To create a reflexive response in the body, massage therapy stimulates nerves and activates a reflex arc.
The body responds to pressure in both a mechanical and reflexive response. A mechanical response occurs as a result of pressure, force or range of motion when the tissues of the body are pulled, lifted, rubbed, compressed and manipulated. To create a reflexive response in the body, massage therapy stimulates nerves and activates a reflex arc.
According to the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA), 87 percent of individuals view massage as being beneficial to overall health and wellness. 89 percent of consumers surveyed believe that massage can be effective in reducing pain. 71 percent of consumers agree that massage therapy should be considered a form of health care.
Massage therapy involves hands-on techniques to increase circulation, relieve tension, reduce stress, relieve anxiety, improve sleep, and promote relaxation throughout the entire body, as well as many other benefits.
The body’s soft tissue areas include the muscles, tendons, connective tissue, etc. If someone is tense and in need of a release, or they have been injured and have extensive muscle and/or nerve tissue damage that plagues their body, massage therapy might be worth exploring. Here are some benefits of massage therapy on different body systems.
Benefits to your Muscular System:
- Massage increases the blood supply and nutrition to your muscles.
- Massage helps your muscles recover more quickly from exertion and fatigue.
- Massage relaxes your muscles, effectively reducing spasms, tension, and cramping.
- Massage reduces and breaks down adhesions (knots) and fibrosis.
- Massage stretches your connective tissue.
- Massage helps to re-establish your proper muscular tone.
- Massage reduces your muscle and soft tissue pain.
- Massage supports increased work capacity and encourage your metabolism.
- Massage helps to prevent muscular atrophy (wasting from injury and paralysis).
Benefits to your Skeletal Systems:
- Massage improves the circulation and nutrition of the joints and helps increase your range of joint movement.
- Massage reduces joint strain and compression by releasing tight muscles and tendons.
- Massage increases the ease and efficiency of your movements.
- Massage helps to increase the retention of nitrogen, phosphorous, and sulfur in the bones, and this aids in fracture healing.
Benefits to your Circulatory System:
- Massage increases the nutrition of the tissues via an increased exchange of fluids and materials.
- Massage, via the mechanical actions on the soft tissues, produces a dilation of the blood vessels which helps to improve your circulation.
- Massage helps to reduce the lack of blood and by direct pressure and stimulation reduces pain due to the irritation of nerves that control your circulatory system.
- Massage enhances the elimination of the waste products of your metabolism.
- Massage helps to reduce any swelling and contusions.
- Massage increases the number of red blood cells in your circulation.
- Massage has the overall effect of lowering your blood pressure and reduces your pulse rate*.
- Massage facilitates tissue healing through the enhancement of circulation.
- Massage increases tissue fluid and assists lymphatic circulation thus reducing swelling and enhancing the immune and filtering activities of this system.
- Massage increases both your venous and lymphatic flow
- *Its shown to normalize blood pressure so it may raise the pressure in individuals with low BP.
Benefits to your Nervous System:
- Massage can have a sedative, stimulating, or even exhausting effect on the nervous system depending on the type and length of treatment given.
- Massage stimulates the touch, pressure, and proprioceptive receptors of the skin and underlying tissue.
- Massage helps to balance the autonomic nervous system.
- Massage relaxes the muscles and helps to reestablish proper tonus through its effect on the neuromuscular reflex pathways.
- Massage is known to affect the neurotransmitters of the brain and increase endorphin secretion in particular (natural painkillers).
- Massage can help reduce nerve entrapment through the release of soft tissue or muscular binding.
- Massage can reduce nerve root compression caused by muscular tension.
Benefits to your Digestive and Excretory systems:
- Massage aides the normal movement throughout your alimentary canal assisting with many dysfunctions through its stress releasing effects.
- Massage increases the excretion (via the kidneys) of fluids and waste products of protein metabolism, inorganic phosphorous, and salt in normal individuals.
- Massage can facilitate elimination through the large intestines by mechanically stimulating peristalsis and improving tone.
- Massage stimulates peristalsis and can reduce cramping or spasm in the digestive tract.
Benefits to your Skin:
- Massage helps to reduce tension in the skin and adjoining tissues as well as increasing its circulation and improve its nutrition.
- Massage depending on the medium used to apply it can help to re-moisturize and soften dry skin.
- Massage can help with some skin conditions like eczema, but please check with your Doctor to make sure that what you have is not contagious.
Benefits to your Respiratory System:
- Massage deepens and normalizes the breathing pattern through relaxation, and release of tension in the breathing structures, both the rib cage and the muscles of respiration.
- Massage can help to relieve congestion in the lungs through percussive and compressive movements.
- Massage increases the action of the heart, stimulating the blood flow to and from the lungs, helping with the elimination of waste and the absorption of oxygen.