The Ultimate Massage Guide (Everything You Need to Know About Massage) — How It Works And Scientific Findings

How Does Massage Work?

People feel better after getting a massage as it improves blood flow to many restricted muscles and improves circulation of the lymphatic system. This is the network that transmits infection-fighting cells from the body. Massages also help relax the muscles that result in reducing nerve compression. What’s more, massage reduces blood pressure and heart rate, which is why you feel a lot relaxed after getting a massage.

There are many ways through which massage therapy helps to ease muscle pain. Consider this, hyper-sensitive muscle knots might get built up in the body, which creates a feeling of soreness in the body. Rubbing the disturbed area with hands as a way to massage the area is a good way to alleviate pain and get rid of the knots. The pain may stem from a point in the upper trapezius muscle if you have a temporal headache, for example.

Finding out the root cause of the pain will also help you address the root problem. You will need to apply pressure where the individual might tolerate it. Slowly massage the points from eight to ten seconds which will help release and elongate the muscles. This way, the muscles will get re-educated to stay loose and long rather than being bunched up.

As a preventative measure, massage helps to promote a relaxed state in body muscles which helps to maintain a good posture, with joints in a better alignment. A good posture will go a long way toward getting rid of pains and musculoskeletal aches.

How to Do Massage?

There are different ways of doing a massage. Some people would go for massage ball therapy, while some would like to simply have a relaxing session in a massage chair. Whatever be the case, the benefits are pretty much the same.

1. Neck Pain Massage

Neck pain is usually caused by poor posture and overuse of muscles. It may happen from day-to-day activities, such as hunching over a phone or a laptop or reading in bed without having adequate support for the neck.

If the neck feels painful and tight, you can try the therapeutic technique for self-massage. It might come as helpful if you have a knot in your neck.

How to Do it:

  • You will need to lower your shoulders away from the ears and then straighten up your back and neck.
  • Figure out the painful regions on your neck and press them firmly using your fingers
  • Gently make circular motions using your fingers and repeat the process in the otherwise direction.
  • Continue for three to five minutes.

2. Self-Massage

If you experience any sort of headache, self-massage might aid in releasing tension and improving relaxation. It might become highly beneficial if your headache is induced due to stress.

How to Do It?

  • You need to lower your shoulders away from the ears. Straighten the back and the neck
  • Locate the skull base and then place the middle fingers and the pointer of each hand towards the centre with your fingertips touching
  • You may apply some gentle pressure while sliding your fingers downwards or outwards, moving into the specific direction, whichever feels the best.
  • Move the fingers in some circular motions. Try focusing on the tense spots as well as the areas around them.

This technique will work best for massaging your lower back without the need to use any kind of equipment.

3. Massage Ball Technique

This is also a method you can use for releasing tense muscles, especially in your back.

How to Do It?

  • Sit on a flat surface with both your legs crossed and straighten your back
  • Place the thumbs on either side of the sacral bone with the flat triangular bone towards the bottom most of your spine
  • Move both your thumbs in circular, small movements up and down the sacrum
  • Apply some pressure on the tense spots, take a pause, and then release
  • Continue the process if important and take deep breaths

Top scientific and Health Benefit Aspects of Massage

The benefits of massage are a lot more than feeling relaxed – science suggests various benefits of getting a massage. Let’s see some studies that explain how:

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality showed in review 20 studies that compared body massage to other care interventions and found that there was evidence suggesting massage to be helpful in reducing chronic low back pain. What’s more, the agency also considered six studies that evaluated different massage types, showing positive benefits for the individuals.

A review from a 2015 Cochrane study suggested that massage might be beneficial for short-term relief from mild to moderate low back pain. The guidelines from the clinical practice in 2017 were issued by the American College of Physicians mentioned massage therapy as a choice to treat acute and subacute lower back pain.

What’s more, massage helps in the proper blood circulation in your body. That means your body organs get ample nutrients and oxygen when blood is circulating around them. Also, your lymphatic drainage system starts working more effectively. If there are any dead cells or toxins built in the draining nodules, a quick message has the capacity to help your body detoxify the unwanted content efficiently. Therefore, you will have a stronger immune system, and there will be a decreased chance of having any inflammation in your body.

Massage for People with Chronic Diseases

With some considerable precautions, massage therapy might be a part of supportive care for a number of cancer patients who would want to consider it. What’s more, there is evidence suggesting it may relieve anxiety and chronic pain as well in cancer patients. The clinical practice guidelines for women with breast cancer include massage as one of the best approaches that appear to be beneficial in reducing stress, fatigue, anxiety, depression, and quality of life.

Some evidence suggests massage therapy to be a lot helpful in alleviating the risk of depression and anxiety in people having HIV/AIDS and other diseases. Some of the other conditions in which massage may also be helpful include acute pain or fever. Also, massage helps to improve the quality of life in patients with communicable diseases like HIV/AIDS.

A meta-analysis and systematic review of 10 studies contrasted the different effects of massage therapies in 2015. It found that most of the styles of massage came with beneficial effects on the life quality of patients with fibromyalgia.

The Risks of Not Massaging Your Muscles

Now that you know about the variety of benefits that massage comes with for healthy individuals as well as individuals with the disease, you might want to know if there are any risks that come with never massaging your muscles.

For instance, if there is a middle-aged man with full-time work stress and has a family to look after, he might not get any time to take care of his body. Sitting at a desk from 9 to 5 may interfere with his physical health – his stress levels will rise, his muscles will begin to get tense, and he might even experience some pain or soreness in different areas of the body, especially the back and the neck.

It turns out when you remain in a sedentary position and don’t do much to unwind those knots of muscles that get built up in that way; you are likely to develop these things. Moreover, there might be less lymphatic drainage in your body if you don’t do anything for the blood circulation to keep going in a flow. So, the best way to address this situation is to be mindful of it – you might want to get a massage chair if you don’t have the time to go to a massage therapist, or you might want to book an appointment from time to time to get those knots released and destress your body from head to toe.

This will help you to have better physical health and mental health. Proper blood circulation, for example, will help you to protect yourself against a number of conditions such as inflammation. Moreover, it may have a positive impact on your immune system as well. If you don’t pay heed to your body getting stiff and deprived of getting the proper blood circulation it needs, then you might experience conditions that decrease the quality of your life.

Conclusion

Massage works wonders for your body – it helps in improving your immune system, improves blood circulation in your body, alleviates pain, reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, and the benefits of this therapy in patients with different diseases are effective enough – that’s why massage is often included in the clinical practice guidelines for a number of conditions. Science has backed the benefits of massage with a lot of high-quality evidence. Considering all these plus points, it is wise to include massage in your daily routine – and there are various ways to do it; Ask your partner to give you a massage, get an appointment with a massage therapist, or get a massage chair.

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