Massage affects your body as a whole. To understand how massage therapy works, a few of the physiological effects of massage have to be briefly examined.

Massage is known to increase the blood circulation and flow of lymph. The direct mechanical aftereffect of rhythmically applied manual pressure and movement found in massage can dramatically raise the rate of blood circulation. Also, the stimulation of nerve receptors causes the blood vessels (by reflex action) to dilate, which also facilitates blood circulation.

A milky white fluid called lymph carries impurities and waste from the tissues and passes through gland-like structures spaced through the entire lymphatic system that act as filtering valves. The lymph does not circulate as blood does, so its movement depends largely on the squeezing aftereffect of muscle contractions. Consequently, inactive people fail to stimulate lymph flow. Alternatively, the stimulation due to vigorous activity could be outstripped by the increased waste made by that activity. Massage can dramatically aid the movement of lymph in any case.

For the whole body to be healthy, the sum of the its parts – the cells – should be healthy. The individual cells of the body are dependent on an abundant supply of blood and lymph because these fluids supply nutrients and oxygen and carry away wastes and toxins. So, you can easily understand why good circulation is indeed important for the complete body, due to its effect on the circulation alone.

Massage is also recognized to:

– Cause changes in the blood. The oxygen capacity of the blood can increase 10-15% after massage

– Affect muscles throughout the body. Massage can help loosen contracted, shortened muscles and will stimulate weak, flaccid muscles. This muscle “balancing” might help posture and promote better movement. Massage does not directly increase muscle strength, but it can speed recovery from fatigue that occurs after exercise. In this manner, it can be possible to do more exercise and training, which over time strengthens muscles and improves conditioning. Massage also provides a gentle stretching action to both the muscles and connective tissues that surround and support the muscles and several other parts of your body, which helps maintain these tissues elastic.

– Increase the body’s secretions and excretions. There exists a proven upsurge in the production of gastric juices, saliva, and urine after massage. Addititionally there is increased excretion of nitrogen, inorganic phosphorous, and sodium chloride (salt). This suggests that the metabolic rate (the use of absorbed material by the body’s cells) increases.

– Affect the nervous system. Massage balances the nervous system by soothing or stimulating it, depending on which effect is necessary by the individual at the time of massage.

– Enhance condition of the skin. Massage directly improves the function of the sebaceous (oil) and sweat glands which keep the skin lubricated, clean and cooled. Tough, inflexible skin can become softer and more supple.

– Affect organs. By indirectly stimulating nerves that supply internal organs, blood vessels of these organs dilate and allow greater blood supply in their mind.

Knowing about the physiological ramifications of massage makes it possible to better understand the health and fitness benefits of massage. What takes place beneath the massage therapists hands has profound importance for all those interested in health and fitness in tuning up their health. In every sport or form of exercise, massage might help. By assisting to reduce physiological fatigue and aid recovery from the exertion of working out or playing, massage enables better training, with longer, far better workouts, thus facilitating better performance and preventing injury.

The people of ancient Mediterranean civilizations knew this. After bathing exercise, they included a complete body massage. The ancients understood that education involves equal development of the mind and body. The modern publics interest in conditioning, holistic health, wellness and human potential represents a bid to revive a time honoured philosophy.

For most people getting into a fitness program, often the spirit is willing however the flesh is not. When regular physical exercise is begun almost every section of the body changes. Of interest to massage therapists may be the way blood vessels become more intricate in order the meet up with the body’s demand for more oxygen, to supply more nutrients, to permit more elimination. This does take time. While the muscles are receiving into shape, they will have trouble getting enough oxygen and nutrient and wastes back up and stagnate.

Unfortunately, many exercise programs regard pains and aches as the inevitable price to be paid. That is simply not true. Massage can be utilized because the Greeks and Romans used it – to increase endurance, control fatigue and feel much better as part of a normal health program.

Massage acts to disperse the accumulated by-products of muscle action that irritate muscles and nerve endings. Lactic and carbonic acids build-up in muscle tissue soon after exercise begins. These acids are waste products that contribute to the causation of the pain and occasional cramping that exercisers, athletes, dancers, etc. suffer during and/or after workouts or performing. These acids are formed once the glycogen stored in the liver and muscles in burned to create the power expended during exercise. The acids must eventually be reconverted to glycogen and stored again, or drained out via the lymph and circulatory systems. Pain and fatigue persist until this process of reconverting or excreting is completed. Massage might help eliminate the irritation due to these wastes, thus increasing muscle recovery rates. When massage has been substituted for rest, an increase from 20-75%, even 100% muscle recovery has been recorded. For example, for this reason boxers are massaged instead of rested between rounds.

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