Massage and its Health Benefits

August 2, 2021

In the recent past, massage has increasingly become an essential measure for recreation purposes and its therapeutic values, whereby it is being used to alleviate some musculoskeletal pains. The massage process usually refers to the soft manipulation of tissues to bring about relation, resulting in pleasure among the individuals. The techniques mainly result in the release of endocannabinoids in the limbic system in the brain resulting in an eventual improvement in the mood of the individuals. With the recent advancement in contemporary medicine, physical therapy that mainly uses massage has gained importance. It is increasingly being used to manage various musculoskeletal problems among the patient, such as sports acquired muscle injuries. The importance of such a measure is that it saves the patient from the side effects that would result from the use of the pharmacologic agents. Massage is becoming an important measure to bring general improvements among the patients, especially those in the elderly age suffering from back pains. Various techniques are applicable in multiple instances, and thus a better understanding of the techniques is vital.  This paper aims to critically review some of the massage techniques that are applicable in various scenarios. Further, the paper will discuss the benefits to the body that are associated with massage.

Massage Techniques

Effleurage (Stroking) Technique

The Effleurage (Stroking) usually involves the circular stroking massage technique. In this form, light pressure is applied, mainly used at the beginning of the massage treatment. The technique is primarily performed using fingers and the flat part of the hand. This form of massage is further subdivided into various categories such as nerve stroking, aura strokes, superficial effleurage, and deep effleurage. In these techniques, one might use lotion or not. This form of practice usually works as a mechanical pump of the body, and it improves circulation.

Petrissage Techniques

Thus, the technique mainly involves the stretching and kneading of the soft tissues. Nevertheless, the method is highly beneficial when muscle relief is the target. Additionally, it also stimulates the circulatory and lymphatic systems.

Tapotement Technique

This technique is majorly used in Swedish massage, and it mainly entails a rhythmic percussion of the skin surface. The percussion should be done using the fingertips rather than the whole hand surface.

Frictions Technique

This technique mainly involves some rubbing movements in the skins. Therefore, the rubbing movements are primarily applied to the skin surface of the individual. In most instances, the pressure is deeply applied using the balls of the fingers or using the thumb, and the rubbing can be done in a circular manner or a back and forth pattern.

Benefits of Massage

Therapeutic Benefit

One of the most striking benefits associates with massage is its therapeutic tome in treating muscle and joint pains. In the absence of tendon tear and bleeding lesions, deep massage has a therapeutic role in treating most sports-acquired injuries and has made physical therapy increasingly crucial in contemporary medicine. Its significance is that it ensures that individuals do not use opioids to treat pain since they are associated with a significantly high risk of addiction.  Further, most of the therapist uses massage among patients suffering from depression. A superficial massage usually stimulates the endocannabinoid system to release some endocannabinoids that generally bring about pleasure when they act on the limbic system. Thus, the use of massage is highly recommended due to its therapeutic role.

Massage Acts As Stress Reliever

Massage is a successful therapy to help relieve stress. It reduces stress by decreasing the heart rate, secreting endorphins or the feel-good hormones, and muscle relaxation. The massage technique raises the body temperatures and stimulates muscle relaxation. Once the body relaxes, the heart rate is lowered. As a result, the stress intensities are alleviated, and relaxation and calm feelings intensify. Massage also relieves stress by secreting endorphins that calm the peripheral nervous system.  Once the endorphins are produced, they penetrate the peripheral nervous system leading to relaxation. Besides, the stress-associated hormones are reduced, leading to stress relief. When massage alleviates stress, it also reduces other emotional disturbances linked to stress, such as depression and anxiety. Obtaining a massage is also valuable in boosting the sensation of well-being; massage turns on the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) that is triggered by relaxation;  stimulation of the PNS assists in healing certain health disorders and improves happiness and mood.

Massage Reduces Muscle Tension

Massage is beneficial since it acts as a muscle tension reliever.  An intensified muscle tension results in pain, stiffness, and movement restrictions.  Physical exercises can accumulate stress within the muscles leading to muscle tension. Massage assists in alleviating the symptoms of elevated muscle tension by permitting muscle healing and reestablishing the movement. Massage also raises the soft tissue temperatures and stimulates the relaxation of muscles. Besides, alleviating muscle tension ensures muscle flexibility and decreases the risk of injury. Massage also harnesses friction on the skin surface, which elevates temperatures; intensified temperatures encourage muscle relaxation and improves muscle tone. Massage can also relieve tension by decreasing pain.

Serves an Importance Recreational Activity

Massage also improves relaxation since it relieves pain and generates a relaxation reaction.  It triggers muscle relaxation by relaxing and separating the muscle fibers. As a result, the muscles are stretched, which relieves muscle tension and permits improved movement. The massage decreases muscle tightness through the application of direct pressure. The elongation of the muscle fibers during massage is essential as it maintains muscle flexibility, strength, and health. The relaxation state entails the breathing and heart rate slows; the blood pressure reduces, the stress hormone secretion decreases, leading to muscle relaxation. Massage also reduces muscle tension by reducing pain. Tension around a region can generate elevated soft tissue and muscle tension. Massage can be effectively utilized in relieving pain by eliminating waste products and disrupting the pain signals.

Increased Joint Flexibility and Movement

Massage also results in improved joint flexibility and movement, and it’s a primary benefit of massage. The joint flexibility is enhanced by the elongation and relaxation of the muscles encountered during the massage. Intensified joint and muscle flexibility permit the full extent of joint movement. Massage works on connective tissues, muscles, joints, ligaments, and tendons, which helps to enhance the capacity of motion and flexibility.  Massage also assists in improving the extent of movement when the tension is decreased. Once relaxation is improved, the muscle fibers become loosened. Amplified muscle fibers mobility permits more joint flexibility and mobility. Thus, massage helps to reduce muscle tension, decrease the recovery time, restores joint mobility, and enhances flexibility.

Beneficial in Enhancing Circulation

Massage is also essential in enhancing blood circulation. Massage assists in boosting circulation since the pressure developed by massage transport the blood through the congested region; adequate blood flow is enhanced by releasing the pressures surrounding the crowded area. In addition, proper circulation conveys oxygenated blood that the tense muscle require to initiate the healing process. Improved blood circulation to the muscles is among the most beneficial implications of massage. The enhanced blood circulation transports additional nutrients and oxygen to the muscles. The improved blood circulation also promotes the removal of waste products, which is essential in alleviating muscle tension.  The enhanced blood circulation is also crucial in promoting the healing of soft tissue injuries. Since the high nutrients and oxygen delivery facilitates the healing process.

Improves Lymphatic Drainage

Massage also stimulates the lymphatic system and promotes the flow of lymphatic fluids throughout the body. During the massage, lymphatic drainage triggers the lymphatic system to intensify lymph flow. Boosting the lymphatic flow enhances the efficacy of the lymphatic system. The more effective lymphatic system decreases muscular swelling, pain, weakness, fatigue, and muscle pain.

Conclusively, various massage techniques can be utilized in different settings depending on the aim of the massage. Massage has multiple benefits to the human body as well as a significant therapeutic role. The therapeutic role of massage has led to physical therapy as an essential branch of medicine. It is increasingly being used to treat patients, especially those who acquire some sports injury while playing.

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