Massage has a number of benefits for the body, mind and soul.
It maintains the body in a generally better condition, prevents injuries or loss of mobility, and can restore mobility to injured muscle tissue. It also boosts performance and extends the overall life of your sporting activities.
Effects on the body
Pumping – The stroking movements in massage suck fluid through blood and lymph vessels. By increasing the pressure in front of the stroke, a vacuum is created behind. This is especially important in tight or damaged muscle tissue as a tight muscle will squeeze blood out like a sponge, depriving the tissues of vital nutrients and energy to repair.
Deep massage pressure causes the pores in tissue membranes to open, enabling fluids and nutrients to pass through. This helps remove waste products such as lactic acid and encourage the muscles to take up oxygen and nutrients which help them recover quicker.
Stretching – Areas that could not be stretched in the usual methods, or are difficult to stretch on your own can be stretched. Bundles of muscle fibres are stretched in many different directions. The sheath or fascia that surrounds the muscle also gets stretched, which releases tension or pressure build up. Hard training can make tissues hard and inelastic. This is one reason why hard training may not result in improvements. Massage helps reverse this by stretching the tissues.
Break down of scar tissue – Scar tissue is the result of previous injuries or trauma and can effect prevent the best performance of muscle, tendons and ligaments. This can lead to inflexible tissues that are prone to further injury and pain.
Effects on the Mind
Pain reduction – Tension and waste products in muscles can often cause pain. Massage helps reduce this in many ways including releasing the bodies endorphins. Endorphins are our bodies ‘happy’ hormones, this increases relaxation which improves the physical affects on our bodies. Through the heat generated, circulation and stretching mechanoreceptors which sense touch, pressure, tissue length and warmth are stimulated causing a reflex relaxation.
Effects on the Soul
The physical and mental affects of massage create the conditions for superior meditative prayer because our anxiety is reduction we can focus on that which raises our spirituality. Focus during prayerful moments in our day can be disrupted by the body crying out for attention. Our Soul and Body are frequently at war with one another the one seeking a higher connection and the other the physical. Through the healing touch of massage the release of endorphins relaxes the physical body ‘freeing’ the Soul to connect and seek healing.