Massage has been used as a therapeutic modality in most traditional and folkloric medicinal practices. In western medicine, it has been more closely associated with the physical therapy profession. Massage is almost always equated with spa treatments and massage clinics.
One of the more pronounced benefits of massage is the promotion of muscle relaxation which can significantly lead to a generally relaxed mood and well-balanced mental and emotional states. The release of pent-up tension from the different muscle groups as they are massaged is interpreted by the brain as a signal to start the rest and recovery process. This is one of the reasons why the relaxing effects of massage can still be felt long after the completion of the massage session.
Many of today’s work environments invariably produce posturing that can be best described as poor. Slouching while sitting or not maintaining the body in perfect alignment can lead to a variety of musculoskeletal problems that can include stiff neck, frozen shoulder, lower back pain, and neck pain among others. Fortunately, any problems in posture can be remedied with the methodical and purposeful realignment of the individual body parts through massage. With chronic postural problems, some of the tissues in between bones, muscles, and joints would have clung together that it becomes quite difficult to untangle them on your own. Massage will attempt to break this entanglement so that you can regain your posture and lead a relatively pain-free existence.
While the action of gentle gliding pressure on the skin can be seen as superficial, the tissues that are pulled in the direction of the massage can effectively improve the flow of blood towards the heart. Because veins are the more superficially located blood vessels compared to arteries, massage is often therefore performed in motions that move from the farthest parts of the body towards the heart. This facilitates the return of blood to the heart where it can be replenished with the much needed oxygen. The improved venous return can effectively reduce venous congestion in the lower extremities. This can significantly affect the formation or development of varicose veins. Varicosities occur because of venous congestion. Removing congestion in the lower extremities will also remove varicosities.
One component of massage is stretching. This effectively increases the spaces in between tissues so that corrective measures can exert their positive effects. Since massage involves a lot of kneading, stretching, and applying pressure on muscles, tendons, joints, ligaments, and other connective tissues, the overall effect is one of improved flexibility. Range of motion exercises can be best facilitated when the concerned joint is rendered relaxed first.
Promotes More Efficient Breathing
While it is very uncommon to massage the chest region, sometimes it is often necessary to help relieve the muscular tension that may have built in the accessory muscles of respiration. Additionally, by improving overall posture, massage can greatly improve the way a person breathes. The overall relaxing effects of massage can signal the brain to go into a state of rest and restoration. Additionally, because massage can improve blood circulation and return of blood to the heart, more blood molecules are present for oxygenation in the lungs allowing for deeper and more efficient respirations.
Facilitates Detoxification and Cellulite Control
One of the many beneficial effects of massage is by promoting lymphatic drainage. Sometimes, lactic acid build-up in muscles needs to be removed. Toxins from the food that you eat are sometimes stored as cellulites. This is one of the reasons why a lot of cellulite treatments use a combination of anti-cellulite products with massage in order to achieve the best possible result. The massage action facilitates the removal of toxins and other waste products from the more superficial structures and into the different lymph vessels that lie parallel to veins. This makes massage an excellent detoxification treatment.
Relieves Headaches and Some Types of Pain
Massage is often used to provide relief to some types of pain such as migraine headaches, fibromyalgia, arthritis, and lower back pain. Muscle and joint manipulation has been shown to dramatically improve the ability of the body to initiate repair and restorative processes. More importantly, massage has been known to stimulate the release of serotonin and other endorphins which act as a feel-good hormone so you will naturally not feel the pain.
There are many other health benefits of massage and various types of massages.The key point to understand about massage is its ability to induce a generalized state of relaxation. If you feel relaxed, you will feel much better.