How Massage Works
Massage is probably the most overlooked physical medicine, its benefits are many and cannot be reproduced by any other medium.
It has been used for thousands of years in many cultures around the world to relieve strain and tension and improve tone and circulation in muscles, tendons, ligaments and abdominal organs and tissues of the body, even the skin.
Remedial massage treatments are aimed at specific problem areas to clear knotted muscle fibres and scar tissue, drain oedema, which block circulation, cause a build up of toxins and impede repair of damaged tissue.
Once the damage or obstrucion has been cleared fresh blood is able to reach the tissues properly, speeding repair, toxins will be flushed out effectively and the hyperactive response of the nerves caused by strain that makes them sensitive will be calmed. Massage creates better blood flow to and toxin removal from the tissues overall, this helps muscle and joint function, aerobic activity of your muscles and speeds recovery rate. The loosening, stretching and toning effect that massage has on the muscles and soft tissues improves flexibility, co-ordination of movement and allows your posture to be easier and straighter.
Regular treatments are effective for maintenance and prevention of everyday aches and pains and for more specific problems during sports training. For relaxation, you can have treatment as often as you like, or just a top up from time to time.
Why Do We Ache?
Minor aches and pains are a result of everyday living but this does not mean that they should be
ignored, they are your bodies only way of telling us that a problem exists.
Aches and pains in muscles and joints are most often the result of tension and small tears in the fibres, caused by repetitive strain, poor posture, emotional stress, or old injuries that inhibit your movement but no longer on a conscious level as your body has learned to adapt around the problem area.
These small strains left untreated will become painful and restricting, eventually causing scar tissue and making the muscle fibres which, are normally pliable, more brittle and inflexible.
In addition tension and restrictions blood flow cause lactic acid to build in the tissues which causes more ache and burning sensations, leading to increased tension in the muscles.
This perpetuates the cycle, and can result in a much more serious injury, usually the type that catch us unawares while doing the most simple and familiar tasks, but can also make us vulnerable to strain during strenuous work and exercise. Scar tissue and strains inhibit muscle growth, function and strength and so our ability to improve physical performance.
There are many styles and techniques of massage, even therapists trained in the same methods tend to vary how these are used and develop their own style, generally massage aimed at treating problems in the body tend to be deeper and stronger than the purely relaxing types of massage. My massage training and experience began with Remedial Massage at The Northern Institute of Massage in 1988, along side further training and clinical practice in an osteopathic clinic. I later studied Tui Na (Chinese Massage) with the Academy of Oriental Medicine.
My studies included the following massage techniques:
Deep Abdominal Massage (An Mo Fu)
Passive movement & stretching techniques
Isometric / muscle energy techniques.
Massage is always adapted to the patients needs, and constitution and their problems or ailments and a full consultation is taken to ensure the correct type of treatment.
As Well as the direct effect on the tissues of the body, massage benefits the whole body via its
effect on the circulation and nervous system. For example working on the feet also stimulates reflexes of the internal organs and helps to unblock and stimulate the pathways of communication to our brain of the sensory reflexes responsible for our balance.
Abdominal massage helps relax and tone the internal organs, giving tremendous benefit to our general health by improving function and helping to clear out toxins from the systems that are vital to life.
Massage is both relaxing and stimulating to the nervous system, it wakes up tired or damaged nerves, while soothing and calming over activity. It also stimulates the brain to produce endorphins, the bodies natural tranquillisers, which make you feel happy, mentally alert and keep you healthy.
Massage acts as a manual pump on the circulation while you are at rest, taking some of the pressure off the heart and blood vessels and improving circulation. This in turn increases the supply of nutrition to your bodies tissues and toxin removal through lymphatic fluid.
Lymph is the part of your blood which carries toxins out of the bodies tissues, is also responsible for carrying white blood cells around the body to attack invading organisms, in other words it is a major part of our immune system, the benefits here are obvious, aren’t they?
Can you think of a better way to improve all of these functions in your body while doing absolutely nothing?