Massage Therapy: What Does Bodywork Do?
By Jennifer Schlaak
Massage is an effective therapy for many aspects of health. It feels great, it has a positive effect on the state of your body and your mind and it requires very little effort from you!
The use of massage therapy to treat physical ailments is well-documented. It’s great for treating soft tissue-related aches and pains like low back issues, muscle stiffness, exercise-related inflammation, and tension headaches. It’s also extremely effective in treating symptoms and pain related to more chronic issues such as fibromyalgia and arthritis.
How does it work? Massage relaxes the muscles and breaks up adhesions in muscle tissue, fascia, tendons and ligaments reducing compression and creating space around the nerves, arteries, veins and lymph system. Promoting this relaxed state in the muscles encourages better alignment and posture and increased range of motion. Creating space around nerves and blood vessels results in increased blood flow and healthy nerve conduction and the reduction of blood restriction and nerve-related pain. By reducing compression on the lymphatic system, massage encourages healthy flow of lymph. The lymph system is responsible for removing damaged cells from the body and it’s an important part of a healthy immune system.
Body work is an effective treatment for mental health too. Regular massage therapy not only helps us through the winter blues, it can significantly reduce the severity of anxiety disorders and depression. The relaxing effects of massage lower the heart rate and decrease blood pressure. It lowers the levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Chronically-high cortisol levels due to stress can cause fatigue, increased appetite, inflammation in the body and a weakened immune system. Massage increases dopamine and serotonin levels, which are neurotransmitters that positively affect psychological state and stabilize and improve mood. Massage increases parasympathetic and vagal activity of the nervous system, which also positively affects mood and healthy digestion and healthy organ function.
Massage can change your state of being in as little as 30 minutes. It’s noninvasive, there are minimal side effects and it’s only slightly addictive…See your favorite therapist every three to six weeks for the best results!
Jennifer Schlaak, massage therapist, can be reached at 507/838-1754 or jenniferschlaak.com.
These statements are solely the responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Entertainment Guide editorial staff.