Massage therapy has become an alternative to Western medicine. Being in the field of massage therapy for the past 13 years, I have seen many changes in our culture. I see more and more people turning toward Eastern culture, i.e. massage therapy, acupuncture, cupping and other modalities, to help in their healing process. There are many benefits of massage therapy, as you will see moving forward.
Benefits of Massage Therapy
Massage helps with relieving stress and tension in the body, as well as aiding in relaxation. As the body begins to relax, this allows the healing process to begin. This relaxation state is called parasympathetic nervous state. The body’s heart rate slows down, the blood pressure begins to drop, the breathing rate slows down, and the body is in a “rest and digest” state. This helps relieve muscle tension and stiffness, allowing the body to improve on posture, body balancing and realignment of the bone and joint structure. In turn, it helps alleviate discomfort and pain, fosters faster healing of strained muscles and sprained ligaments, reduces muscle spasms, enhances athletic performance, and can improve musculoskeletal problems. As the body begins the healing process through massage, it can promote deeper and easier breathing and improve blood circulation and movement of lymph fluids (which in turn removes toxins from the body). This can help with reducing blood pressure, strengthen the immune system, foster greater peace of mind, and promote a relaxed state of mental alertness.
The Mental Benefits of Massage
Just important as the physical benefits, as you will learn when studying the Eastern culture of massage therapy. There is a cause and effect in disease of the body. Mental stress can cause the body to begin breaking down at a cellular level over a period of time. Muscular tissue along with organ tissue can come under stress and tension, causing it to have to work twice as hard to perform. This state of being is called sympathic nervous state or “fight or flight”. Massage can help promote the ability of monitoring stress signals and help the body respond appropriately. It can help satisfy the need for caring and nurturing touch, which increases the production of endorphins and other neochemicals into the body. This can foster a feeling of well-being along with reducing stress and anxiety, thereby increasing awareness of the mind-body-spirit connection.
As the body’s energy begins to flow throughout the meridians, it opens up the gateway for better blood flow, improved lymphatic flow and easier breathing. With this increase of movement comes fresh blood, which brings nutrition, oxygen, and calcium to the bones, muscles, and other tissues of the blood; releases toxins through breath, lymph nodes, and urine; and helps to improve the overall health of the body.
There are many physical and mental therapeutic benefits of massage therapy. In sixty minutes, we are given the opportunity to work on body, mind, and spirit, in hopes of restoring the body back to its natural state of health.