Why should I get massage?

Massage has long been shown to have physical and emotional benefits in maintaining wellness and in the therapeutic healing of injury and disease. We also focus on the palliative and stress reducing properties of massage therapy.

Mental Benefits:

* Improved sleep and alertness - Massage helps the body to slow down and improves sleep. It also increases oxygen circulation, which aids alertness.

* Reduced stress - Massage activates the parasympathetic system to counteract the body's stress response.

Physical Benefits:

* Deep relaxation - Massage stretches and loosens tight muscles and helps make the body aware of unconsciously held tension.

* Release of muscle tension/stiffness and improved joint flexibility - Massage can improve range of motion and movement.

* Pain reduction - The activation of nerve receptors can temporarily block chronic pain signals from reaching the brain. Massage also helps stimulate the release of endorphins, which are the body's natural painkillers. Ischemia, or reduced circulation, can cause pain that is relieved by massage.

* Improved blood and lymph circulation - Increased blood flow to the heart can reduce fatigue and help the body rid itself of metabolic wastes.

* Headache relief - Headaches of a circulatory nature, or stress headaches, can often be alleviated by massage.

* Strengthened immune system - Regular massage can help reduce the occurrence of secondary infections.

* Improved skin tone - Massage dilates the capillaries of the skin, increasing nutrients and removing toxins.

* Improved respiratory function - Tapotement can help loosen and clear mucus from the lungs. Massage on the intercostal (rib) muscles can improve chest expansion and increase airflow to the lungs.

Emotional Benefits:

* Increased sense of well-being/reduction of anxiety - The nurturing attention of caring touch can calm and soothe and provide a sense of connectedness.

Latest Massage Therapy Research

Recent studies have brought new understanding to how massage therapy helps muscles repair after overuse. It was often thought that massage removed lactic acid buildup from the tissue but Dr. Mark Tarnopolsky, a researcher at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, who has studied the cellular effects of exercise for decades, performed muscle biopsies in both legs of healthy young men before and after they'd undergone strenuous exercise, and then a third time after massaging just one leg in each individual.

Comparing tissues from each subject's massaged leg with tissues from his unmassaged leg, Tarnopolsky and his team found that massage therapy reduced exercise-related inflammation by dampening activity of a protein called NF-kB.

Massage also seemed to help cells recover by boosting amounts of another protein called PGC-1alpha, which spurs production of new mitochondria — tiny organelles inside cells that are crucial for muscle energy generation and adaptation to endurance exercise.

So we help reduce inflammation and increase production of mitochondria!

Links related to Massage Therapy Research

External link opens in new tab or windowNational Library of Medicine & NIH PubMed Search

How does massage therapy relieve pain and stress ?

Massage helps to increase the circulation within muscles that is key to maintaining healthy tissues. Good circulation supplies cells with nutrition, antibodies, hormones and enzymes, along with oxygen for energy production. It also aids the process of elimination of wastes that irritate the tissue. Healthy tissues are pliable, free from pain, spasms, adhesions, swelling and have adequate self-healing capabilities in tact.

Massage also triggers the release of endorphins and reduces the level of stress hormones. It can also slow the heart and breathing rate, aiding organ recuperation and better immune function. Regular massage therapy can establish a balance within the nervous system helping to alleviate nervous conditions like insomnia, irritability and anxiety.

What can cause muscle pain ?

Some scenarios can disturb the health and balance of tissue metabolism causing pain, stiffness and decreased mobility. They are : stress, overactivity, under-activity, diabetes, incorrect body mechanics or injury. Massage therapy can help muscles recover. Massage imitates the wringing effect of normal muscle action. When the muscle is bogged down or in spasm, massage can hasten the elimination of irritating by-products, break-down adhesions, and speed up the inflow of nutritive substances. This restores integrity and balance to the muscles. It also soothes nerve endings, and enhances flexibility.

What can I expect from routine visits?

Receiving regular massage is a way of life. It decreases stress, strain and pain and increases relaxation and body awareness, creativity and productivity. It is also a preventative therapy. You don't have to be in pain or overly stressed to benefit. Our bodies respond best to a rhythm when seeking to engage it into a healing mode. Each mindful massage builds onto the last one on its way to increasing a better quality of life. A rhythm of twice a month or monthly is most beneficial. For those suffering from anxiety, insomnia, high blood pressure, depression or those making life-changes, or individuals doing repetitive activities, like musicians and athletes, for example, are especially suited to highly benefit from regular visits.