No doubt you’ve heard good things about massage – how it can ease away aches and pains, helping with post-injury rehabilitation and all manner of physical and physiological issues. Have you ever though wondered how massage actually works? Well, now here’s your chance to find out.
When your body is massaged, physiological changes in your body are caused by two different responses: the relaxation response, and the mechanical response.
What is the relaxation response?
Part of a massage involves an invitation for you to relax, which triggers a response within you. What happens is that the rate at which your blood pumps blood around your body slows, as does your breathing. Your muscles will also relax, and your production of stress hormones will decrease.
In addition, the level of serotonin released will increase. This is a hormone that can effect emotions and your general feeling of well-being. As a result, a massage will leave you feeling less stressed and less likely to develop symptoms associated with stress-related illnesses such as hypertension, anxiety, insomnia, fatigue and other psychological issues.
What are mechanical responses?
The physical manipulation of your muscles will result in an increase in blood and lymph circulation, as well as the relaxation of soft issue such as muscle fibres, connective tissue, tendons and ligaments. This manipulation will release nerves and improve the function of connective tissues.
Blood and lymph circulation is improved by soft tissue being manipulated, coupled with chemicals released via the relaxation response. Because circulation is improved, more oxygen and nutrients are delivered to muscle cells, which makes them function in a more efficient manner.
Manipulation can also improve the manipulation of waste products, the absorption of excess fluids and the reduction of swelling.
The second-most important aspect of massage therapy is the relaxation of muscle tissue, which helps to reduce muscles spasms and contractions which can become painful. When muscles contract, they often compress the nerves around them. When the muscles become relaxed, they no longer compress nerves, which in theory means they will increase the nerve functioning.
The efficiency of nerves is important. In order for your body to function as it should, it needs to send and receive messages from your nervous system, so if nerves become compressed they will not work as well as they need to do.
An expert masseur will be able to massage deep-lying muscles such as those attached to the spine. These muscles cannot be accessed directly, but they can be manipulated by massaging layers of muscle closer to the surface of the skin.
Even your internal organs can benefit from a massage as they share the same neurological pathways as the muscular structure, the skeleton and nerves. When any of these physical systems are not functioning as they ought to be, the functioning of your organs can be affected too. For example, if you have pain in your lower back, then menstrual cramps can be much more debilitating.
You’ll be surprised at all that a massage can achieve, as it provides benefits to your muscular, skeletal and nervous systems, and even to your internal organs.
With Valkyrie Personal Training and Massage, you can benefit from sports massage in the comfort of your own home in Bromley, Beckenham, Orpington and all surrounding areas – contact me for more details by calling on 07973 483314.