How Does Massage Work?

During a massage, the targeted muscles receive higher blood flow, which speeds up the supply of the nutrients muscles require to operate properly and helps get rid of byproducts that can irritate the muscles and slow healing. Blood flow naturally decreases if you don’t move around during the day; therefore, massage is a terrific approach to get everything pumping once again.

Neck pain, Low back pain, and headaches are some of the unpleasant, typical pain issues that massage is a popular treatment for, but does it make a difference, or does it only pleasantly divert patients and perhaps take the edge off?

Our bodies are intricate systems, and we all have different needs. Your body needs a massage to restore itself and combat the impacts of stress.

Learn about massage’s potential health advantages and what to anticipate during a massage therapeutic process if you’ve never experienced it. Let’s examine massage’s mechanism of action and what it does to relax muscles.

How Does Massage Work? – Getting Started

How Does Massage Work?

You really would like to know how a massage works, whether you’re thinking about getting your first ever massage or you’ve been getting them frequently and praising its advantages for years. After all, you invest a lot of money, time, and emotional energy into believing us when we say that massage would improve your health.

Massage is an excellent treatment for a variety of illnesses, including low back pain, muscle recovery, and knee osteoarthritis, according to a large body of reliable research. The precise process by which massage functions, is not well known. But the responses from massage that are usually gained are:

  • The relaxation response, which refers to the nerve system’s instinctive but predictable response to massage methods and contact, is one way that massage affects your body physiologically.
  • Mechanical reactions, which are bodily reactions to pressure on soft tissues that take the form of physical effects

These reactions have positive effects on both the body and the mind when combined.

What is Massage Therapy?

Massage therapy is carried out by a trained professional who applies various forces, motions, and methods to the body’s muscles and soft tissues. The pressure used during massage therapy might vary. One sort of massage that certain individuals find painful is deep tissue massage. Be sure to let your therapist know the style of touch you enjoy because massage doesn’t have to be unpleasant to be helpful.

Be sure to let your therapist know the style of touch you enjoy because massage doesn’t have to be unpleasant to be helpful. Depending on your body situation, lighter might be more calming and hence more advantageous. Only light pressure may be tolerated by those with specific pain syndromes, such as chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia syndrome.

Hospitals, athletic facilities, addiction treatment institutions, and labor and delivery rooms frequently use massage therapy.

Does Massage Therapy Really Work?

Depending on the individual demands of the client, massage has a variety of advantages for the body and the mind.

The second is the neuromuscular system, which is made up of all the muscles and nerves that supply them to the body. Massage can therefore treat muscles that are either flaccid or in spasm (too stretched and weak).

The connective tissue in the body, such as tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and scar tissue, is the second area to gain from a quality massage.

Increased circulation of blood to the tissues, which helps deliver oxygen and get rid of excretory products to support healing, improves the circulatory system as well. Additionally, it increases the flow of cerebral spinal fluid, which might help in the treatment of concussions.

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How Massage Therapy Works

Massaging your body can help to improve your health conditions. You will be questioned about any complaints or conditions you may have before your session to assist determine which type of treatment is ideal for you.

It makes sense that you would want to know how massage therapy works in this situation. Your body responds to a massage therapy in specific ways.

Your body enters a more relaxed state after receiving massage therapy. A massage therapist applies a kind and comforting touch while exercising your muscles and body, causing your body to be able to perform lots of activities.

By easing muscle tension, massage therapy works to increase mobility for the patient. The compression of nearby nerves can result from muscle contraction. Your range of motion is restricted when compressed, and the muscles cannot get the appropriate nutrients they need.

What Does Massage Actually Do?

A massage stimulates your organs, muscles, and glands, excites your nervous system, increases lymph fluid and blood circulation, and causes a large number of cells to produce and release chemicals and hormones.

What does Massage do

Activates Muscles

Short muscles regain their usual length after a massage. Short muscles typically make us feel uneasy and tense and are detrimental to our posture and mobility. Myofascial, compression, stripping, active release, trigger point, neuromuscular, and manual traction are a few of the methods used.

Stretching, whether active or passive, can also lengthen muscles and connective tissue. Stretching offers several advantages but also some drawbacks. Overstretching can happen with static stretching, particularly if it’s done without a good evaluation. The entire muscle is not usually stretched during active dynamic stretching.

Heals Sore Muscles

Unquestionably relaxing, a massage appears to lessen pain and is good for sore muscles after a tough workout.

Muscle fibers rip slightly during intense activity, which triggers an immune response and swelling as the body begins to repair the damaged cells. Therefore, the researchers compared the repair processes of the massaged and unmassaged legs’ tissue to see what impact massage had.

They discovered that massage decreased the production of substances known as cytokines, which are crucial in inflammation. Additionally, massage triggered the mitochondria, which are the microscopic power plants inside cells that transform glucose into the energy required for cell growth and repair.

In theory, the nerves can acquire the correct nourishment and can function more effectively whenever these muscles are at ease because they are no longer squeezed. The muscles and organs operate better because nerves can resume their regular function of sending messages and receiving from the brain.

