May 14 , 2021
Massage has been used for many thousands of years all over the world and began when ancient civilisations relied on it as a very natural and sacred way to promote healing and good health. Techniques have been passed down through the generations and we continue to use many of these traditional methods today. There is a wealth of treatments out there to choose from and, whatever your preference is, the benefit to your body and its systems will be very similar.
Many of us have had to adjust to a lack of human touch, with hugs being thin on the ground and even non-existent for those living alone. Humans are wired to be touched and close human contact can help reduce levels of cortisol while increasing serotonin, dopamine and endorphins. In other words, having a massage will help to lower your stress hormone and trigger your happy hormones! This will optimise your endocrine system, encouraging your body to reach homeostasis - a state of balance and optimal health.
Did you know that your skin is the largest organ in your body? As it forms a protective barrier between our external environment and our internal organs, it’s also one of the most important. During massage your skin will benefit directly. Elasticity will improve as massage encourages the production of your skins natural oil, sebum, and this will keep your skin lubricated and prevent dryness. Your skin tone, colour and texture will also improve as circulation is boosted and dead skin cells are removed, encouraging the regeneration of new cells.
Your muscles really take a pounding in every day life. Even if you aren’t particularly into exercise, your work, hobbies or keeping on top of jobs in the house and garden can overwork your muscles. If you are stressed, either acute or chronic, your jaw, shoulder and butt muscles will be working hard, sometimes without you even noticing. Massage and the manipulation of muscles will lead to their relaxation and lengthening which will improve your flexibility and range of movement. The pumping action will help to remove lactic acid and toxins, which build up in overworked muscles, and this will help to reduce muscle fatigue and stiffness. As massage greatly improves circulation, the delivery of oxygen and nutrients will be sped up, as will the removal of carbon dioxide and waste. All of this will help your muscles function at their best and help you feel much looser and more relaxed. In turn, as you relax, you will encourage a deeper and more easeful breath
Each of your body’s systems will be directly or indirectly affected by massage so having a treatment isn’t just about fixing one part of you. Both your body and mind will positively benefit too, as the physiological and psychological effects compliment each other.
When you get a massage it’s like having an extra pump in your body and it will improve circulation by speeding up the movement of blood and lymph. This is why the majority of the more pressured massage strokes will be made towards the heart, to assist the vital organ. Oxygen and nutrients will be delivered around your body more quickly, encouraging the removal of CO2, lactic acid, bacteria and excess fluid, while also boosting the body’s natural immunity. Your digestive and urinary systems will also be assisted, aiding the efficient elimination of waste and toxins. This is one of the reasons why you are encouraged to drink plenty of water after a massage, as you can get dehydrated due to the increased function of these systems.
You may decide to go for a massage because you really feel the need to relax, but sometimes a more invigorating treatment is needed. The nervous system will respond to whatever techniques your therapist uses and this should be tailored to how you are feeling at the time of treatment and what you want from it. For an energising massage that wakes up the nerves and enlivens you, go for deeper and more stimulating techniques. If you’re looking to calm the nerves, reduce stress and release tension then choose a more relaxing treatment.
As the muscular system is so directly affected by massage this in turn aids the skeletal system. Tension free muscles help to improve joint mobility and reduce stiffness, bringing ease and a sense of freedom or looseness in the body. At the same time improvement to muscle flexibility and tone can reduce strain on the joints and bones and this will help to improve your overall posture.
Michelle has been a practising Holistic Therapist since 2005, delivering Swedish Massage, Indian Head Massage, Pregnancy Massage, Trigger Point Therapy and Reiki to her established client base. She is also a qualified massage tutor. She champions making time in your life to receive regular massage, as a way to maintain your body and prevent injury and illness, while also bringing calm to the mind.