The Science Behind Massage Therapy: How Does it Work?

Are you wondering what is actually happening during massage therapy that is beneficial? While this treatment is incredibly relaxing, there is much more going on during a massage that is great for the body. Those with stiffness, soreness, or joint pain can benefit from massage due to the rubbing and stretching of soft tissues.

The skin is incredibly rich in nerve endings, making touch produce psychological effects. Massage can not only provide an excellent neurological experience but it can also be a vehicle for pain relief and other therapeutic benefits.

Relaxation Response

The relaxation response that comes from massage therapy is one of it’s greatest benefits. This caring and mindful touch works to slow the breathing and heart rate. This causes your muscles to relax, while your blood pressure goes down, as does your stress-producing hormones.

This can have great psychological effects, as this relaxation allows for an increase in the body’s serotonin levels, creating a positive effect on our emotions. This process can also decrease stress and the risks that come with it.

Improve Circulation

Massage therapy may help to improve blood and lymph circulation. This is due to the physical manipulation of the soft tissue as well as the chemicals released in the relaxation response.

An improvement in circulation can help to enhance the delivery of the nutrients and oxygen to the muscle cells. Tissues function more effectively as the cellular health in the body improves. When the tissues function more effectively, it can reduce swelling and inflammation in the soft tissue through the removal of waste and the absorption of fluids.

Relaxing the Tissue

If you have painful muscle spasms or contractions, massage therapy may help by relaxing the muscle tissue and reducing compression of the nerves. When muscles are contracted, they often contract the nerves around them as well.

Working to relax the muscles allows for the decompression of nerves. This allows them to operate more effectively and get the proper nutrients. This helps the nerves properly transmit messages to the brain, improving the functioning of the organs and muscles.

When pressure is applied to the skin, it relaxes the tendons, muscles, and ligaments. This process may improve the balance in both the superficial and deep tissue. Organs may also benefit from massage, as they share a neurological pathway with the nerves, muscles, and bones.

Ready to start feeling better, reducing your stress level, and moving with greater ease? Contact us today to learn about our wide variety of massage therapy treatments, or book an appointment to get started.