Massage therapy is an excellent form of stress-relief and health improvement that almost anyone can benefit from. Anyone who has had a massage can testify to its relaxing, soothing effects, to feeling like a weight has been lifted off their shoulders. This is a subtle science that relies on touch and the body’s responses to it, and there are many ways in which massage therapy can be applied to foster well-being in an individual’s life. Here’s what you should know about massage therapy and how it can help you.
What Is A Massage?
Massage therapy is the process of manually stimulating muscles, tissues, tendons and ligaments to improve their function and movement. The body generally has two different reactions to this treatment: relaxation and mechanical. A skilled therapist will know how the body works in these areas and can manipulate these physical responses to produce the desired effects of relaxation, healing and improved circulation.
When careful, caring touch is applied to the muscles and pain relief begins, the body begins to produce a relaxation response. This response is physically similar to what happens when your body begins to fall asleep. Some of the effects that may occur include:
- Slowed breathing and heart rate
- Lowered blood pressure
- Decrease in production of stress hormones
- Muscle relaxation
- Increase in serotonin production, which leads to improved mood and emotions
The relaxation response can assist in improving wellness when it has been affected by a number of physiological factors, like anxiety, stress, chronic disease, headaches, insomnia, injury, digestive disorders and much more. It combines and overlaps with the mechanical response to produce a holistic healing response.
A mechanical response is the immediate physical effects that result from the manual stimulation of muscles and tissues. When they are moved, pressed, stroked and kneaded, circulation begins to improve, which by itself can have a vast number of benefits such as improving heart health, reducing blood clot risk and reducing the risk of varicose vein development. Mechanical responses also include:
- Release of healing chemicals and endorphins
- Nourishment of cells that leads to more efficient function and waste removal
- Pain relief and reduction
- Increase in energy
The Massaging Process
A good massage therapist will discuss what they are going to do for you and respond to your needs as they treat you. You won’t need to prepare, but you may want to wear loose clothing or take off certain garments so your therapist can have better access to your muscles and tissues. The therapist will then likely do a touch-based evaluation to customize the amount of force used and the areas where massaging is most needed. Responding with feedback about how the treatment feels can also help the therapist determine how best to conduct a massage session.
At Virginia Vein & Wellness Center, our certified massage therapist is here to help you reduce your stress, relax your body, improve your circulation and promote your overall wellness so you can leave feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!