The Benefits of Massage
Massage Tulsa is the manipulation of the body’s soft tissues using hands, fingers, elbows, knees, forearms feet, or a device. It is generally for the treatment of body stress or pain.
Many people find massage deeply relaxing and pleasurable. It can also have several health benefits. It can help reduce anxiety improve sleep disorders, and boost the immune system.
A massage is an effective tool for promoting relaxation. The gentle strokes of a relaxation massage stimulate the body’s “relaxation response”, which slows your heart and breathing rate while decreasing muscle tension and anxiety. This allows the body and mind to enter a restful state, which aids in the healing process by decreasing stress hormone levels. Relaxation massage also increases the release of feel-good chemicals called endorphins and serotonin, which improve your mood and increase your overall sense of wellbeing.
The kneading and stroking movements of a relaxation massage help to loosen tight muscles and joints while encouraging the flow of blood to the area. This improved circulation boosts tissue and cellular repair, helps the body eliminate waste products, and improves the condition of the skin.
In addition, massage has been shown to increase lymph circulation, which is important for immune function. In those with autoimmune diseases, this increased lymph flow can reduce inflammatory cytokines and cortisol, which are causing you discomfort.
Lastly, massage encourages the production of oxytocin and dopamine, two compounds that increase your sense of well-being and happiness. This is especially beneficial for those suffering from depression or a lack of motivation to perform daily tasks.
Before your massage, be sure to have a conversation with your therapist to discuss any specific areas of concern and to ensure that the type of massage you’re receiving will be beneficial to your needs. Additionally, try to schedule your appointment for a time when you can take the day off from work or social commitments and focus solely on your relaxing experience.
Remember to drink plenty of water before and after your massage to help flush away any toxins released from the muscles as a result of your massage. Also, try to leave a few hours between your massage and exercising or going out on the town, as you may feel sore after the manipulation of your muscles. Instead, treat yourself to a post-massage cool down with a nice shower and some quality time lying down to help your muscles recover.
Massage increases the lubricity of muscles and joints and can help to loosen adhesions (tightened, scarred tissue) which can cause pain. Massage also lowers the levels of stress hormone cortisol and can decrease the production of inflammatory chemicals called cytokines that lead to pain and swelling. Massage can also boost the level of the feel-good hormone serotonin which helps to improve mood.
Many types of pain are relieved through massage including back pain, fibromyalgia and headaches. One study showed that a combination of manual lymphatic drainage therapy and connective tissue massage reduced pain intensity, heart rate, blood pressure and the levels of inflammatory cytokines in patients with fibromyalgia. In addition, it increased the occurrence of pain-killing endorphins and lowered the levels of pain-causing nociceptors.
Acute injuries such as sprains and strains can also benefit from massage. The reason for this is that the body’s natural response to an injury is to tighten all the surrounding muscles in order to protect the injured area and inhibit movement and therefore prevent further damage to the tissue. Massage can reduce the tension that causes this protective reaction as well as help to break up the fibrotic tissue formations and increase the speed of recovery.
Injuries to the muscles can also cause a lot of pain due to their size and the fact that they are so close to the bone. Massage can help to ease this pain by interfering with the nerve pathways that send the pain messages to the brain. Massage can stimulate competing nerve fibers that block the painful ones and can also re-direct the signaling pathways so that they do not become hypersensitive to stimulus in the injured area.
Massage can also reduce the build up of fluids in the tissues of the body, a condition known as edema. This can be caused by a number of factors including injury, surgery, pregnancy and other conditions. Massage can help to relieve the edema by increasing circulation, reducing inflammatory chemicals, encouraging phagocytosis (the process of cells eating up dead cell matter) and by stimulating a receptor site in the blood vessels which leads to vasodilation (the widening of the blood vessels). This increases the supply of oxygen to the affected tissues and allows waste material to be removed more efficiently.
Immune System Enhancement
The immune system is a complex network that helps defend the body against infection and disease. Its primary defenses are natural killer cells and white blood cells that attack germs and bacteria before they can do damage. Studies show that massage enhances the production of these vital cells and decreases the production of cortisol, a stress hormone that depresses white blood cell activity, leaving the body susceptible to infection.
A key to a healthy immune system is the lymphatic system, which transports white blood cells and other debris away from tissues and organs. Massage can help stimulate this system by squeezing and pulling the tissue, which helps move fluids and waste products through the lymphatic channels. This process helps clear out toxins, reduces inflammation and increases the circulation of immune cells throughout the body.
Another way massage boosts the immune system is by reducing inflammatory chemicals called cytokines, which play a role in the body’s inflammatory response. A study from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center found that regular massage significantly reduced cytokines in the body, helping to prevent chronically high levels of inflammation and associated conditions such as asthma and cardiovascular disease.
The calming effect of massage also sends a signal to the brain that triggers the release of feel-good hormones, such as serotonin and melatonin. This helps the body relax and slow down, which can improve sleep patterns, another important aspect of a strong immune system. Poor sleep can inhibit the release of t-cells, which play an essential role in boosting the immune system and fighting off infections.
While it is impossible to fully replicate biologic and psychologic findings in the research literature due to differences in intervention frequency, length, type of massage and many other factors, these pilot data suggest that sustained cumulative biological effects of massage are evident. The results indicate that repeated weekly massages caused increases in circulating phenotypic lymphocyte measures and decreased mitogen-stimulated cytokine production with minimal impact on HPA function. Twice-weekly massage seemed to potentiate these neuroendocrine changes.
For many people, massage is a great way to reduce pain and improve sleep. Whether you choose Swedish, sports or deep tissue massage techniques, the act of pressing, kneading and manipulating skin, muscles, connective tissues, tendons and ligaments with varying degrees of pressure helps boost circulation, supports the immune system, releases tension, increases relaxation and mitigates symptoms of stress and anxiety, all of which can lead to improved sleep.
Sleep disturbances are a common symptom of conditions like pain, chronic illness and mental health issues. These sleep disturbances can cause hyperarousal and a disrupted sleep-wake cycle, which leads to poorer quality of life, increased fatigue, heightened stress levels and lowered immunity.
Getting a good night’s rest is essential for physical and mental wellness, but for some, it can be elusive. One of the ways that massage helps promote better sleep is by increasing melatonin production, a neurotransmitter that sends signals to the brain that it’s time for bed.
When melatonin levels are high, it is easier to fall asleep and stay asleep. Massage also stimulates the vagus nerve, a major parasympathetic nervous system nerve that tells the body to relax and can lower cortisol, which decreases feelings of stress and can allow for better sleep.
In addition, the calming environment created by a massage session – a quiet room, dim lighting and relaxed muscles – can help promote a calm mind to allow for better rest. Massage also provides an effective way to treat sleep problems caused by certain medical conditions, such as fibromyalgia. Research shows that massage has helped fibromyalgia patients achieve more restful sleep by decreasing tender spots on the body and lowering a neurotransmitter associated with pain, allowing for a deeper level of sleep.