According to new scientific trials, massage not just feels great, it also makes the muscles heal faster and stronger.
They used lab rats and machines to create a more consistent pressure which could be monitored with more precision. They think it is likely that the inflammation causing cells are pressed out of the muscle tissue. Reducing inflammation and increasing muscle strength and tone.
I am very pleased that they have determined that massage can support muscle tissue and reduce inflammation, any trials that are created to support complementary therapies I feel are a godsend. Therapists have had a considerable amount of negative press over the years, there are still a number of people who will mock any form of healing work, so any validation of complimentary therapies is wonderful to see.
I personally feel saddened that they haven’t used people to create the test, and as a result they haven’t actually studied the variation of pressure to find out what additional results could be achieved. It may be that a varied pressure had additional benefits also.
From my own work over the last decade or so, I believe that starting with a lower pressure and allowing the heat from the hands of the therapist and the clients body combined create an entry into the tissue that isn’t there when you first start to massage. The more gentle the therapist works, the better the access into deeper layers of muscle tissue. As I have always been taught that if you use the same theory as if you place cornflour into water and stir it, the cornflour becomes thickened and almost impossible to penetrate by just sticking your finger into it. If you allow your finger to rest at the top and gently apply pressure it will eventually sink into the mixture. This is the same with the human body, we will always have to work over skin and fascia before being able to access the muscle tissue, so the more respectful we are of these structures the more access they “allow” us.
What about hands on massage?
There are a number of research papers done on the benefits of touch, such as a reduction in blood pressure and also it has the benefits of being calming and relaxing. There are studies showing that touch signals safety and trust, it soothes. Basic warm touch calms cardiovascular stress. It activates the body’s vagus nerve, which is intimately involved with our compassionate response, and a simple touch can trigger release of oxytocin, aka “the love hormone.”
The often unthought benefit to touch or maybe the almost expected benefit is the emotional effect on the person receiving the touch. One study highlighted by Greater Good Magazine, shows that touch really can communicate emotion. They created a space for two people to sit opposite each other with a screen in front, neither knew who was there and they were asked to convey an emotion in a one second touch from a list of emotions and the other had the same list to guess from. Almost two thirds of the people tested guessed the emotion correctly.
This does not surprise me, when I first started to give massages to people outside of my friends and family I began to feel emotions that weren’t my own. I couldn’t understand why with some people I would be feeling happy and energised when massaging another I would feel sad, angry or unsettled. It took some time for me to realise that this was not my own feeling, it was the feeling that I had ‘picked up’ on after massaging clients. After learning this was something I could pick up, I went on to learn how to develop this and support the client with the emotion that arose during a treatment. This has been a wonderful experience of how to help people far more profoundly, not just with the touch allowing them to feel safe, secure and trusted, but to also benefit the body on a physical level and then to support the emotions through communication and listening. This is why I am so passionate about the work I do, it feeds my soul and it helps others to heal.
If this sounds like a treatment you would enjoy please do call and book a massage in Farnborough today on 07989 604750
The photographs on my website are quite random! They are from my holidays and travel and walks over the years!