Outcomes of Massage

There are two major outcomes of massage that can be regarded as “proved,” even though many of them are still troublingly speculative and vehemently contested (by some). Dr. Christopher, a psychologist and massage researcher, explains that the few consequences of massage that have been scientifically shown are its impact on mood.

1. Massage eases anxiety

2. Massage eases tension

This is significant. It is impossible to simply “pluck” a decrease in anxiety or sadness out of thin air; rather, it must be one measurable aspect in a vast web of psychological impacts and advantages. Below, I’ll go into further detail about the psychological impact of massage.

Psychological Outcomes Of Massage


Although I do not undervalue the importance of relaxation in maintaining wellness and managing pain, it is seldom a cure.

The fact that massages are calming may be one of the reasons they help with depression and anxiety. Although not fully established, it is a solid assumption, and research suggesting that massage therapy can lower blood pressure and aid in sleep even when patients are experiencing the unique stressors of hospital care supports the theory further.

Your breathing and pulse rate slows down, your blood pressure decreases your body produces fewer stress hormones, and your muscles contract during the relaxation reaction. The body’s serotonin level, which influences thoughts and emotions favorably, appears to rise because of the relaxation response.

The relaxation reaction may lessen the negative physical consequences of stress as well as its dangers for disorders like hypertension, irregular heartbeats, anxiety, and sleeplessness.

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Improves sleep

A massage can raise your levels of the mood-stabilizing neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin and lower your levels of the stress-causing hormone cortisol. Studies have demonstrated that massage treatment is helpful for people with menopausal and congestive heart failure-related sleeplessness.

Lymphatic Detox

The lymphatic system affects the fluid balance and immunity of your body. Several lymph node clusters are in the neck, underarm, and groin, and blood vessels and lymphatic veins run parallel to each another all through the body.

Your massage therapist drains the lymphatic system, one where the lymph nodes remove pathogens, waste materials, and dead cells, while they focus on pumping blood through tissue and muscle. Sluggish lymphatic flow is the cause of fluid retention, and draining the lymphatic system may reduce edema in particular body parts.

Lessens pain and muscle tension

Numerous studies have investigated the potential benefits of massage in reducing pain, including back pain, neck discomfort, migraines, and knee pain. The findings suggest that alleviation can be transient rather than long-lasting, and in certain circumstances, getting many 60-minute massages a week was more effective than getting fewer or quicker massages.

Improves Breathing

At the beginning of the massage, the therapist could instruct you to breathe deeply. Unrestricted breathing is one of the simplest methods to relieve stress, thus the first breath when starting massage indicates a sigh of relief. Your chest, ribs, and neck muscles, along with your diaphragm, all contribute to breathing.

It’s hardly surprising that when we’re anxious, our breathing becomes limited because so much tension builds up in the muscles of the chest, shoulder, and neck. Your massage therapist may work into tight muscles to loosen up those that help with breathing as you relax deeper into the massage and as your inhalation deepens and evens out. Your MT can also knead the intercostal muscles, which are crucial for easy, natural breathing, if you want it.

Improving Circulation

It is believed that massage stimulates blood and lymphatic circulation. The chemicals produced during muscle relaxation and the actual movement of tissues are most likely what is responsible for this.

Better circulation can enhance the supply of oxygen and calories to the muscles. Tissues function better when cellular health improves. More efficient functioning leads to the clearing of waste materials, as well as an increase in the absorption of surplus fluid and a decrease in swelling in soft tissues.

What you can expect during a massage session?

Massage doesn’t demand you to perform any additional preparation. Your physiotherapist should inquire you about your medical background and any complaints before the session and your goals for receiving massage. The type of massage and the procedures your massage therapist will use should be explained by them beforehand.

Typically, during a massage therapy appointment, you dress comfortably. You often lie on a seat and cover yourself with a sheet. Your therapist must perform a touch evaluation to identify tense or sore areas and determine how much pressure to use.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens to your body after a massage?

Massage lowers tension and stress, which reduces hypertension. Massage lowers arterial, systolic, and diastolic blood pressure. The massage increases the production of serotonin, which promotes happiness and happy emotions.

What does a massage do to muscles?

Massage treatment relaxes muscle tissue, which minimizes painful contractions and cramps. Massage can also relieve nerve compression. To better understand this, consider how occasionally the adjacent nerves are crushed whenever muscles are tightened.

Concluding Massage Therapy Work

Dispel any ideas that getting a massage is only a self-indulgence or self-pampering indulgence. Contrarily, whether you have a certain medical issue or are just seeking a new stress reliever, massage can be a potent tool to help you take control of your health and well-being. Even learning how to massage yourself or another person at home is possible.

Whether you are an athletic person, have arthritis, or are carrying a kid, massage has benefits that can help you.

Even though much of this post is pessimistic and cynical, I still strongly suggest getting a massage. Even though its medical advantages are erratic and unproven, some of them seem probable. More significantly, patients truly have nothing to lose because of the emotional significance of touch and its profound impact on mood and psychological health. Regardless of whether massage therapy “works” as a cure, high-quality massage is a desirable service for everyone who can afford it.

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