Massage therapy is a wonderful form of healing art that causes major physiological changes in your body by triggering mechanical and relaxation responses.
Mechanical responses are simply the physical effects that take place when varying amounts of direct pressure are applied to the soft tissues of the body. One of the major benefits that occurs from effective massage therapy is improved blood and lymph circulation, which initiates a chain reaction of sorts. The improved circulation enhances the delivery of oxygen to the muscle cells. This, in turn, leads to reduced swelling in the tissues and also allows them to function more efficiently.
When tissues are properly relaxed through effective massage therapy, there is less excessive muscle contraction, and much less likelihood that painful spasms may occur. Anyone who has ever had spasms in the neck, back, or shoulder areas knows how problematic these can be. When muscles are less stressed, or less contracted, there is a resulting decrease in nerve irritation as well. As the nerves (and all cells) are bathed and nourished with freshly oxygenated blood, they function more efficiently by transmitting messages to and from the brain more quickly.
In short, the mechanical response associated with good massage therapy will help the muscles, ligaments, and tendons of your body operate more fluidly and less painfully. Additionally, because your organs share a lot of the same neurological pathways, your whole body will mechanically function better and feel healthier from it.
Many massage techniques induce the relaxation response, initiated when the body’s nervous system slows down and one is drawn in to a quieter and more receptive state. This may be a less tangible, though no less important, benefit that occurs with nearly every massage therapy session.
The relaxation response causes your heart and breathing rates to slow down, your blood pressure to dip, and the level of stress hormones being released to decrease as well. These physiological reactions are important factors in and indicators of reduced anxiety and stress, hypertension, insomnia, and even digestive disorders. There’s more, but suffice to say it’s the relaxation response itself that keeps many people coming back on a regular basis for massage therapy to maintain a healthy body and mind.
Whether it’s the biomechanical benefits, the relaxation response, or both from professional massage therapy you’re looking for, you owe it to yourself to pick up the phone and call a professionally trained and skilled massage therapist today!