Massage and joint movement increases blood supply to bones, this helps nutrition to flow, feeding growing bones. The increased blood flow helps get rid of waste matter. Massage improves posture. Brings good body tone and balance, reducing stress on joints and bones. Posture will improve when the muscles are relaxed and lengthened. Poor posture impacts on the other systems of the body. For example sitting slouched with drooped shoulders and tight pectorals in a slumped posture will stop the lungs from fully expanding. Massage can improve mobility. If a person had stiffness and restricted mobility within their joints, massaging with passive movements can ease the joints improving their range of movement. This is caused by the warming up of the synovial fluid within the joint making it more fluid. Movement causes a release of fresh synovial fluid into the joint, lubricating a dry joint. A dry joint will cause friction and pain. Also any thickening of the connective tissue may be reduced helping to release restrictions in the joint. It helps to loosen adhesions, improve scar tissue and reduce inflammation, helping to improve mobility to stiff joints. Massage reduces physical stress placed on bones and joints which improves muscle tone and balance. Due to increased lymphatic and blood flow stimulated by massage red blood cells are released from bone marrow, which improves overall health and energy as they carry oxygen through the body.
There are three types of muscle in the body. Skeletal muscles are voluntary muscles that work with the connective tissues to allow movement in the body. When we want to move our brain sends impulses to the muscles to make them move. Cardiac muscles form most of the heart’s wall. They are called the myocardium and are involuntary muscles. They contract to make our heartbeat. Visceral muscles are also involuntary. These muscles are smooth and form the walls of the viscera. Visceral muscles are those that help move food along in the digestive tract, veins and arteries as well as the tubular structures of the urinary tract.
Massage increases the supply of blood and nutrients to muscles, restores tone and strength to muscles. It helps get rid of muscle adhesions due to illness or injury. It increases flexibility and strength in joints. Due to overuse muscles can stay contracted causing imbalance in the body. Tight muscles can constrict blood flow and will pull posture out of alignment. These problems can be corrected through massage by stretching and relaxing the muscle we increase flexability and encourage the muscle to return to its’ original length. When muscles work, they burn oxygen and glucose and produce lactic acid. A build up of lactic acid in the muscles will cause cramps and muscle soreness. Massage will remove the lactic acid and other waste products from the muscles relieving pain from that area. It will help reduce the formation of adhesions that occur due to overuse and general wear and tear, microscopic tears occur in the muscle fibres. If not treated these will be replaced by inelastic, scar tissue. We can adapt our massage moves to work into muscles to reduce their formation. Massage will improve muscle tone. Healthy muscles constantly contract and relax. Massage can improve the tone of the muscles of the inactive, bed ridden or paralyzed as they will have poor or no muscle tone.
Massage relieves muscle cramps, increases flexibility and tone, reduce waste products within the muscle. Massaging the muscle with care during a cramp can help to reduce the duration of it.
Effects on the Cardiovascular System
Massage can improve circulation by assisting the flow of blood back to the heart. It helps dilate blood vessels helping them to work better. It improves blood flow through the veins by bringing fresh oxygen and nutrients to the tissues and removing waste products, toxins and carbon dioxide. It can temporarily lower blood pressure, due to dilation of capillaries. It can decrease the heart rate due to relaxation. It helps to reduce ischaemia which is a reduced in flow of blood to body parts, often painful with tissue dysfunction. It improves the return of blood in the veins. Blood has to continually works hard against gravity to return from feet back to the heart. We massage towards the heart to help the return of blood through the veins. (blood carried in the veins). Massaging lowers blood pressure and has two positive effects on blood pressure, it will help the client relax and their heart rate decreases. Blood pressure is the pressure put on the artery wall each time blood passes through the artery. Massage slows the heart with fewer beats per minute reducing blood pressure.
The respiratory system is comprised of the lungs and the passages that lead to and from them. This system begins at the nostrils and end at the lungs. It is in the lungs that oxygen from the outside meets the blood via the thin tissues in the lungs. Massage deepens breathing improving lung capacity by relaxing any tightness in the respiratory muscles. Massage on the body encourages deep breathing which increases lung capacity and increases our ability to take in more air. It improves breathing patterns, helping us to relax. Through deeper breathing we help to eliminate carbon dioxide, allowing increased oxygen to all body tissues. Massage can have soothing effects and aids in relief of many, long-term respiratory disease, such as asthma and bronchitis. On long term conditions like cystic fibrosis daily massage plays a vital role as it dislodges and expels mucus from the body keeping the airways clear. Breathing is slowed down as there is reduced stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system. When people are stressed they breathe rapidly and shallowly, not inhaling enough oxygen and not exhaling enough carbon dioxide. This means our blood is being deprived of oxygen to take throughout our body. Massage stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system which slows and deepens breathing. Massage improves posture which will also make breathing deeper. Massage stimulates the intercostal muscles which are attached to the ribs when contracted these muscles pull on the ribs, which expand the lungs to cause inspiration, improving the condition and tone of these muscles. Massage improves the exchange of gases in the body. Throughout the body, there is an exchange of oxygen for carbon dioxide. This will be stimulated by massage.
Effects on the Lymphatic System
Excess fluid in the tissue is reduced during massage by increased lymphatic drainage and removal of waste from the system. Regular massage will increase white blood cells which may help to strengthen the immune system. In massage we drain lymph from the cells to the lymph nodes, this improves the circulation of lymph and the removal of toxins from the cells.
Effects on the Urinary System
The urinary system is mainly comprised of the kidneys, bladder and the urethra. It filters out toxins and certain waste products that the blood has taken from the cells. Massaging the kidneys can cleanse the blood and strengthens the urinary system. It speeds up the production of waste through the lungs, skin, blood and bowels. Due to increased circulation and lymph drainage from the tissues during massage we produce more urine that usual.
Massaging the body has a knock-on effect throughout all the systems of the body, bringing balance to the body, where it can repair and renew within the systems. Massage effects the body through manipulation of soft tissues with pressure and movement resulting in mechanical responses throughout the body. The nerves responding to stimulation causing reflex responses. By relaxing both body and mind, reducing anxiety/stress and making a person feel better, boosts self-esteem, positive thinking and improves body image and awareness leading to the client taking better care of their general health. There are different types of massage and these can be adapted to suit the specific needs of a persons health or well being. It can benefit all age groups and is now available in most beauty salons at a reasonable price.