10 reasons why YOU should get a massage regularly

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Seeing a qualified massage therapist will not only help you improve your muscular health, but encourage and teach the basics necessary to stay on that path for better health.

Here are the 10 reasons for YOU to see a qualified massage therapist:

Reason 1: Stress Relief

What causes stress and how are we supposed to be dealing with stress?  The 5 major reasons why we experience stress though are:

EMOTIONS: Anxiety, fear, depression. 
PAIN: Disease or injury. 
OVERUSE OF: Caffeine, chocolate, sugar, medication. 
PATHOLOGY: Illness or conditions creating secondary conditions 
EXPOSURE: Environmental toxins, excessive heat or cold

It is a known fact that stress induces hormonal activity that suppresses the immune system. This can increase the susceptibility to colds and flu, the development of rheumatoid arthritis if one is genetically predisposed, as well as the onset of cancer. It can also cause overeating, excessive smoking and alcohol abuse. One key factor to reduce stress is to change one’s lifestyle. Lifestyle changes include a healthy diet, regular exercising and getting plenty of sleep. Breathing exercises, massages , relaxing baths, herbal teas, soothing music can all aid to further reducing stress.

A person who is dealing with stress will exhibit certain common symptoms as a result of certain muscle tension, breathing problems and a suppressed immune system. Hyper-toned muscles of the neck and shoulders lead to headaches . Feelings of anxiety and depression are not uncommon. Insomnia might be present. Chronic stress has even been linked to rheumatoid arthritis, allergies, asthma, cancer, diabetes, gastrointestinal disorders, hormonal imbalances, hypertension and heart attacks. Several studies have confirmed that massage reduces the levels of cortisol in the body and decrease stress levels. Certain massage techniques are more relaxing than others. If you are experiencing high levels of stress, A Hot Stone Massage or a Traditional Lomi Lomi Massageare my recommendation as these massages tend to relax on a deeper level. Many clients have even reported that the ancient healing method from Japan called Jin Shin Jyutsu has helped them achieve the most deepest level of relaxation ever experienced.

Reason 2:  Release of Endorphins

Endorphins are chemicals in the brain known as neurotransmitters, our natural pain killers. They transmit electrical signals within the nervous system. They are mostly found in the pituitary gland. In addition to decreased feelings of pain, we experience euphoria, a change in appetite, release of sex hormones, and enhancement of the immune response. With high levels of these natural chemicals, we feel less pain and fewer negative effects of stress.

Massage Therapy has been known to release many therapeutic mood and health enhancing chemicals. Our skin is full of many millions of nerve receptors that are linked to our nervous system. When the skin is massaged it causes stimulation and release of chemicals in the brain. For instance, it increases dopamine and serotonin and reduces the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. It increases the relaxation alpha brain waves and it increases the release of natural pain killers.

Reason 3:  Decrease anxiety and depression

While most cases of depression and anxiety are treated with psychotherapy and sometimes even medication, there are other practices that can decrease the symptoms of depression and compliment a professional therapy program. A caring and professional touch has been shown to be very effective. The goal in Advanced Massage Therapy is to induce relaxation and promote proper breathing, two ingredients necessary to reduce stress.Some of the preferred relaxation techniques that help reduce high stress are Lomi Lomi, a traditional Hawaiian massage. Another one would be Hot Stone Massage, a combination of massage with the application of hot basalt rocks. It is also importance to bring back postural balance which is necessary for proper healing on every level. Further, specific energy work is applied to help the client release negative, stagnated energy.

Reason 4:  Improves Circulation

Improved circulation is one of the many massage therapy benefits. Fatigue, general achiness, cold hands and feet, myofascial trigger points (knots in muscle tissue) are all related to poor circulation. Different advanced massage therapy techniques have been proven to break down adhesions. Painful myofascial trigger points treated by ways of a pressure technique referred to as Trigger Point Therapy, decreases pain in that area and increases circulation. Further massage will deliver more oxygen and nutrition to tissue cells and eliminate metabolic waste. Several studies have also demonstrated that massage can reduce blood pressure. In summary, massage has a positive effect on circulation.

Reason 5:  Increase lymphatic flow

The Lymphatic System is very similar to the Cardiovascular System except that it has no organ to pump the fluid. This important fluid is being pumped by movement of muscles and the diaphragm. The lymphatic system, meanwhile, transports large proteins, foreign bodies, pathogenic substances such as germs or toxins and many other components in its pathway through the lymphatic nodes which act as an active purification center. There are approximately 500-600 lymph nodes in the body, located around the neck, armpits, breast, groin, abdomen, elbows and knees. These nodes break down and destroy particles so they can eventually be flushed out of the body through the eliminary tract.

The largest mass of lymphatic tissue in the body is the spleen. Its job is to produce protective antibodies, filter blood and store iron. The Thymus, a lymphatic, endocrine gland produces antibodies as well. The tonsils and appendix are also part of the lymphatic system, belonging to the body’s defense system along with the spleen and thymus.

Reason 6:  Body Detox

Detoxification is a very ancient healing method. It is all about cleaning and nourishing the body, giving it plenty of rest. When we remove toxins from our body and provide it with healthy nutrients, we start a rejuvenation process that has an endless list of benefits from optimum health to beautiful skin and hair. By detoxing our body and nourishing it with plenty of oxygen, water and chemical-free nutrition, we activate our own fountain of youth.

