Massage is one of the oldest health practices. Its action on sensitive areas helps to treat a large number of problems, not only muscle pain. The effects of a proper massage vary, so it is important to find the right technique for you to achieve the desired results. Svetlana Sayenko, neurologist at the Verba Mayr Health Centre in Austria, shares with us the various techniques and secrets of massage for overall body health.
What effects does massage have on the functional condition of the body? Depending on the various techniques and areas of application, it is possible to achieve visible results after just a couple of sessions. Here is a closer look at the effects of the massage.
Massage has a trophic effect on the body. During a massage session, the flow of lymph, interstitial fluid, blood improves, tissues get more oxygen, microelements, vitamins, and as a result muscles recover and function better. During the massage the metabolism and skin breathing in the affected area is intensified.
The energotropic effect of massage manifests itself in an improvement of muscle metabolism, there is an acceleration of enzymatic processes, increased formation of acetylcholine, which accelerates the nerve impulse from nerve to muscle. Small arteries are dilated under the influence of acetylcholine. During a massage session, histamine is rapidly formed, which dilates blood vessels. By acting on the adrenal glands, it releases adrenaline, which tones the body. Together with amino acids, histamine is transported with blood and lymph through the body and has a positive effect on blood vessels and internal organs. The massage synthesizes in the skin and releases into the blood tissue hormones that improve vascular reactions, the transmission of nerve impulses, resulting in an increase in the rate of muscle contraction. This massage also increases the efficiency of the neuromuscular apparatus.
Massage can have a restorative effect on a person. During the treatment, nerve impulses from the receptors of tendons, muscles and ligaments flow to the brain. This leads to the activation of the reticular formation of the brain, which has a tonic effect on the person. To increase the tonic effect, the massage is conducted in a short and energetic way. For a restorative effect on the body the following massage techniques are used: deep kneading, patting and slapping.
The relaxation effect of the massage is used to ease muscle and mind tension. The relaxing effect is developed by rhythmical and long stroking of the entire body. The soothing effect is due to the release of endorphins (natural suppressors of pain) and the development of the inhibition process in the central nervous system, which is achieved by rhythmic and prolonged stimulation of the receptors located in the ligaments, muscles and tendons. A continuous massage at a slow and measured pace develops a calming effect.
The normalising effect is due to the regulation of nerve impulses in the brain. The massage normalises the processes of excitation and inhibition of the brain. During the massage a positive excitation focus is created in the area of the massaged muscle, which can suppress the already existing pathological focus of excitation in the brain. The normalising function of the massage is used in various traumas to restore the injured area and prevent the development of muscle atrophy. A segmental massage of the individual reflexogenic zones is used to normalise the body’s functions. The massage improves the neuromuscular system, reduces muscle-tendon tension and improves the general condition of the body.
At the heart of any massage technique is an increase in lymph and blood circulation, which activates many vital processes. Particularly relevant nowadays is the fact that under the influence of warming movements harmful toxins and metabolic products are removed from the body: thus we become more protected against aggressive environmental conditions.
By stimulating certain reflexogenic zones, it is also possible to directly strengthen the body’s resistance to infections. These bioactive points are located all over the body: on the head and face, neck, back and limbs. If the pressure is applied correctly it reduces inflammation, eliminates pain, normalises the functioning of the central nervous system and improves the function of the internal organs and the blood pressure. Massage also affects the production of hormones that counteract disease. For example, serotonin not only promotes good mood, but also fast tissue healing, while a reduction in cortisol maintains the integrity of the cells responsible for fighting off the virus.