Massage therapy is a popular form of treatment for reducing muscle pain and tension, lowering heart rate and blood pressure, and promoting relaxation. It works by manipulating soft tissue to relax muscles, reduce nerve compression, and improve blood and oxygen flow. There are more than 80 types of massage techniques that can be used to achieve these effects. The purpose of massage is to relax the muscles, increase blood and oxygen flow, and reduce pain.
It can also help with healing and inflammation by promoting blood flow. Massage is often used as an alternative to muscle relaxants prescribed by doctors. It can be especially helpful for those with persistent muscle spasms, as it helps to relax the muscles and prevent them from re-forming. The neuromuscular system includes all the muscles in the body and the nerves that serve them. Massage can treat muscles that are too short and tight (spasms) or too stretched and weak (saggy).
It can also help restore normal nerve function, improving muscle and organ function. Recent research has shown that massage therapy helps the body heal at a cellular level. After a massage session, the body begins to respond to the therapy. In one study, researchers tested blood and muscle tissue before and after strenuous exercise. One group received massage therapy after exercise while the other did not.
The results showed an increase in a gene responsible for the development of mitochondria in the group that received massage therapy. Mitochondria are important for cell growth and energy production. Massage therapy has also been shown to “turn off” genes associated with inflammation. The research also showed that massage does not expel lactic acid from the body as previously thought. A precise massage can act on problem tissue, lengthening it and breaking adhesions until a normal range of motion is restored. It increases blood flow to target muscles, delivering nutrients they need to function properly while eliminating metabolic waste that can cause pain and delay recovery. Sports massage is a deep tissue treatment that can be both relaxing for the mind and soothing for the body, relieving aches and pains.
During a massage session, oil is used sparingly to maintain a good grip while feeling around the problem area to identify stiff tissues. Massage is also beneficial for those who don't move much during the day as it helps get everything pumping again. For athletes, it can be essential for accelerating recovery from muscle fatigue without resorting to painkillers or anti-inflammatory drugs. The key to achieving favorable results lies in connecting with four of the body's main physiological systems during massage therapy and manipulating soft tissue accordingly. Swedish massage is more gentle and may be a better option for those with low pain thresholds or tight muscles. This type of research is helping to educate doctors and the public that massage therapy is a valid treatment for pain, inflammation, and soft tissue recovery.
There are many types of back massagers designed to provide relief to areas such as shoulders or lower back. The massage has a combination of benefits for both mind and body depending on individual needs.