Archive for December, 2013

How Massage Therapy Works

Written by: Julieta Hernandez Date of published: . Posted in Articles

If you have ever had a massage, you know it feels good. You also most likely experienced relaxation, as well as physical, emotional, and psychological benefits from your massage. Perhaps you are always in such a state of euphoria during and after a massage that you have never thought to wonder how massage therapy works.

Massage therapy works by causing physiological changes in your body, including mechanical responses and the relaxation response. When you receive massage therapy, you experience an involuntary and predictable nervous system response called the relaxation response. As physical pressure is applied during a massage to the soft tissues of your body, you experience the physical effects of the massage, or the mechanical response. As you experience both the relaxation response and the mechanical responses, you receive the physical and emotional benefits of massage therapy.

The Relaxation Response

Your body opens up during a massage and your personal barriers are removed, as you become more trusting in the massage therapist’s technique and touch. This trust is what allows you to relax. The feeling of relaxation, combined with the pain relief received during a massage, creates the relaxation response.

Physical signs of the relaxation response:

  • Slowed heart rate
  • Slowed breathing
  • Reduced blood pressure
  • Reduced production of stress hormones
  • Relaxed muscles
  • Increased levels of available serotonin (possible)

 

Not only does the relaxation response provide immediate benefits, but it can also help prevent the onset of stress related ailments like persistent fatigue, anxiety, hypertension, psychological issues, insomnia, digestive disorders, sexual dysfunction, cardiac arrhythmias, and more.

Mechanical Responses

The two main benefits of the physical muscular manipulation during massage therapy are:

  1. The normalization and relaxation of the body’s soft tissues, connective tissues, and nerves.
  2. The improvement of the circulatory and lymphatic systems.

Improvement in Circulation

Massage therapy can bring improvement to the lymphatic and circulatory systems. When the circulatory system is improved, it improves the delivery of nutrients and oxygen to the cells in your muscles. Healthier muscle cells lead to healthier and better performing muscles. Muscles are also able to remove waste products, further improving their health.

Relaxation of Tissue

Muscles get sore and can even experience spasms. Massage therapy relaxes the muscle tissue. Massage also eases nerve compression. During muscular contraction, not only is the muscle contracted and compressed, but also the nerves around the contracted muscle. By relaxing the muscle, the nerves around the muscle are also no longer compressed and are allowed to relax.

Pressure and touch applied to the skin and muscles of the body relaxes muscles and nerves. Even certain deep muscular structures can experience the side benefits of massage therapy. While it is not always possible for a massage therapist to relax and heal tissues situated deeper in the body, deeper tissues oftentimes relax, because the more superficial layers of muscle have relaxed and are no longer contributing to the contraction or compression of the deeper tissues.

Massage therapy works by triggering two responses in the body: the relaxation response and mechanical responses. Through technique, touch, and the manipulation of the muscles of the body, massage therapy is able to provide immediate and long term benefits to its recipients. Plus, it just plain feels good.

How Often Should You Get a Massage?

Written by: Julieta Hernandez Date of published: . Posted in Articles, Massage

Depending on the reason or reasons why you are getting a massage in the first place, really depends on often you should get a massage. It also depends on you, your health; how you were the last time you got a massage, the price of the massage and your budget.

Contact Your Massage Therapist

First off you should schedule a meeting with a massage therapist to discuss your concerns and ask any questions you may have. At the same time you will discuss a schedule depending on why you would be seeing them in the first place.

Some people get a massage to help with relaxation, but in most cases massages are obtained to help ease muscle and joint pain. These massages help by supporting proper functions of the body, inclusive of joint flexibility and blood circulation. Having these type of massages on a regular basis helps ease pain, stress points and muscle tension. Every three to four months these sessions can be scheduled.

Times of Higher Stress

There may come times that you experience higher stress due to work related issues or any number of issues in your environment. This causes tightly knotted muscles in your back, arms and shoulders which then can decrease the amount of movement within the body and a significant increase in pain. Getting a massage once or twice a month can help reduce the amount damage that can be done to your body caused by stress and lack of movement.

When it comes to being intensively physically active or even an athletic person, having a professional massage therapist and having routinely frequent massages that are specialized can help enhance someone’s performance. At that same time this can help prevent injury and speed up the recovery time of a muscle injury. Massaging can help strengthen muscles before a sport activity and also help heal muscles afterward.

Physical Therapy

If you are looking to be treated for a chronic pain or illness, there is specialized and specific plan that you would need to speak with your therapist about and get a plan together that would benefit you. These plans can be anywhere from once a month to several times a week, depending on what you would need to be treated for.

Some expectant mothers can have massages depending on where they are in there pregnancy, on any number of aches and pain. These will have to be performed by Certified Pregnancy Massage Therapist and done once or twice a month. Always check with doctor to make sure it is safe and appropriate for you.

As long as you are generally healthy and have no chronic conditions, it is generally safe for you to get a massage. If you need to be treated for anything, that should be treated first, or discussed with your therapist. If you felt better or worse after your last massage, this should be assessed with your therapist first to evaluate your plan to make sure you are getting maximum affect of their efforts. At the same time of all these issues, your main concern of course is your pocket book. Make sure you take full advantage of any coupons or specials that your therapist has, and that this is as affordable to you as possible so you are not adding stress to your body while trying to make yourself better.