What happens during a massage may surprise you. We’re not talking about the usual effects of a massage that most people are familiar with, including pain reduction and immediate relaxation. We’re talking about the processes that go on deep inside the body, affecting major organs, the nervous system, and even brain function. Massages come with plenty of benefits that you’ll experience immediately, but many of the benefits can have long-term effects that can improve your overall health.
What happens during a massage? A massage causes the nervous system’s relaxation response. This mechanical response is a physical effect that occurs when pressure has been applied to the soft tissues in the body. Both the mechanical and relaxation responses in the body can cause mental and physical benefits that can last for several hours or days after a massage. These benefits can include elevated mood, a reduction in anxiety and stress, a reduction in pain, improved circulation and flexibility, and improved sleep.
Surprisingly, there are many processes that take place inside the body during a massage that most people aren’t aware of. These physiological processes offer a wide range of benefits, most of which will give people who have never tried a massage the incentive to do so, in order to lead a happier, healthier life.
Physical Changes in the Body that Occur During a Massage
So, what exactly is the relax response? This is a state in which the breathing rate and heart rate slow down. Blood pressure also goes down as the muscles relax and the stress hormones decrease. This response is also said to boost serotonin levels. Serotonin is a chemical found in the body that has a positive impact on a person’s mood, thoughts, and emotions. People who are prone to depression are said to have lower than average serotonin levels in the body. More research is needed to determine the effects a massage has on serotonin production and levels in the body.
Once the relaxation response is triggered you can also expect a reduction in many of the physical effects stress has on the body such as high blood pressure, anxiety, sexual dysfunction, trouble sleeping, chronic fatigue, and digestive issues.
What is a Mechanical Response?
The best massage techniques used to manipulate the muscles and soft tissues in the body can also have significant physical effects on the body.
Manipulating the muscles and soft tissues can increase lymph circulation and blood circulation. The improved lymph and blood circulation is partially due to the chemicals that are released when the body is in a relaxed state and because of the physical manipulation of the soft tissues. When circulation is improved it provides an increase of nutrients and oxygen to the blood, muscles, and major organs in the body. Improved circulation also means a reduction in inflammation and fluid retention.
How Massage Affects the Soft Tissues in the Body
As we mentioned earlier, a massage can relax soft tissue and muscle tissue. This can help prevent delayed onset muscle soreness after a workout, and muscle spasms and contractions. People with sciatica can benefit from a massage because it can also reduce nerve compression. When a muscle group is contracted after a workout, it can compress nerves in the surrounding area. Once these muscles are relaxed, pressure is taken off the nerves. This process can instantly provide pain relief and can allow the muscles to receive essential nutrients. The nerves will begin to function properly and can transmit messages from and to the brain. This can result in improved functioning of the organs and muscles.
A Touch Can Cause Major Changes in the Body
When you apply pressure or touch the skin, this relaxes ligaments, muscles, tendons, and soft tissues. A massage therapist may not be able to easily access the deeper tissues in the body, but the release of the superficial layers of muscle can cause the deeper muscle tissues to relax, improving balance and improving alignment.
Massages Improve Organ Function
The organs will also benefit from a regular massage because the major organs share the neuro pathways with the nerves, bones, and muscles. When the nerves, bones, or muscles become stressed the organs can fail to perform properly due to this increased stress. A regular massage can improve the symptoms that are linked to the functioning of the muscles and the organs.
How Often Do I Need to Get a Massage to Experience These Benefits?
There’s no denying it, massages are expensive. Most of us can’t afford to get a massage once or twice the week, which is how often you should have one in order to enjoy both the mental and physical benefits a massage offers.
So, what’s the solution?
The initial cost of a massage chair is high, but when compared to the cost of four to eight massages a month from a massage therapist, a massage chair can actually save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars a month. The Human Touch Novo XT Massage Chair features the popular zero gravity position and offers an impressive thirty-four massage programs to choose from. It’s true that a massage chair won’t be able to replicate exactly the type of massage techniques your massage therapist uses, but many of the leading models on the market can come close.
To learn more about the leading models of massage chairs, click here to read our massage chair buyer’s guide.
What Chronic Conditions can Massages Treat?
If you suffer from chronic muscle pain, back pain, pain due to osteoporosis, fibromyalgia, or arthritis, a regular massage can keep your body working at optimal levels. Because regular massages have been shown to reduce stress and alleviate muscle spasms, discomfort, and pain, people who are suffering from nerve pain, arthritis, or fibromyalgia can rely on massages as a form of pain management.
A massage can also be beneficial to anyone who suffers from joint related pain and stiffness, people who suffer from chronic muscle spasms, and those who struggle with insomnia more than two to three times a week.
What Happens to Your Muscles During a Massage?
Exercise such as weight-lifting causes tiny tears in the muscles. This leads to inflammation as the body works hard to repair these tears. A massage causes the body to stop producing cytokines, a compound that plays a major role in inflammation. It can also stimulate mitochondria, which is what converts glucose into energy, a process that’s crucial to cell repair and function.
What are the Benefits of Massage?
A massage can majorly impact both your physical and mental health. Not only will you feel more relaxed during and following a massage, but you may also notice that you’re in a better mood, you feel more energized, and you may even sleep better at night.
Massage can reduce muscle tightness and soreness, it can prevent muscle spasms, improves lymph and blood circulation, boosts energy, improves mood, and promotes relaxation. There are many other benefits you can experience from a regular massage, such as a reduction in pain and improved sleep.
After a Massage I Feel Sick
There are a couple of reasons why you may feel sick after a massage. Intense massages, such as deep tissue massages can be very painful, especially if it has been a long time between massages or you’ve never had a deep tissue massage. During this type of massage the therapist will work out any knots you have, all over the body. This can be a painful process that’s been known to cause nausea immediately after or the following morning. However, many people who have experienced this type of massage have clearly claimed it’s worth the pain.
Another reason you may feel sick after a massage is due to the number of toxins that are released into the body. A massage will improve movement in the lymphatic system. As you know, the lymphatic system is responsible for removing waste from the blood. These toxins are then filtered through the kidneys and liver and will eventually be secreted. If your lymphatic system is sluggish, a deep tissue massage can give it the boost it needs to work more efficiently, but this comes at a price. The sudden release of these built up toxins can cause you to feel nauseous or even vomit immediately after treatment.
What happens during a massage, inside the body, can be life-changing for some. During a massage the blood and lymphatic system immediately get a boost, so you’ll experience improved circulation, the after-effects of which can cause a chain reaction in the body that begins with improved circulation and ends with organs and the nerves working more efficiently than ever before. Because of this, getting a massage regularly can be essential to your overall health and mental wellbeing.