Water is important in keeping our cells healthy and flushing out toxins. Drinking 2-3 L of water daily is essential for omptimum health. Consider exercising regularly. Through exercising we increase blood circulation. This increases our oxygen intake which will aid in the elimination of metabolic waste. Massage Therapy has been found very effective in eliminating toxins.  Through the process of kneading and pushing/pressing, blood circulation is increased.  This will also increase oxygen to tissue cells and start the process of metabolic waste elimination. It is important through to follow up with water to completely wash out the toxins.  One of the massage techniques who will seriously clean house is lymphatic massage.

Reason 7: Speedy Recovery

Whether we are recovering from a sports injury or some type of surgery, a speedy recovery is always our main priority. Sports Massage addresses many aspects of recovery, including reduction of muscle soreness and stiffness caused by accumulation of metabolites, acceleration of healing of damaged tissues, relaxation and lenghtening of tight muscles, and general relaxation to restore physical and emotional balance.

Under the influence of massage, blood circulation is improved; removal of wastes and toxic substances from tissues is accelerated; metabolic and oxidative processes are activated; central and peripheral nervous system activity is normalized. Massage accelerates resorption of infiltrates in muscles, ligaments and tendons; decreases muscle tension after work; increases functional neuromuscular activity.

Massage can improve circulation and reduce muscle spasm and splinting, thus providing a healthier, pliable, nutrient- and oxygen-rich tissue prior to surgery and perhaps improve the recovery potential of the tissues. In the acute post-surgical phase, massage will help reduce edema in the surrounding tissues, improve circulation and therefore cell nutrition, reduce muscle spasm, and provide an analgesic effect. Massaging the injury site during the acute phase is contraindicated. Massage aids the development of healthy, functional scar tissue, which is always a concern after surgery. Deep transverse friction massage is the most common technique used for this purpose and may help reduce the risk of re-injury or the development of a chronic pain cycle at the site of the scar.

Reason 8:  Improved Immune System Functions

The immune system is composed of specialized organs ands cells that protect the body against infection and the growth of malignant cells. Lymphocytes are small white blood cells, the primary cells. They are divided into T-lymphocytes, so named because they originate in the thymus, B-lymphocytes because thy mature in the bone marrow, and last the natural killer cells. T-cells control viral infections by recognizing antigens on the surface of macrophages. B-cells eliminate bacteria and their toxins by producing antibodies. Natural killer cells rapidly identify and destroy virus-infected cells and tumor cells.

Stress is one of the major causes of a lowered immune response. The exact mechanism by which stress affects the immune response is unknown though. It is known that the stress response induces hormonal activity that can suppress some aspects of the immune response. Therefore, stress may contribute directly to the development of illness. Therefore Massage is very beneficial in reducing stress or as part of a stress reduction program. Special massage techniques evoke a relaxation response. This response is triggered by affecting the parasympathetic nervous system through the nerve endings in the skin and encouraging specific muscle relaxation and diaphragmatic breathing.

It is believed that massage therapy increases the activity of the immune system. One unpublished research paper from the Touch Research Institute shows that one month of daily massage increased the activity levels of white blood cells in the people who were HIV positive, stimulating immunity.

Reason 9: Increases range of motion

The healthy flexible body can move freely and easily through its natural ROM without discomfort and restrictions in the joints and surrounding tissues. Any number of factors my restrict normal ROM at a joint. This can include hyper-toned muscles, scarring in muscles and connective tissue, adhesions, trigger points, connective tissue thickening.

Although flexibility decreases with age, the loss appears to be minimized in those who remain active. A huge factor responsible for an decrease in flexibility with age is due to certain changes in the connective tissues of the body. Exercising delays the loss of flexibility due to dehydration within the connective tissues. Stretching stimulates the production of lubricants between the connective tissue fibers. This will prevent adhesions, which are often a cause for decreased joint flexibility. Of course there are other factors, such as increased calcium deposits, dehydration in the connective tissues, or the replacement of muscle fiber with fatty tissue.

While different massage techniques can alleviate the conditions of joint inflexibility and return the joint to normal functioning, dynamic stretches and active stretches have long been a key element in programs for improving and maintaining joint flexibility. It is most commonly used in sports massage, usually following treatment, to enhance the flexibility gained by the actual manipulation of the tissues involved in the restriction. The most common stretch is the static one, that holds the stretch for a longer period of time. It is effective for enhancing flexibility and returning balance.

Reason 10:  Break down adhesions

Adhesions are fibrous bands that form in muscles, ligaments and tendons. This further reduces range of motion. This can be seen when the body isn’t balanced such as in postural dysfunction. This formation is also a natural healing process after surgery. The body automatically deposits fibrin onto the affected area. This fibrin then acts like glue to fix the injury site.

Certain areas of the body tend to produce more scar tissue. Hypertrophic scar tissue is more likely to develop in the upper back between the shoulder blades, sometimes even underneath the middle edge of the shoulder blade. The shoulder and deltoid is also affected by hypertrophic scar formation. An excessive amount of scarring can lead to frozen shoulder syndrome.

Collagen fibers likes to form at the site of edema. By applying the knowledge of Manual Lymph Drainage, the formation of scar tissue can be significantly reduced. This is especially essential after surgery or injury. Advanced Massage Therapy techniques following the fibers and later on crossing the fibers along with stretches in the direction of the fibers can be performed once the client is no longer in the acute stages. This will prevent excessive scar formation and keep joints as mobile as possible.

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