Benefits of Massage Therapy
By Mike Metzger
Massage has been around for several thousand years. Many historians have documented that massage was practiced in early Mesopotamia (which is now Iraq) as early as 5,000 b.c. Further research concludes that Egypt (4,000 b.c.), China (2,700 b.c.), and India were also practicing massage.
It’s amazing these early civilizations had a good understanding of anatomy, with the capability to properly diagnose ailments and prescribe treatments. Thanks to documentation written on ancient clay tablets, papyrus, and in paintings, evidence is available in museums around the world that massage was used as a healing art.
The following are some of the many benefits of massage therapy.
1. Increased blood circulation. Blood flow is increased to the tissues (muscles, tendons, skin, organs etc.). Massage helps to deliver essential nutrients (vitamins and minerals), oxygen, and water molecules. The increased blood flow also helps to carry toxins and metabolic waste from the tissues and out of the body. These detoxifying effects result in healthier, more relaxed, pliable, and productive tissue.
2. Massage helps to further detoxify the body by increasing the flow of the circulatory and lymphatic systems. Any time the flow of these systems increases, ischemia, or lack of oxygen, is decreased. Dead or damaged tissue cells, toxins, chemicals, artificial dyes, pollen, and so on are mobilized through the veins and filtered through the lymphatic, digestive, and respiratory systems, and the urinary tract, more rapidly and efficiently.
3. When massage therapy is practiced professionally and therapeutically (especially in conjunction with a medical professional) it can speed up the healing process of the human body. As the muscles, tendons, fascia, and skin become more pliable, relaxed, and healthier, the massage triggers the body to release endorphin (natural pain reliever) production.
4. People who receive massage regularly also get the consistent benefit of having a more restful night’s sleep. Many massage techniques help to decrease the sympathetic nervous system response so the body goes into a more parasympathetic state. In a parasympathetic state, our bodies respond to massage in a way similar to sleeping or taking a nap. During this state most of the body goes into a “replenishing” or restoration mode.
5. Massage helps to increase flexibility and range of motion. Because massage increases blood flow to the tissues and the joints, the muscles become more pliable and the joints more lubricated as a result of increased synovial fluid inside the joint.
6. Most types of massage help speed blood and lymphatic flow toward the heart, easing the stress on the heart and thus lowering the blood pressure. This also helps the lymph nodes to increase the filtering or “cleansing” of the lymphatic fluid, promoting a cleaner, healthier environment inside the body overall. Massage strengthens the immune system, decreasing the chance of sinus/allergy problems, colds, flu, and even postoperative surgery problems.
7. With all the benefits listed above, massage also increases human productivity. Through receiving massage, our bodies can work more effectively when we work, play, compete in sports, and even just running our daily errands.
8. The power of the human touch is very therapeutic and relaxing for most people. It creates a sense of well-being and helps to destress not only our bodies but also our minds. It’s important for people to slow down and do something relaxing and healthy for themselves. Massage works wonders.
I urge all of you to seek out a professional certified massage therapist who has invested his or her time and money in a quality education from an accredited school. Receiving massage by a reputable certified massage therapist is a healthy stress buster for all of us and helps to boost our local economy.
Mike Metzger, Chico Therapy Wellness Center, 530-891-4301 www.chicotherapywellness.com