What is a Therapeutic Massage?
A Therapeutic Massage involve a variety of different techniques from deep tissue to long relaxing strokes using aromatherapy massage oil.
What are the benefits of a Therapeutic Massage?
a)Increase flexibility by stretching and relaxing the muscle and encouraging it to return back to its’ normal relaxed length.
b)Remove waste products. When muscles work, they burn oxygen and glucose and produce lactic acid. This can build up in the muscles and add to muscle soreness.
c)Reduce the formation of adhesions. Through overuse and wear and tear, microscopic tears occur in the muscle fibres. These if not treated will be replaced by inelastic, scar tissue which is very inflexible.
d)Improve muscle tone. Healthy muscles are in a constant state of contraction and relaxation and so with massage we can improve the tone of the inactive or overused muscles.
e)Reduce cramps. We can increase the flexibility and tone of the muscle and reduce waste products within the muscle, which may reduce cramps.
The Skeletal System
a)Improves posture. Once the muscles are relaxed and lengthened, posture will improve. Poor posture will impact on the other systems of the body. For example rounded shoulders and tight pectorals and a slumped posture will prevent the lungs from expanding fully.
b)Improves mobility. In some one with a poor range of movement within their joints, massage and passive movements can ease the joint and improve the range of movement. This is due to a warming up of the synovial fluid within the joint making it more fluid and less viscous. Movement causes a release of fresh synovial fluid into the joint, where the joint may have been quite dry, causing friction and pain.
c)Release of red blood cells from the bone marrow. An indirect result of massage is to cause a release of red blood cells from bone marrow, which can only enhance health and energy as they carry life giving oxygen.
d)Increases circulation of blood to the bones.
The Cardio-vascular System
a)Massage encourages blood flow to the extremities, organs and superficial blood vessels.
b)Improves the venous return. Blood has to work against gravity to return from the extremities back to the heart. Whenever possible, particularly on the limbs, we massage towards the heart to assist the return of venous blood. (blood carried in the veins).
c)Lowers blood pressure. We help the client relax by helping them to be comfortable on the massage bench. Tight muscles create a resistance to blood flow, (known as peripheral resistance), which leads to an increase in blood pressure. Tight muscles are very difficult for blood to flow through and pressure builds up back at the heart. Relaxed muscles will therefore reduce blood pressure.
The Respiratory System
a)Encourages deep breathing. When people are stressed they breathe rapidly and shallowly. Massage stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system which slows and deepens breathing. Improved posture will also make breathing deeper.
b)Stimulates the intercostal muscles. The intercostal muscles attached to the ribs when contracted, pull on the ribs, which expand the lungs to cause inspiration. We can improve the condition and tone of these muscles with massage.
c)Improves gaseous exchange. In the lungs and at cellular level throughout the body, there is an exchange of oxygen for carbon dioxide. This will be stimulated by massage.
The Lymphatic System
a)Massage assists with the drainage of lymph from the cells to the lymph nodes. It improves the circulation of lymph and the removal of toxins from the cells.
b)Boosts immunity. Massage stimulates the production of lymphocytes (antibodies) which give us immunity. Also by stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system, immunity is stimulated.
c)Reduces oedema (swelling). A pooling of lymph due for example to injury or inactivity, can be reduced by careful effleurage towards the lymph nodes.
The Nervous System
Massage and touching the skin has such a powerful effect on our psyche and gives a great sense of well being.