Why massage should come first

Massage therapy has been practised for thousands of years. Every culture in the world has developed some form of massage to promote healing or general well-being. Today, massage therapy has become somewhat side-lined as technological advances in medical science with new drugs and the latest electronic diagnostic and treatment devices have become predominant. Though very effective, these innovations have also removed the powerful healing effects of human-to-human contact. The simple act of touch is so powerful, that it can reduce heart rate, release endorphins, and regulate breathing. The healing power of touch is irreplaceable.

Massage therapy should be thought of as a natural medicine. It is an alternative medicine, but loses out to other more heavily promoted therapies, such as acupuncture and yoga. Although less glamorous, massage should always be considered as the very first therapy when it comes to treating pain in the body.

Depending on how they are counted, the human body contains between 640 and 850 muscles, and in the average person make up about 40% of body weight. Muscles in the body work continuously to keep the body functioning properly and are active in sustaining life. For this reason alone, you should make sure that your muscles are in the best shape possible. Massage addresses the muscular tissue directly and can help muscles to regain their suppleness and efficiency.

The lymphatic system is part of the circulatory system that moves lymph from the tissues back to the heart The fluid circulation allows for proper immune system function, cellular waste removal, dead blood cell removal, and excess fluid removal from every area in the body. Skeletal muscle contractions promote the passage of lymph through the lymphatic vessels. Tight and constricted muscles will not only impede lymphatic drainage, but could possibly lead to oedema, poor trauma healing and poor immune system function.

Muscles are well supplied by nerves and blood vessels. However, a blocked or pinched nerve may cause a muscle to feel weak, fatigued, or possibly painful. Poor blood flow will lead to lower oxygen levels and a build-up of lactic acid and other metabolic by-products of muscular contraction. The resulting lack of strength or cramping may lead to tight, knotted muscles that can block or impede the flow of nerve signals and blood causing pain. Also, other muscles may be affected indirectly, thereby creating effects away from the problem area.

Strain and imbalance in muscles can disturb correct joint movement. When muscular forces have gone too far, the joints and bones may shift out of place. The muscles that tighten and injure the joint may also be painful to touch. Other nearby muscles may tighten up and protect the newly injured area. Frequent problems with a particular joint could mean there is a bigger issue of underlying muscular tightness and imbalance.

Massage should be used regularly as part of a body maintenance regime. A relatively non- active person should receive a massage once a month. This schedule is a good way to keep up muscle function and stave off injury. For more active people, muscles should be massaged more frequently. It is easily forgotten that the body is a finely-tuned biological machine that needs care for best performance.

Body maintenance should be planned part of the personal financial budget, not a luxury as surplus income becomes available. Assuming an average cost of £50 the annual outlay of receiving one massage a month is £600. That’s less than £2 a day, less than the cost of a Starbucks coffee. There are many benefits, including minimising reliance on pain relieving medications, lowering blood pressure, reducing chronic aches and pain, and improving overall health. The benefits of massage greatly outweigh the costs, as good health and longevity are invaluable.

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