Massage Therapy

What Is Massage Therapy?

Massage therapy is a hands-on manipulation of the soft tissue and joints of the body. The soft tissues include muscle, skin, tendons and associated fascia, ligaments and joint capsules.

Massage has many diverse physiological effects, which are primarily due to the therapist's hands moving over the body. The different movements can physically stretch muscles, ligaments, tendons and fascia, encourage the circulation through the tissue, inhibit muscular spasms and be either sedating or stimulating to the nervous system.

The therapeutic use of massage by a registered massage therapist affects all the systems of the body - in particular, the muscular, circulatory, lymphatic (immune) and nervous systems.

Benefits of Massage Therapy

Many of today's health problems can benefit from massage therapy because the manipulation of soft tissues affects so many of our bodily systems.

The benefits of massage are extensive. Massage therapy treatments will have a therapeutic affect and improve health by acting directly on the muscular, nervous, circulatory and lymphatic (immune) systems.
ChiroACCESS Editorial Staff

The 2010 Job Analysis of Chiropractic, produced by the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners:

Multiple forms of massage including Swedish massage, myofascial induction, “standard massage”, “skin rubdown with a dry towel”, and other forms all demonstrate positive immunological changes. However, in one study where light touch was used as a control, there was no change in biomarkers suggesting there is some minimal pressure threshold that must be met before immune function is modulated. Study groups varied in age from children to the aged and from immunologically compromised AIDS and cancer patients to healthy subjects yet the outcomes were similar. In addition to improving immune function there is evidence that massage reduces stress, pain, depression, anger, and improves sleep.

ChiroACCESS - 12/2/2010

Los Angeles Times article (July 5, 2011) on the benefits of Massage Therapy for Low Back Pain:

Massage treatments aim to:
  • Develop, maintain, rehabilitate or augment physical function.
  • Relieve or prevent physical dysfunction and pain.
  • Relax tight and tense muscles.
  • Improve circulation, recovery time and immune system function.
  • Reduce overall stress.
Massage therapy is also effective in the control of pain chronic or acute, in stress reduction, and in creating a sense of relaxation and well-being

Massage Therapy and Stress Reduction

Prolonged periods of stress can subconsciously affect many systems of the body.

Stress has been shown to aggravate, or even cause, such problems as heart disease, gastrointestinal disorders, memory loss and decreased immune function.

Massage therapy is one of the best antidotes for stress.

Massage boosts the body's immune system, which can become compromised from extended periods of stress. Tension can build up in the muscles, causing a decrease in circulation and nutrient delivery to tissues.

Manipulation of the soft tissue decreases muscular tension, increases removal of metabolic waste and promotes nutrient delivery to healing tissue.