Massage is the manipulation of soft tissues of the body using techniques such as stroking, kneading, tapping, rocking and holding steady pressure. It reduces stress and pain while improving circulation.
When seeking Flow State Massage therapist, get referrals from friends and family or search online. Look for a professional who has the proper credentials and is licensed by your state.
Studies have shown that even ten minutes of massage can boost the body’s natural happiness hormones making you feel calmer and less stressed. Stress is a normal human response to real or perceived threats and activates the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, which results in the production of stress-associated hormones that enhance your body’s ability to fight off the threat or run away from it. However, if your stress levels are high on an ongoing basis this can lead to an assortment of indications that may hinder your health.
The soothing and calming effects of massage decrease stress levels by activating the body’s parasympathetic nervous system. This is the opposite of the sympathetic nervous system which triggers your fight or flight response. As a result, the kneading and stroking movements of massage encourages the release of feel good hormones into the peripheral nervous system allowing your brain to communicate with the muscles and extremities with ease reducing feelings of tension and anxiety.
Moreover, the reduction in stress levels encourages the muscles to relax, which increases the elasticity of the tissues and improves muscle flexibility. This also means that pain is decreased as well. This is because when there is pain the body releases a stress hormone called cortisol, which in turn increases the pain. Getting a massage regularly helps reduce the production of these stress hormones and lowers pain levels significantly.
Another way that massage relieves stress is by lowering the heart rate and increasing relaxation. Consequently, this can help you sleep better at night. In addition, the release of feel good hormones during massage stimulates your body to produce melatonin, which is responsible for inducing sleep.
The kneading and squeezing motions of massage also help to flush out metabolic waste products and toxins from the body, which decreases inflammation, swelling, and stiffness in the body thereby decreasing your overall feeling of pain. The reduction of both physical and emotional pain can drastically decrease stress. As a result, you are much more capable of overcoming the challenges that life throws at you. This is why it’s important to find ways of managing your stress level that work for you.
The physical benefits of massage include increasing circulation and flexibility, reducing soreness and tension, lowering heart rate and blood pressure, releasing hormones that boost the immune system and improving posture. But perhaps the most important benefit is its ability to relieve stress, and thus improve mood. Several physiological mechanisms underlie this effect. The friction created between the skin and the fingers during a massage causes the skin to become warmer, which increases the blood flow to that area. This increased blood flow brings more oxygen and nutrients to the muscles, causing them to relax and release their tension.
In addition, the calming effects of massage promote mental relaxation, which can decrease anxiety and depression. The parasympathetic nervous system, the body’s natural “rest and digest” pathway, is stimulated by massage, which helps to regulate the brain back to a calm state after an episode of intense emotion. Massage can also lower cortisol levels, a hormone that is often high in people with chronic stress, as well as increase serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin levels, all of which are feel good chemicals that promote mood stability.
There are many different massage techniques, but some of the most effective for relieving stress and promoting relaxation are Swedish massage and Thai massage. These types of massages use gentle stroking motions to help relax the muscles. Another technique that is used to relieve tension and reduce anxiety is hot stone massage, which involves the placement of smooth stones on the body’s tense areas.
Tight muscles can be caused by emotional or physical stress and can cause pain in the surrounding tissues. Massage works to release these tight muscles by increasing the temperature of soft tissue, lowering the heart rate and releasing hormones that relax muscle fibers and increase tissue elasticity. This can also help to improve range of motion in joints and ease stiffness and pain due to injury.
From an early age, we learn that the touch of the human hand relieves pain. A toddler banging his knee on a tricycle will instinctively rub the area. A car crash victim with sore shoulders will likely reach for a heating pad or a massage therapist. The reasons for this are many, but primarily the brain releases chemicals called endorphins which act as natural painkillers. These peptides also give the body a sense of well-being and relaxation.
In addition to releasing the natural painkillers, the mechanical action of massage — especially friction — increases blood flow and tissue temperature. This increases the elasticity of muscles, which allows them to move more easily and decreases stiffness.
The therapist must carefully monitor the injured area to avoid overstimulating the nerves that report pain in the injured tissues, called nociceptors. Overstimulating the nociceptors can cause an unpleasant feeling of pain as well as a vicious cycle of pain intensification and increased tightness. The goal of massage is to interrupt this cycle by relaxing the painful muscles, tendons and ligaments and relieving stress and anxiety.
Massage is considered safe when it is provided by an appropriately trained massage therapist and can be an effective treatment for chronic pain. The risk of complications from massage is very low, and it has been shown to reduce the need for medications to control pain and improve functioning.
In a study of patients with lower back pain, those receiving regular massages had less need for medications to manage their symptoms than those who did not receive massage therapy. The results of this and other studies suggest that massage can help to reduce the occurrence of chronic pain by decreasing tension, improving flexibility and promoting healing.
Massage can be used to treat a wide range of conditions, including fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis and muscle strains. However, it should not be used on areas of the body with open wounds, such as pressure sores or edema (swelling caused by excess fluid in cells, tissues or body cavities). Massage can increase the formation of pressure sores and edema when applied over these regions. In addition, if a patient has heart disease or diabetes, it is important to discuss the risks of massage with their doctor before receiving a massage.
Massage can increase recovery by increasing relaxation, decreasing muscle tightness and enhancing the body’s natural healing processes. This occurs by stimulating the immune system and reducing inflammation, and by increasing blood flow to tissues, which transports oxygen and nutrients to cells and tissue fibres, helping them heal more quickly.
Physiologically, massage increases the temperature of soft tissue promoting muscle relaxation and allowing muscles to stretch to their full length. This increases the elasticity of muscles, improving movement and preventing future injuries. Massage can also break down and realign collagen fibres that form adhesions after injury. Adhesions are painful and restrict movement as they cause muscles to become tight and restricted.
Research suggests that massage increases the production of white blood cells, which can help fight infections and reduce swelling. It also helps to remove waste products from the body, which can speed up the healing process.
In addition, the mechanical stimulation provided by massage is thought to trigger the release of hormones that stimulate tissue repair and recovery. These include growth factors that promote cell division, reduce scarring and remodel fibrosis.
A massage can help improve a range of symptoms including muscle pain, fatigue and sleep disturbances. It may also boost immunity and help with depression, anxiety and fibromyalgia. It can also prevent recurrent headaches, reduce the frequency of migraines and help with the management of stress-related disorders.
A massage can be beneficial to anyone – from those who are active and in good health, to those who suffer from chronic illness, injury or disease. It is especially useful for people who experience a lot of stress or who are suffering from an injury or condition that affects their ability to relax.