The Benefits of Massage


Even today many people still regard massage as a luxury - a way of spending a pleasant half hour - but the benefits of massage were recognised over 5000 years ago by the Chinese. In the past massage was largely practised by priests/doctors and it is believed that the 'laying on of hands' was not so much a religious ceremony , but more a practical application for the relief of pain and the promotion of health in the tissues. The ancient Greeks considered massage an important part of their system of medicine and at the same time the Hindu priests wrote 'massage reduces fat, strengthens muscles and firms the skin', which perhaps gives some credence to the more recent claim that massage helps to reduce cellulite.

The cells of the body need a good supply of blood which contains all the ingredients for their growth, repair and nutrition. At the same time the body needs to eliminate the waste materials that arise from the production of energy and the debris from any tissue damage or inflammation. The techniques of massage stimulate the circulation of blood and increase both the supply and removal of substances on a cellular level necessary to keep the local tissue and internal organs and body systems healthy.

Massage effects the nervous system by stimulating the nerve receptors in the tissues which control tissue tension. This also stimulates the nerves which respond to touch, pressure, warmth etc. This has a reflex effect leading to further relaxation of the tissues and a reduction of pain.

Stiffness and tension in muscles puts pressure on the nervous and circulatory systems, which in turn effects the function of internal organs. Massage relaxes the whole body and helps restore harmony to the systems whilst adopting correct posture promotes good muscle tone and relieves tension.

A healthy body also relies on the efficient functioning of the lymphatic system, which is like a secondary vascular system which begins at a cellular level and absorbs excess interstitial fluid and returns it via the lymph nodes which filter out toxins to the bloodstream. Unlike the circulatory system, which relies on the pumping of the heart , the lymph requires muscle contraction as its motivating force - i.e. stretching and exercise. Massage has the same effect on the body as exercise. The lymph vessels run mainly parallel to the veins, so massage strokes stimulate the flow of blood and lymph at the same time.

Massage and healthy, regular exercise also stimulate the body to produce hormones called endorphins – the body's natural pain killer – which in turn aids in muscle relaxation and often produces a feeling of euphoria.

The body requires about 1.5 – 2 litres of water per day to remain healthy. Approximately 60% of this requirement comes from the food we eat – provided of course we eat healthily. If you have a busy lifestyle and tend to skip meals throughout the day, you are probably not receiving enough fluid. Sometimes we mistake the need for more fluid for hunger. Try drinking a glass of water first – you may be dehydrated. Dehydration will tighten your muscles, make you feel tired and irritable and probably give you a headache. A good indicator that you are drinking enough is the colour of your urine – for if it is strong in colour you are not drinking enough.
Remember alcohol tends to dehydrate and keep consumption of drinks containing caffeine such as tea and coffee to a moderate level. Caffeine has a similar effect on the body as stress.

Massage Gift Vouchers

Stuck for ideas for that birthday present or for Christmas? Know someone who could really do with a massage but never quite gets round to organising it? Treat them to a half or full massage (£40/£60) with David Hudson. Pick up a gift voucher from reception or give us a call.