Massage essentially is the process of manually manipulating muscles, ligaments, joints, tendons, fascia and skin using a variety of manual techniques to optimise circulation.
This enhances delivery of fresh oxygenated blood to cells and aids in the removal of waste, resulting from metabolic reactions, from cells.
Massage also helps to break down adhesions where connective tissues (mainly fascia) are stuck to each other and releases these previously ‘stuck’ areas to provide more fluid movement and hydration. This lessens nerve irritation caused by these dysfunctional areas, which we feel as aches and pains.
Skilled massage therapists can assist in restoring functional balance to joints and movement by using a variety of assessment and treatment options. This is enhanced by a knowledge of how the body is meant to function and how when there is a restriction somewhere in the movement chain it can cause dysfunctional movement and reflect in other areas of the body.
Massage also has a positive effect on the nervous system by stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system. This is the calming side that is not very active in stressed individuals. There is a reflexive calming associated with all touch, which initiates the body’s own healing processes. This happens via the sensory receptors in skin and fascia having a reciprocal effect on motor neurons and the endocrine system that regulates feel good hormones, and reduces stress hormones. The restoration of balance between these hormones and the nervous system is called, simply, relaxation.
The terms used to describe the type of massage you receive, like remedial massage and sports massage, are interchangeable terms that don’t necessarily reflect different actual techniques used in a treatment. Each individual massage therapist has their own way of doing things and it is communication and experience that usually counts for success when selecting a Remedial Massage Therapist.