About Massage - Benefits

Massage is the systematic and scientific manipulation of soft body tissue. It has been used for thousands of years for relaxation and to restore and promote the good health of both mind and body. Massage reduces stress, relieves physical tension, improves mental response and productivity, aids in the prevention of repetitive stress syndrome (RSI), increases cardiovascular efficiency, enhances the immune system and reduces injury recovery time.

When we experience sustained stress in our daily lives, our brain responds in a manner known as "fight or flight". This signals our sympathetic nervous system, which is controlled by the hypothalamus in the brain. Muscles tighten in our neck, shoulders and back, blood vessels constrict, our eyes dilate, large amounts of energy are expended as the adrenal glands excrete hormones. When this process continues for a long time, you feel "stressed out"!

Massage breaks this tension by triggering the parasympathetic nervous system (the body's way of conserving and restoring energy). Touch helps our body and mind to refocus and relax. Squeezing, stretching and kneading, release tight muscles and natural endorphines. This results in decreased pain, decreased heart rate, and a sense of calm.

Massage relieves muscle tension, enabling blood to flow freely and supply the body with necessary nutrients and oxygen. This increases cellular activity and improves mental response and alertness -- your whole system runs more efficiently, and you feel energized! The more massage you receive, the more supple and relaxed your musculature becomes.

Whether it's at home, at work, participating in sports, or just having fun, people are more vulnerable to RSI than ever before.

Some of the more common repetitive stress injuries we hear about include Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Tendonitis, Tenosynovitis and Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. Generally speaking, these conditions are the result of an inflammation of either the tendon, tendon sheath, or a muscle or muscle group. Repeating the same motion over a long period of time without alternating the motion or taking a break, may lead to these and other similar conditions.

Applying therapeutic massage to problem areas in conjunction with postural and lifestyle adjustments, including stretching, can help alleviate the pain associated with RSI. Using various massage techniques on isolated areas will help increase the blood flow to the injured area, flush out toxins, help restore lubrication to joint capsules, and help prevent scaring and restore range of motion. Manipulating these contracted muscles into a more relaxed state will also release entrapped nerves and relieve numbness and tingling in the extremities.

Squeezing, lifting, pressing and stretching soft tissue is a way of mimicking muscle movement. These massage strokes provoke the cell's inflammatory response to liberate Histamine, a vasodilator, which opens the blood capillaries, increasing circulation. Hence, the body replenishes its systems by circulating oxygenated and nutrient rich blood more efficiently.

The integration of deep tissue work and other massage techniques can help an injury resolve itself. Though painful at times, temporary relief of certain injuries can be achieved by applying deep friction to induce traumatic hyperaemia, which means to engorge the tissue with blood. It is also important to employ specific therapeutic movements to the affected area depending upon the type of lesion. This movement helps to prevent adhesions from forming.

When the body is invaded by foreign cells or substances, the immune response is triggered. The body dramatically increases its production of T-cells and B-cells, our first line of defense. The lymphatic system, with its vast network of lymph nodes, vessels and capillaries, is also a major part of our immune system. It circulates lymph fluid throughout the body and its organs, makes contact with these foreign substances and toxins, and assists in killing them.

The lymphatic system flows in part because of the contraction of skeletal muscles that compress lymph vessels and push the fluid through the body.

Massage can be of significant value when normal muscle function has been lost. Massage promotes lymphatic flow through the milking and squeezing of skin and muscle tissue; mimicking muscle movement. Inhalation and exhalation also enhance the flow of the lymphatic system. Massaging the upper body releases tight respiratory muscles, facilitating more movement throughout the chest cavity and increasing lymph flow.

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