Massage helps the muscles relax by stimulating a reflex response of the nervous system.|
The application of smooth, steady, rhythmical massage can relieve tension and soothe sore muscles.
This decrease in muscle tension causes the muscle to become more relaxed
Also, massage's effect on the circulatory system is beneficial
for the healing of soft tissue injuries.
Massage's ability to aid in the recovery from soft tissue injuries,
such as sprains and strains, is an important use of massage.
Many soft tissue injuries are not serious
enough to cause a visit to the doctor or hospital for treatment.Therefore, many
injuries are treated with first aid; but they still may cause some discomfort
and disability long after the initial injury. Massage can speed and improve
the rate of recovery and reduce discomfort from such mishaps.
To understand how massage helps healing in cases of soft tissue injury,
it is important to understand the inflammatory process. Inflammation begins
because blood circulates to the injured area to bring important chemicals
essential for healing. After a period of time,the initial inflammation stops.
If applied at this point, massage will help again increase circulation, and thus
promote healing, as the increased blood flow brings additional oxygen and nutrients
to the injured area. In this way, massage helps bridge the gap between common neglect
of injury and major expensive medical intervention.
Massage can also help stimulate the flow of lymph, the fluid that helps
the body remove waste products. Massage helps facilitate the flow of lymph
to areas where pain has slowed down the ability of this natural cleanser
to remove the waste products of the injury.
Massage can affect muscles directly by stimulating inactive muscles
whose inactivity is due to illness or injury. Deep continuous massage can
relieve muscle tension and help prevent painful muscle spasms,which are
common following injury. Also, massage can stretch and break down
fibrous scar tissue that is not healing properly because
it is not aligned to the adjoining muscle fibers.
Massage affects pain through the central nervous system.
In one particular theory of pain called the "gate theory,
" messages of pain which normally travel from the injury to the brain,
are blocked before reaching the centers responsible for interpreting pain.
Massage helps stimulate and close the so-called gate of pain messages.
As a result, the intensity of the pain perceived by the brain is decreased.
Psychosomatic studies show how stress factors can cause migraines,
hypertension, depression, some peptic ulcers, etc. Some researchers have
estimated that 80% of disease is stress related. Soothing and relaxing massage therapy
can help reduce illness by counteracting stress effects.