Massage is a general term for spinal manipulation techniques such as stroking, tapping, kneading, and holding steady pressure to eliminate fatigue and improve blood circulation. Massage causes physiological changes in the body through mechanical and relaxation responses. The physical manipulation techniques used in massage increase blood circulation and relaxation of the soft tissues. Relaxation responses increase the level of serotonin that has positive effects on thoughts and emotions. People use massage for a variety of reasons related to health and general wellbeing. This article looks at some of the uses of massage therapy and why it is practiced as complementary and alternative medicine.
- Muscle Relaxation
Massage therapy is used to relax muscle tissues. This helps to reduce frequent contractions and spasms that cause pain and discomfort. When your muscles contract, they compress the nerves around them causing tension. Massage eases the tension in your muscles, which allows the nerves to operate more efficiently. The mechanical responses improve the functioning of these muscles by enhancing your range of motion.
- Pain Management
Massage promotes increased blood flow to sore muscles and stiff joints. This triggers the release of opioids, which are natural painkillers in the brain. It also increases the flow of oxytocin hormone that encourages feelings of calmness and relaxation. Massage therapy is used for different types of pain such as lower back pain, neck pain, and headaches. Physicians use it as complementary and integrative medicine for patients suffering from arthritis and other medical conditions that cause lower back pains.
- Stress Relief
One of the best ways to soothe anxiety and depression is by having a massage. It stimulates relaxation responses that create a state of calmness and enhancing the ability to rest. All these qualities are very essential for reducing stress and promoting healing. Some of the common stressors people experience include lack of sleep, excessive noise, enforced immobility and social isolation. The techniques used in massage therapy counteracts these stressors by improving your range of motion, eliminating fatigue, and promoting sleep. It is also done in a quiet room, which gives you peace of mind and a feeling of relaxation.
- Improve Blood Circulation
The physical manipulation of soft tissues increases blood circulation throughout the body. It relieves muscle tension and constricted blood vessels, which in turn increases the supply of oxygen and essential nutrients to different parts of the body. Tissues can function more efficiently the more cellular health is improved. The efficient functioning of body tissues reduces inflammation and increases the absorption of excess fluids that are vital in the body.
- Treat Injuries and Promote Healing
Massage therapy can be used for treating chronic pain and injuries related to repeated muscle use. Athletes benefit from deep tissue massage, which targets the inner later of the muscles. Doctors and physicians recommend massage as an alternative medicine to muscle pain or sports-related injuries. It can be used to treat muscle stiffness and tendon injuries by focusing on the parts of your body that hold the most tension such as the neck, back, and shoulders.
- Improve Posture
Massage can loosen muscles made sore by exhibiting bad posture that allows the body to position itself in its normal posture. Not only does poor posture give you an awkward appearance but it also causes some muscles to work harder than others do. It presses down on your internal organs limiting blood circulation around these vital components of the body. The techniques used in massage helps to relieve pressure points giving you greater freedom and control over your posture. Once your body adjusts to a healthy and natural posture, it avoids the positions and movements that develop over time as a reaction to pain.
- Boost Your Overall Immunity System
Massage therapy not only reduces pain and helps you relax but also benefits your immune system. A series of massage therapy sessions increases the number of lymphocytes in your body. As a result, it increases the number of white blood cells, which play a huge role in protecting your body from disease-causing microorganisms. It reduces the levels of inflammation, promotes better sleep, and suppresses the stress hormone cortisol, which plays a role in aggressive behavior.
A massage covers a large number of health issues, which contributes to an improved sense of well-being. According to several studies, having a regular massage can improve the ability of your body to deliver nourishment. Physicians recommend it as complementary and alternative medicine for people suffering from medical conditions such as arthritis. It can also be a good addition to any other exercise program you may have adopted to improve your health and personal lifestyle.