Mind/Body Benefits of Massage
Massage therapy is a hands on approach to healing. Its healing effects help to stimulate many of the body’s major vital systems to return to their optimal state through deep relaxation. Massage stimulates healing through mechanoreceptors (a kind of sensory receptor), which respond to warmth, pressure, and touch as relaxation mechanisms. It can help to reduce stress and anxiety by relaxing both the mind and body. These effects can promote a feeling of well-being and enhanced self-esteem. Massage can ease emotional trauma and influence positive body awareness and image through compassionate touch. Studies have shown that massage is an effective treatment for reducing overall stress, pain, and tension in the body.
Massage reduces muscle pain by releasing toxins, byproducts, and tension in muscles. It also improves overall muscle tone, flexibility, eliminates muscular adhesions, spasms, cramps, and decreases muscle swelling, pain, and scar tissue. Massage can also increase joint mobility by reducing any thickening of the connective tissue and releasing fascial restrictions.
Massage can improve circulation by mechanically assisting the venous flow of blood back to the heart. Relaxation decreases the heart rate and stimulates the dilation of blood vessels, which enhances blood flow and delivery of fresh oxygen and nutrients to tissues. The dilation of capillaries helps to temporarily decrease blood pressure.
Massage can help to reduce edema (swelling) by increasing lymphatic drainage of tissues and the removal of waste from the system. Regular sessions may help to strengthen the immune system due to increased white blood cells.
Massage arouses sensory receptors: this can either stimulate or soothe nerves depending on the need and techniques used. It stimulates the Parasympathetic Nervous System (“rest and digest”), which can reduce stress and trigger natural healing responses in the body. While it stimulates parasympathetic responses in the body, it inhibits the Sympathetic Nervous System (“fight or flight”), or the body’s stress response. Massage releases endorphins, which reduces pain and elevates the mood.
Integumentary System (Skin)
Improved circulation to the skin brings increased nutrition to the cells, encouraging cell regeneration. Massage can bring about an increase in production of sweat from sweat glands, which help to excrete waste products through the skin. The vasodilation (dilation of blood vessels/decrease blood pressure) of surface capillaries improves the skin’s color. Massage can bring an increased sebum (oil) production, helping to improve the skins elasticity/suppleness, and resistance to infection.
Massage deepens respiration and improves lung capacity by relaxing any tightness in the respiratory muscles. It also slows down the rate of respiration due to reduced stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system (body’s “stress” response).
Massage can increase peristalsis in the large intestine, helping to relieve constipation, colic, and gas. It can also promote the activity of the parasympathetic nervous system (“rest and digest”), which stimulates digestion.
Massage increases urinary output due to the increased circulation and lymph drainage from the tissues.
Massage increases general circulation in the endocrine system and thus helps in the transport of hormones. This process indirectly aids the immune system, as some hormones produce lymphocytes to aid in immunization. Massage also normalizes endocrine activity through the balancing effect on the Autonomic Nervous System. It can help to lower epinephrine and norepinephrine (stress hormones) and regulate cortisol. While massage can lower cortisol (steroid hormone), it can increase dopamine and serotonin (happy “feel good” hormones).
Pregnant women who receive massages may experience shorter and less difficult labors, and shorter hospital stays. Massage also helps menstruating women reduce PMS-associated anxiety and depression and decreases fluid retention. Applying pressure on various acupressure points can help to stimulate the adrenal, pituitary, thyroid, and parathyroid glands in an attempt to balance hormone production and reduce uncomfortable symptoms (anxiety, fatigue, sore backs, sore necks, sore shoulders, hot flashes…) of menopause.
Massage Services Offered
I can provide a wide array of massage services including: