Massage: A Scientific Perspective
Our daily schedule is so busy and hectic that it tires our body and mind. When you feel too tired, stressed and uneasy, massage is one of the best things that can give peace to your mind and body. It is an art that reduces your stress to a great extent. It works on the body with a pressure that softens your body tissues and provides relaxation to your whole body. Massage techniques are applied with fingers, feet, hands, elbows, forearms etc. Nowadays it is applied by using some massage devices also. It is generally used for the treatment of body stress and pain. People are treated with a massage by laying them on a massage table, or on a mat, on the floor or sitting on a massage chair. A surface like a bed or a floor is commonly used to give an effective massage.
Everyone knows that massage is beneficial and removes body pain and stress but not all of us know the reason behind this.
A scientific look at massages
In a research, it has been found that massage increases the various types of lymphocytes like WBC that support our immune system and decreases the level of stress hormones such as cortisol. The sensation of massage pressure stops the pain sensation from going to your brain and hence helps to reduce pain. You feel pain when your body is stretched, and muscles are tight in this scenario, our body develops adhesions that block the circulation and limit our movements. Massage physically break down the adhesions, soften the muscles and stretch them with the direction of muscles fibers and restore the normal movements of muscles. Rubbing the adhesion muscles relaxes the tissues and reduces painful contractions by reminding the tissue that it can be loose. A good massage can decrease pain and nausea, improve mood and even gain weight in preterm infants.
Massage produces a relaxation response. Now the question is what is relaxation response? It is a state in which your blood pressure goes normal, your breath and heart rate becomes normal, production of stress hormones decreases and your muscles get relaxed. There is a chemical in our body called serotonin that positively affects our thoughts and emotions. Relaxation response also increases the level of serotonin in our body. It also helps to decrease physical effects and the risks associated with stress such as anxiety, insomnia, hypertension, digestive disorders, fatigue etc. Massage improves the blood and lymph circulation. This is because of the manipulation of soft tissues and the chemical releases at the time of relaxation response.
There is a word Piezoelectricity (a healing property of soft tissues) which means the electricity that results from pressure. Our body parts generate this kind of electricity that repair the tissues after trauma or irritation. The pressure released by getting a massage produce Piezoelectricity that repairs the body to heal faster than it normally does. This is how massage reduces painful contractions & spasms and nerve compression as well.