Traditional Therapeutic Massage
Massage increases the circulation of
blood and flow of lymph. The direct mechanical effect of rhythmically
applied manual pressure and movement used in massage can dramatically
increase the rate of blood flow. Also, the stimulation of nerve
receptors causes the blood vessels (by reflex action) to dilate,
which also facilitates blood flow. This has a profound effect on
The following are the key effects of
- Reduced muscle tension. Massage
affects the muscles throughout the body. Massage affects the muscles
and other soft tissues throughout the body. It loosens contracted,
shortened, hardened muscles. Massage can stimulate weak, flaccid
muscles. Chronic muscle tension reduces the circulation of the
blood and movement of lymph in an area.
- Improved blood circulation.
The oxygen capacity of the blood can increase 10-15% after massage.
By indirectly or directly stimulating nerves that supply internal
organs, blood vessels of these organs dilate and allow greater
blood supply to them.
- Better lymph movement. Lymph
is a milky white fluid that drains impurities and waste away from
the tissue cells. A component of these wastes is toxins which
are the by-products of metabolism. So, it is a vital to our health.
Muscular contraction has a pumping effect that moves lymph. Massage
and exercise help to move lymph.
- Increased mobility and range of
motion of joints. Massage provides a gentle stretching action
to both the muscles and connective tissues that surround and support
the muscles and many other parts of the body, which helps keep
these tissues elastic.
- Stimulated or soothed nervous
system. Massage balances
the nervous system by soothing or stimulating it, depending on
which effect is needed by the individual at the time of the massage.
- Enhanced skin condition.
Massage enhances the skin condition by improving the function
of the sebaceous and sweat glands, which keep the skin lubricated,
clean, and cool.
- Better digestion and intestinal
function. Massage increases
the body's secretions and excretions. It increases the production
of gastric juices, saliva, and urine. There is also an increased
excretion of nitrogen, inorganic phosphorus, and salt. As a result,
the metabolic rate increases.
- Relief of acute and chronic pain.
Massage can promote recovery from the fatigue and from minor aches
- Beneficial effects on the internal
organs and the immune system
- Reduced swelling
- Reduced stress
- General relaxation
- Overall improvement in physical
health and the quality of life
(Source: Encyclopedia of Alternative
Medicine, Jennifer Jacobs, MD, MPH, Consultant Editor