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Systemic Benefits

In terms of physiology, massage involves two types of responses:

  • Mechanical responses as a result of pressure and movement as the soft tissues are manipulated
  • Reflex responses in which the nerves respond to stimulation

These two responses have effects and benefits throughout the body system. Our wellness retreat focuses holistically on them.

Effects of Massage on the Skin:

  • Improved circulation increases sebum, making the skin soft and supple
  • Increased nutrition to the cells, encouraging cell regeneration
  • Sweat glands are activated, hence waste products and toxins are eliminated
  • Massage helps the skin shed the top layer composed of dead cells (desquamation). Sensory nerve endings can be either soothed or stimulated
  • When oil is used, the skin’s health and appearance can benefit
  • Vasodilation of the capillaries improves the color of the skin

Effects of Massage on the Skeletal System:

  • Releases restrictions and adhesions in the fascia thus restoring range of motion to the joints and increasing joint movement
  • Improves posture and body alignment reducing the strain on bones and joints
  • By releasing tight muscles and tendons it releases joint strain
  • Reduces joint swelling

Effects of Massage on the Muscular System:

  • Reduces soft tissue and muscle pain
  • Increases body’s flexibility due to a higher hydration in the muscles
  • Removes toxins and waste products from the muscles
  • Increases nutrients to the muscles, reducing fatigue and soreness

Effects of Massage on the Cardiovascular System:

  • Dilates the blood vessels making them work more effectively
  • Lowers blood pressure at least temporarily, due to dilation of the capillaries
  • Lowers heart rate due to relaxation
  • Reduces ischemic pain
  • Increases number of white, and red blood cells

Effects of Massage on the Lymphatic System:

  • Increases lymphatic flow
  • Increases lymphatic drainage, reduces edema, and enhances the removal of waste
  • Massage assists the action of gravity in producing lymphatic drainage and, at the same time, helps to secure restoration of the tone of the vaso-motor system
  • Regular massage may help strengthen the immune system

Effects of Massage on the Nervous System:

  • Massage stimulates sensory receptors, either calming or stimulating nerves
  • Stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system and relaxation response
  • Reduces pain by releasing endorphins
  • Lessens depression through releasing serotonin enhancing hormones
  • Decreases beta wave activity and increases both delta and alpha wave activity in the brain, promoting relaxation, and more helpful sleep.

Effects of Massage on the Respiratory System

  • Deepens respiration and improves lung function by reducing tension in the respiratory muscles
  • Helps strengthen respiratory muscles, leading to improvement in pulmonary function (vital capacity of the lungs, expiratory volume, and peak expiratory flow)
  • Helps promote fluid discharge from the lungs and reduces tension in the laryngeal region
  • Slows down the rate of respiration, hence less oxidation.

Effects of Massage in the Digestive System

  • Increases peristalsis in the large intestine, helping to relieve gas spasms and constipation
  • Improves digestion by enhancing the functioning of the parasympathetic system

Effects of Massage on the Endocrine System

  • Triggers the release of certain hormones into the body. An increase in dopamine leads to reduced levels of stress and depression. Increased serotonin and norepinephrine levels also trigger relaxation
  • Helps to decrease cortisol levels in the body, which in turn lowers stress levels and heightens the function of the immune system
  • Overall, causes a rebalancing towards normal levels

Effects of Massage on the Urinary System

  • Increases output due to increased circulation and lymph drainage
  • Increases the levels of metabolic waste found in the urine, thus cleansing the body

Effects of Massage on the Reproductive System

  • Can help alleviate symptoms of dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation) by decreasing pain promoting drainage
  • Massage can help reduce side effects of pregnancy including back pain, sleep difficulties, and even high blood pressure
  • Some doctors feel that the triggering of relaxation response by massage may make infertility treatments more likely to succeed.


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