Firstly I would like to apologise because over the next five minutes you are going to feel like your back in a school science lesson. So please try and stay awake and hopefully you will find this interesting. If not interesting then and least informative!
I often get asked as a massage therapist. “Are there really any health benefits to massage therapy? Surely this is just for relaxation”.
My answer always starts the same way….. The benefits of regular massage therapy are numerous and affect every one of the bodies systems.
In case you’re wondering what the body systems are we have 9 body systems:
- The muscular system
- The skeletal system
- The cardio-vascular or circulatory system
- The respiratory system
- The lymphatic system
- The endocrine (hormone) system
- The reproductive system
- The urinary system
- The digestive system
Today I am going to talk you through the benefits on the first 3 systems. If I do any more you will all definitely be asleep, starving and losing the will the live!
So firstly the muscular system
The benefits to the muscular system may appear to be obvious. Muscles as we know are fibres that stretch and contract when we move in our day to day lives. They are able to contract to 50% of their normal length and stretch to 150%. Massage relaxes and stretches the muscle fibres helping them to return to their normal relaxed length, whilst also improving muscle tone and flexibility.
When we put our muscles through stress and overwork them the muscle stays in a contracted state. This causes imbalance in the body resulting in aches and muscle pain. Also the muscles pull the posture out of alignment and can constrict blood flow.
Next is the Skeletal system
As stated above massage improves posture. Once the muscles are relaxed and lengthened, posture will improve.
Massage also improves mobility. If a person has poor range of movement or pain within joints it is usually caused by drying of synovial fluid, which is the fluid that lubricates our joints. This causes friction and decreased range of movement. Massage warms the synovial fluid making it less viscous. Thus this will ease the friction in the joint and then improving the range of movement.
3rd and finally on our list for today is the Cardio-Vascular System
Massage increased blood flow around the body to the extremities (arms, legs, hands and feet) and also increases venous blood flow from the extremities back to the heart.
Massage also helps lower blood pressure. Tight muscles create a resistance to blood flow. This is known as peripheral resistance which leads to an increase in blood pressure.
Think of a garden hose when the water is switched on and someone puts their foot on the hose the water builds up and is unable to flow as well as it could before. Tight muscles act in the same way and it becomes difficult for blood to flow through and pressure builds up back at the heart. Relaxed muscles will therefore reduce blood pressure.
So as you can see from reviewing only the first 3 body systems the benefits of massage therapy are extensive and numerous.
I’m sure we all know at least one person who can benefit from regular massage treatments and I hope that now you have some further understanding of the effects of massage on your body systems and not to mention the sense of wellbeing and relaxation that occurs from Swedish massage and other holistic massage techniques you will be able to talk confidently to your friends and family about the benefits.