisol levels are associated with heart disease and strokes, and this is one of the major reasons for reducing the levels of this ‘stress’ hormone. If you have hypertension or hypotension, you will need written consent from your GP to undergo massage therapy.
IMPROVES FLEXIBILITY AND RANGE OF MOTION
Massage is a great method of maintaining and improving flexibility and range of motion. By working the soft tissues regularly, massage keeps your joints more fluid and makes them less prone to certain injuries. Therefore, massage relaxes stressed muscles, stimulates blood flow and improves flexibility. This combined with a solid stretching routine is excellent for maintaining a healthy lifestyle, can enhance athletic performance and reduces injuries!
PROMOTES DEEPER AND EASIER BREATHING
Massage plays an important role in training you how to relax and improve your breathing. Respiratory issues such as allergies, sinus problems, asthma and bronchitis have been shown to be helped with massage. It acts upon the muscles in the front and back of the upper back, which are tight and shortened during these ailments; massage lengthens and relaxes these muscles which improves breathing.
Massage also improves posture, which can open up the airways via the rib cage expanding and proper structural alignment required for improved breathing mechanics. When the parasympathetic nervous system responds to massage, breathing is slower and more relaxed.
Headaches or migraines are debilitating and are typically associated with high stress levels or lack of sleep. Massage has two key functions in the treatment of migraines and tension headaches:
• It helps the body to maintain optimal levels of relaxation and stress relief via relaxing muscle spasms and trigger points. This is a proactive role where prevention is better than cure.
• In a comfort role, massage of the neck, shoulders and head can ease the pressure, pain and discomfort caused by the tension of the headaches.
• In addition, massage aids sleep, helps with relaxation and reduces daily stress.
Clients with chronic pain often turn to massage therapy to help naturally improve their quality of life. Massage releases serotonin, which is the body’s natural production of an anti-pain chemical. Fibromyalgia and arthritis are two diseases that can be positively impacted. If you suffer from chronic pain, it is important that you have a toolbox for pain relief; therefore, massage has the following benefits on chronic pain:
• It lowers anxiety, depression and improves mood.
• Increases range of motion.
• Increases sleep and this is associated with a reduction in pain.
EASES BACK PAIN
Back conditions are on the increase and this is mainly due to the fact that the human race has grown so much in what is, in evolutionary terms, a very short period of time. Bone-deforming illnesses such as rickets and rheumatic fever are, thankfully, a thing of the past in the Western world, and this, coupled with a great improvement in nutrition and the care and welfare of infants, has meant that people are now taller than they were even a couple of generations ago.
Extra body fat gives some additional protection against bone and joint problems, such as higher levels of oestrogen (stored in body fat) that help mobility of joints and retention of good calcium level in bone. However, being seriously overweight brings its own health problems (high oestrogen levels can increase the likelihood of cancer), and obesity will also naturally put a strain on the joints, because of the extra weight they have to bear.
Another cause of back problems among those living in the Western world is lack of exercise. Always using cars and elevators instead of walking, leads to a weakening of the abdominal muscles. If these are not able to give enough support to the upper back, pain will result. Our increasingly sedentary lifestyle can also lead to back problems in other ways: pain can result from poor posture caused by spending the working day hunched over a computer.
Spinal problems often show up as pains or stresses experienced in other areas of the body. Lower back problems can cause pains in the knees, calf muscles and feet. The reverse is also true, as, for instance, when pregnancy or a broken leg cause a patient to adopt a stance that puts a strain on the spine and back muscles. Neck conditions can affect the shoulders and arms, with pain and tingling radiating right down to the tips of your fingers.