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Health, Well-Being and Massage

By Charles Hopkins Published 05/25/2007 | Health

Anyone who has enjoyed a good massage can remember the peaceful, euphoric, even sensual feelings it aroused. Your body felt relaxed and refreshed. A sense of well-being and energy had been restored. However, the benefits of massage may last beyond the afterglow with a continuing positive effect on your health.

For instance, with tight muscles that are a result of disease, injury, stress, and the like. There are massage techniques that are very effective in releasing knotted muscles, lowering toxins in the system and improving circulation. When the tightness has been caused by stress, a good massage can be especially beneficial in restoring feelings of well-being and health.

There are many factors - physical and emotional; internal and external - that cause stress. How you perceive and react to these factors can affect the impact they have on your body.

Massage helps you to deal with the effects of these different factors and helps to prepare you and, in particular, your body, to cope with the stressors which you experience as stress and tension.

When preparing for massage, mood is important. Create a soft, ambient mood with dimmed lighting and maybe soothing music and perhaps some pleasing scents. These help to deal with the external stressors that impinge on you by creating a comfortable relaxation zone.

The therapist will then work on your body, paying special attention to relieving tension in the back and neck muscles, which are often tightened when you are under stress.

The improved physical feelings naturally lead to an elevated mood and a chance to unwind and forget about stressful events. This helps to deal with the emotional elements that contribute to stress.

Circulation is improved when the therapist attends to those areas that trap fluids. Increasing the flow leads to better fluid distribution and aids the elimination of toxins that can build up, as well as encouraging the inflow of fresh nutrients. This also assists in the repair of muscle and other tissue damage and enhances the overall feeling of well being.

Additionally, digestion can also be improved. As both stress and poor circulation inhibit good digestion, massage relief facilitates a much better response in stomach and intestinal areas.

One of the more obvious benefits is improved athletic ability and motion. Those who participate in sports massage will often see this but it can also be found with other techniques. The tightening of muscles can interfere with free movement and the action of limbs. Once the tight muscles have been relaxed and the joints become more limber, the stiffness will dissolve. The result is greater freedom of movement.

Proper massage techniques may also be used as part of an overall treatment plan to deal with particular diseases and injuries. For instance, those with arthritis; patients who've recently had surgery, and many others, will frequently find that their condition improves more rapidly if their physical treatment includes massage therapy.

However, when used as an aid in medical treatment, massage needs to be used with care, as there are some conditions, such as an undiscovered broken bone, which may be aggravated by the massage therapy. Also there are some external conditions, including lesions and inflammation, which need to be dealt with before massage methods can be used.

However, it is not difficult to find wide-ranging benefits of massage. Those professionals who work on bodies have long known of the healing power of touch and many manipulative techniques have been developed that lead toward optimum health. Though miracle cures are often exaggerated, there is ample evidence to justify claims that massage can be of real benefit.