Massage is the manipulation of the soft tissues of the body, most effectively performed with the hands. It is used to produce effects on every system of the body.
Massage is probably the oldest healing art known to man. It almost certainly started as a form of structured touch that people found beneficial for their health and wellbeing. Over the years almost every culture has rediscovered the magic of touch and formulated its own system of massage for health and enjoyment. Today in the UK massage is most sought out to address stress and tension in the body.
There are different types of tension that a person can suffer from including emotional and muscular and it can be presented in different ways in different people. For some emotional tension can be a variety of symptoms such as anxiety, apprehension, distress, nervousness or uneasiness while the physical symptoms can come as stiffness, less mobility, tightness in key areas like the shoulders or headaches.
Emotional tension can be caused by many factors within life, there may be past experiences that haven’t been dealt with, stress from working or even changes going on at home. Quite often the emotional tension we go through day to day can create muscle tension that so many people suffer from.
Muscle tension is defined as muscles of the body remaining semi-contracted for an extended period. It is typically caused by the physiological effects of stress and can lead to pain. Stress may change the body’s nervous system by constricting blood vessels and reducing blood flow to the soft tissues, including muscles, tendons, and nerves in the back. This process causes a decrease in oxygen and a build-up of biochemical waste products in the muscles, resulting in muscle tension, spasm, and back pain. Massage directly addressed this by increasing circulation and thus oxygen to the area and breaks down waste deposits leading to reduced fatigue and aches and pains.
Massage also nourishes the skin by increasing blood flow to it and helping to remove dead skin cells and waste products and very often a therapist will use products that are hydrating to the skin too.
Massage can also work on our mind as it induces deep relaxation which can help relieve mental fatigue and on physiological level by receiving pleasurable sensation through receptor cells in the skin, relaxation takes place and in turn endorphins and neuropeptides are released from the brain which are pain relieving and promote feelings of wellbeing.
There are many different types of massage to choose from in order to deal with muscle tension from the gentle moves of aromatherapy to the more intense deep tissue work and everything in between. A good massage therapist will work with you to develop the best plan for tackling muscle tension.