Massage Therapy Benefits

Massage Therapy



Benefits of Massage on Muscles  

Relieves muscular tension

Massage relieves muscular restrictions, tightness, stiffness, and spasms. These effects are achieved by direct pressure and by increasing circulation, resulting in more flexible, supple, and resilient muscle tissues. 

Relaxes muscles

Muscles relax as massage reduces excitability in the sympathetic nervous system. Reduces muscle soreness and fatigue. Massage enhances blood circulation, thus increasing the amount of oxygen and nutrients available to the muscles.  Increased oxygen and nutrients reduce muscle fatigue and post exercise soreness. Massage promotes rapid disposal of waste products, further reducing muscle fatigue and soreness. A fatigued muscle recuperates 20% after 5 minutes of rest and 100% after 5 minutes of massage. A reduction in post exercise recovery time was indicated by a decline in pulse rate and an increase muscle “work” capacity.

Reduces trigger point formation

Trigger point formation is greatly reduced by the pressure applied during a massage, affecting trigger points in both muscle and fascia.

Manually separates muscle fibers

Compressive stokes and cross-fiber friction strokes separate muscle fibers, reducing muscle spasms.

Increases range of motion

When muscular tension is reduced, range of motion is improved. The freedom of the joints is dictated by the freedom of the muscles.  Many postural distortions are removed when trigger points are released and when muscle tension is reduced. Range of motion increases, gait becomes more efficient, the posture is more aligned and balanced, and improved performance is the net result.

Improves motor skills

Not surprisingly, if a massage was found to improve performance, balance, and posture, motor skills are also enhanced.

Lengthens muscle  

Massage mechanically stretches and broadens tissue, especially when combined with Swedish.

Benefits of massage on the cardiovascular system

The body responds to massage by reflexively dilating the blood vessels. This, in turn, aids in improving blood circulation and lowering blood pressure (see the following).  Improves blood circulation. Deep stroking improves blood circulation by mechanically assisting venous blood glow back to the heart. The increase of blood flow is comparable to that of exercise. It has been documented that during a massage local circulation increases up to 3 times more than circulation at rest.Decreases blood pressure. Blood pressure is decreased by dilation of blood vessels. Both diastolic and systolic readings decline and last approximately 40 minutes after the massage session.Creates hyperemia. Increased blood flow creates a hyperemic effect, which is often visible on the surface of the skin.Stimulates release of acetycholine and histamine for sustained vasodilation. These two substances are released due to vasomotor activity helping prolong vasodilation.  Replenishes nutritive materials. Another benefit of increased circulation, products such as nutrients of oxygen are transported to the cells and tissues more efficiently.    Promotes rapid removal of waste products . Not only are nutrients brought to cells and to tissues, but also metabolic waste products are removed more rapidly through massage. It is often said that massage “dilutes the poisons.”

Reduces ischemia

Massage reduces ischemia and ischemic–related pain. Ischemia is also related to trigger point formation and associated pain referral patterns.

Reduces heart rate

Massage decreases heart rate through activation of the relaxation response.Lowers pulse rate. As one would expect, a reduced heart rate would lower the pulse rate.Increases stroke volume. Stroke volume is the amount of blood ejected from the left ventricle during each contraction. As the heart rate decreases, more time is available for the cardiac ventricles to fill with blood. The result is a larger volume of blood pushed through the heart with each ventricular contraction, thereby increasing stroke volume.Increases red blood cell (RBC) count. The number of functioning RBCs and their oxygen-carrying capacity are increased. It is speculated that this effect is achieved by (1) promoting the spleen’s discharge of RBCs ; (2) recruiting excess blood from engorged internal organs into general circulation; (3) stimulating stagnant capillary beds and returning this blood into general circulation. All thee events increase RBC count. Increases oxygen saturation in blood. When RBC count rises, greater oxygen saturation occurs in the blood.Increases white blood cell (WBC) count. The presence of WBCs increases after massage. The body may perceive massage as a mild stressor (an event to which the body must adapt) and recruits additional WBCs. The increase in WBC count enables the body to more effectively protect itself against disease.Enhances the adhesion of migrating WBCs. The surfaces of WBCs become more “sticky” following a massage, increasing their adhesive quality and therefore their effectiveness.Increases platelet count. Gently but firm massage strokes increase the number of platelets in the blood.

Benefits of Massage on the Lymphatic / Immune Systems
Promotes lymph circulation. Lymph is a fluid that moves slowly within its own system of vessels. Lymphatic circulation depends entirely on pressure: from muscle contraction, pressure changes in the thorax and abdomen during breathing, or applied pressure from a massage.

Reduces lymphedema

Massage reduces lymphedema (swelling) by nutrients to the skin, improving the skin’s condition, texture, and tone. Clinical observations have determined that massage also improves the appearance (i.c., color and texture) of the skin.

Reduces superficial promoting lymph circulation, which helps remove waste from the system more effectively than either passive range of motion or electrical muscle stimulation.

Decreases the circumference of an area affected with lymphedema. When an area swells, the diameter increases. When the swelling subsides, circumference decreases.

