Massage causes physiological changes to the body.

  1. The relaxation response is an involuntary although predictable response of the nervous system to techniques and touch.
  2. The mechanical responses are physical effects that occur in the body when touch and pressure are applied to the soft tissues.

Massage causes these responses to help produce physical and emotional benefits.

With the relaxation response - the heart and breathing rate slows, the blood pressure goes down, the production of stress hormones decrease, and the muscles relax. It also seems to increase the level of serotonin, the chemical that positively affects emotions and thoughts. It can also decrease the physical effects of stress and reduces the risks associated with stress, such as hypertension, arrhythmia, anxiety, insomnia, fatigue, digestive issues, and psychological issues.

The mechanical responses in massage offer two major physical effects:

  1. Increase in blood and lymph circulation.
  2. Relaxation and normalization of the soft tissue (muscle, connective tissue, tendons, ligaments), which releases nerves and deeper connective tissues.

Improving Circulation

Mechanical responses are believed to improve blood and lymph circulation. Improved circulation speeds up the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the muscular cells. As such, cellular health improves, tissues function more efficiently, quicker removal of waste, which helps to reduce swelling in soft tissue. Mechanical responses also include relaxing the muscle tissue, reducing nerve compression, and relaxes tendons and ligaments.

Our organs also benefit from massage as they share the same neurological pain pathways with muscles, bones, and nerves.