Researchers aren't precisely sure about all of the benefits that massage exerts on the human body and mind. But there is no doubt whatsoever that the benefits are significant, or that they are both immediate and long lasting.
By stimulating blood circulation and oxygen flow through the muscles, massage helps to lower blood pressure, speed up healing of injured tissue, and aid in keeping muscles supple. But it is not a panacea, and it is not recommended for those
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with circulatory ailments. For those of you who are wondering, one thing massage will not do is permanently rub away excess weight.
The list of benefits a given person can expect to attain from one massage session is quite lengthy. The list of benefits one can expect from massage performed on a regular basis is easily twice as long. Those benefits include an increased metabolic rate, which comes about by improving how all of the other bodily systems work.
For example, you've heard the expression "the chain is only as strong as its weakest link." Well, the body can function only as well as its weakest link, and the metabolism can be only as healthy as its weakest link. Massage helps soothe the stress away from many of our internal organs: the muscles and all of the other systems in our body. When stress is reduced, our body simply functions better.
Here are just a few ways in which it does so:
Massage both calms and relaxes. Part of that has to do with the relaxed environment and the therapeutic context in which the massage generally occurs. This soothing effect is then heightened by the professional yet caring touch of a qualified massage therapist. It works out knots in the muscles, releases
physical stress, soothes the mind, and just plain feels good.
Massage promotes flexibility, since many massage routines involve stretching and caressing tired and aching muscle groups. It kneads away stress and improves the elasticity of the muscles.
Massage eases pain, tension, and fatigue for those suffering from a variety of medical conditions, including low-back pain, cancer, and sickle-cell anemia. This pain-reducing capability is thought to be the result, in part, of the ability of massage to increase the body's natural production of the brain chemical serotonin, which is associated with pain reduction.
Massage can relieve respiratory conditions such as asthma and emphysema, according to the Encyclopedia of Natural Healing. It can also balance the nervous system and improve sleep quality.
Therapeutic massage is especially beneficial for men and women who want to improve their metabolism, because it improves circulation—and circulation aids proper and effective metabolism. Massage has long been associated with pain reduction; the reason, of course, is that massage alters
circulation. Relaxation is a physiological reaction that causes blood vessels to dilate, improving blood flow. In addition, proper massage can increase the flow of oxygen to the skin and muscles, prevent illness by boosting the immune system, and improve the circulation of the lymph and blood vessels, which replenish the tissues with needed nutrients. Blood flow is important to improving the metabolism and oxygenating the blood, as discussed earlier.
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