Decreases weight in patients with lymphedema. Fluid retention adds weight to a patient. When lymphedema is addressed with massage, weight is consequently reduced. Increases lymphocyte count. Lymphocytes are types of WBCs. This effect indicates that massage supports immune functions. Increases the number and function (or cytotoxicity) of natural killer cells. Natural killer cells are also types of WBCs. This further suggests that massage strengthens immune functions and might help individuals with immune disorders.

Stimulates sebaceous glands 
Stimulation of the sebaceous (oil) glands causes an increase of sebum production. This added sebum improves the skin’s condition and reduces skin dryness.

Stimulates Sudoriferous glands 
Sudoriferous (sweat) gland stimulation increases insensible perspiration. Insensible perspiration is the constant evaporative cooling that occurs as microscopic beads of perspiration evaporate from the skin surface.Improves skin pathologies. Unless a condition contraindicates massage, skin pathologies may improve by decreasing redness, reducing thickening/hardening of the skin, increasing healing of skin abrasions, and reducing itching.

Benefits of Massage on the Skin and Related Increases skin temperature

Warming of the skin indicates a reduction of stress and other benefits outlined below. Improves skin condition. As superficial blood vessels dilate and circulation increases, the skin appears hyperemic. This brings added  keloid formation. Massage applied to scar tissue helps reduce the formation of superficial keloid in the skin and excessive scar formation in the soft tissues beneath the site of massage application.Benefits of Massage on the Nervous and Endocrine SystemsReduces stress. Stress is reduced by activation of the parasympathetic nervous system. Reduces anxiety. Interestingly, a reduction in anxiety is noted in both the person who received the massage and the person who gave the massage.Promotes relaxation. General relaxation is promoted though activation of the relaxation response. Relaxation also has a diminishing effect on pain. Decreases beta wave activity. Associated with relaxation, a decrease in beta brainwave activity occurred during and after the massage (confirmed by electroencephalogram [EEG]).Increases delta wave activity. Increases in delta brainwave activity are linked to sleep and to relaxation; both are promoted with massage (confirmed by EEG).Increase in alpha waves. An increase in alpha brainwave during massage indicates relaxation (confirmed by EEG). Increases dopamine levels. Increased levels of dopamine are linked to decreased stress levels and reduced depression.Increases serotonin levels. Increased levels of serotonin suggest a reduction of both stress and depression. It is believed that serotonin inhibits transmission of noxious signals to the brain, indicating that increased levels of serotonin may also reduce pain.Reduces cortisol levels. Massage reduces cortisol levels by activating the relaxation response. Elevated levels of cortisol not only represent heightened stress but also inhibit immune functions. Reduces norepinephrine levels. Massage has been proven to reduce norepinephrine, a stress hormone; reduced norepinephrine levels are linked to the relaxation response. Reduces epinephrine levels. Epinephrine, another stress hormone, is reduced with massage. Reduces feeling of depression. Both chemical and electrophysiological changes from a negative to a positive mood were noted and may underline the decrease in depression after massage therapy. Decreases pain. Massage relieves local and referred pain caused by hypersensitive trigger points, presumably by increasing circulation, thereby reducing ischemia. Massage also stimulates the release of endorphins (endogenous morphine), enkephalins, and other pain-reducing neurochemicals. General relaxation brought on by massage therapy also has a diminishing effect on pain. The pressure of a massage interferes with pain information entering the spinal cord by stimulating pressure receptors further reducing pain gate theory. Massage interrupts the pain cycle by relieving muscular spasms, increasing circulation, and promoting rapid disposal of waste products. Massage also improves sleep patterns. During deep sleep, a substance called somatostatin is normally released. Without this substance, pain is experienced.

Reduces analgesic use

Because pain is reduced with massage, so is the need for excessive use of pain medication.Activates sensory receptors. Depending on factors such as stroke choice, direction, speed and pressure, massage can stimulate different sensory receptors, affecting the massage outcome. For example, cross-fiber tapotement stimulates muscle spindles, which activates muscular contraction, while a slow passive stretch and deep effleurage activate Golgi tendon organs, which inhibits muscular contraction. Activation of sensory pressure receptors reduces pain.Faster and more elaborate development of the hippocampal region of the brain. Part of the limbic system, development of the hippocampal region is related to superior memory performance.Increases vagal activity. Increased activity of the vagal nerve lowers physiological arousal and stress hormones. A decrease in stress hormones leads to enhance immune functions. One of the branches of the vagus nerve is known as the “smart branch.” Stimulation of this nerve branch increases facial expression and vocalization, which reduces feelings of depression. Right frontal EEG activation shifted to left frontal EEG activation. Right frontal EEG activation is associated with a sad affect and left frontal EEG activation is associated with a happy effect. This implies that the client experienced an improvement of mood during the massage.Decreases H-amplitude levels during massage. A decrease of 60% to 80% was noted. This reduction is crucial for the comfort of patients with spinal cord injuries because it signifies a decrease of muscle cramps and spasm activity. 

The Wright Center Massage Therapy & Micro-current
8777 San Jose Blvd. Ste. 701 Jacksonville, FL 32217 US
Phone: 904-448-9448 Website:

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8777 San Jose Blvd. Ste. 701, Jacksonville, FL 32217

 (904) 448-9448 

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