The body’s various systems work together. Massage therapy is designed to help multiple systems improve their function at one time. The muscles will certainly feel more relaxed, but the entire body will benefit from the process and effects of massage therapy. Regardless of the type of massage – sports medicine, deep tissue, or Swedish, massage therapy is directly related to reducing the tension stored in the muscles. When the muscles become overloaded with tension and stress, blood circulation is decreased and the lymph system becomes less productive at filtering toxins.
Fortunately, the body has a built-in relaxation response that is directly activated by massage therapy. The relaxation responses that massage therapy triggers are an involuntary response by the body’s nervous system. A person’s heart rate slows, breathing slows and blood pressure goes down – the signs of a relaxed body start to appear very early in the massage process! In addition, the relaxation response reduces the amount of stress hormones produced throughout the body, and muscles immediately begin to relax.
The relaxation response allows the physical process of massage to take effect. A massage therapist will target soft tissue areas that are tense or adding to tension, including muscles, tendons and ligaments. Because the relaxation response aids in increasing circulation and increasing serotonin in the body, massage therapy’s relaxation and healing benefits extend far after the actual massage is over. The connectedness of the body’s soft tissues with its underlying organs means that improving the condition of one allows the other to function better. The body will be stronger, healthier, and more resilient in many different ways after massage therapy!
If someone is dealing with pain of any kind, massage therapy can be a great resource to alleviate discomfort. Massage therapy is often used as a treatment for nerve compression disorders like sciatica, and may even help heal or reduce scar tissue and speed the healing of connective soft tissue tears. When the body becomes more flexible and relaxed through massage therapy, it’s are able to withstand a greater range of motion, more pressure on joints and tendons and it will find a reduction in inflammatory symptoms (like those of arthritis and edema).
In fact, massage therapy has been around for thousands of years and has helped millions of people across different cultures. The physical benefits of massage therapy are priceless, and the emotional benefits are no less healing. Reducing stress, pain, and tension can improve sleep patterns, which in turn reduces mood disorders like anxiety and depression in many people. Massage therapy is truly a physical, emotional, and mental healing and relaxation miracle.
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