Benefical Effects of Massage Therapy

Massage therapy is a type of physical therapy in which a trained practitioner uses manual techniques to manipulate the soft tissues of the body in order to normalize their function, reducing pain and stiffness. It may be used as a medical treatment, alone or in conjunction with other therapies, or simply to induce relaxation and increase general well-being.

Increased Circulation to Soft Tissues

Massage therapists use their hands to manually manipulate soft tissues, including muscles, tendons, ligaments and connective tissue. This increases circulation of blood to the area being massaged, bringing oxygen into the tissues, which helps to facilitate healing and loosen stiff, rigid tissue.

Enhanced Immune Function

According to the Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals (ABMA), massage stimulates the flow of lymph. The lymphatic system is an important part of the body’s immune defense system and is also responsible for carrying waste and toxins out of tissues, enhancing the body’s immune response.

Decreased Pain

Massage therapy can be used to treat a variety of conditions that cause chronic pain, such as fibromyalgia and arthritis. Massage therapists can focus their work on specific points in the body where there are adhesions, scar tissue that has formed into stiff, rigid bands. Loosening these adhesions can provide much relief from associated pain. Deep tissue massage, in particular, targets these deeper levels of musculature.

Increased Relaxation

Therapeutic massage causes the body to release mood-enhancing chemicals, including dopamine and seritonin, while simultaneously lowering the levels of the ‘stress hormone’, cortisol. This relaxation response lowers blood pressure and heart rate, improve functioning of all body systems and creates a feeling of general well-being. The effects of massage therapy are cumulative, meaning that regular visits to a therapist will result in longer-lasting effects.