Benefits of Massage
One of the main concerns of the human body is maintaining homeostasis. What is homeostasis? Simply put, in a word, homeostasis is balance. Our bodies are constantly adjusting and re-setting to maintain balance, which is essential for our well-being and quality of life. In 2001 in the U.S., the American Pain Association estimated that chronic pain affected approximately 86 million Americans. Pain is noted to be the most frequent complaint brought to physicians in North America.
Regarding chronic pain, John F. Barnes, PT states in his book Healing Ancient Wounds, “For over three hundred years scientists have mistakenly thought that the human being could be fragmented. Medicine, surgery and electronics have great value when used appropriately. However, it has been estimated that medicine, surgery and traditional therapy is only effective approximately 10% to 20% of the time.”It comes as no surprise then, why so many people seek alternative ways to deal with their pain.
MUSCLES & CONNECTIVE TISSUE
Even though therapeutic massage and myofascial release can have a profound effect on many of the body’s systems, the primary scope of these modalities lies in the manipulation of muscles and connective tissue. What is connective tissue? It is called fascia and it is the most abundant tissue in the human body. Fascia literally holds us together. Muscle tendons and ligaments are made of fascia. Fascia surrounds every muscle fiber. Lines of fascia weave throughout our bodies from head to toe literally holding everything in its proper place, right down to each individual cell. When we encounter fascial and muscle dysfunction, the result is usually pain and discomfort, loss of range of motion in our bodies and, very importantly, a loss of well-being and quality of life.
If a person’s pain is caused by muscle/connective tissue dysfunction, therapeutic massage and myofascial release can play a vitally important role in the restoration of body function, elimination of pain and restoration of well-being and quality of life. The American Massage Therapy Association noted that 47% of the people polled in a consumer survey used massage therapy and bodywork to relieve and manage their pain, and 91% said massage therapy was effective in reducing pain.
MUSCLE AND CONNECTIVE TISSUE BENEFITS:
- Relieves pressure of fascial restrictions that can cause chronic pain.
- Provides better joint flexibility and range of motion.
- Relieves chronic tension headaches caused by soft tissue dysfunction and can assist in the relief of migraines.
- Encourages blood vessel dilation and the production of red blood cells.
- Promotes postural alignment.
IMMUNE SYSTEM SUPPORT
Nervous System – We are living in a culture that, in general, promotes a lifestyle of mental and emotional stress. We spend too much of our waking time in Fight or Flight. If we stay in this response for too long, we can experience fatigue, anxiety, depression and insomnia. Therapeutic massage and bodywork puts the body into the Rest and Repose response.
Lymphatic System – Our lymphatic system is responsible for the removal of metabolic waste material from our cell tissue. This plays a vitally important role in the optimal function of our immune system. When metabolic waste material accumulates in the body it causes edema and fatigue. Specific therapeutic techniques stimulate the lymphatic system to enhance its function.
Endorphins – The study of endorphins and their impact on the human body is very recent. Scientists discovered endorphins (endogenous morphine) in the mid-seventies and found that these neurotransmitters in the brain have pain-relieving properties similar to morphine. Recent studies suggest that endorphins enhance the immune system, relieve pain, reduce stress and retard the aging process. Besides behaving as a pain regulator, endorphins are also thought to be connected to physiological processes including euphoric feelings and appetite modulation. Endorphin research suggests that there is a link between emotions and a healthy immune system.
IMMUNE SYSTEM BENEFITS INCLUDE:
- Promotes restful sleep.
- Enhances the health and nourishment of skin.
- Stimulates lymphatic circulation.
- Relieves physical stress and tension, allowing for greater oxygenation of the cell tissues.
- Floods the bloodstream with endorphins – our body’s free, non-addicting pharmacopoeia that allieves pain and promotes a sense of well-being and euphoria.
There is no doubt that therapeutic massage & bodywork is one of the most luxurious, pleasant experiences one can choose as one of the components in maintaining good health. It is an enormously health-promoting, life-enhancing, affordable modality that is available to everyone.