Massage is a very effective technique for controlling pain.
How Does it Work?
There are number of ways massage may help in controlling pain. Massage confuses the body’s pain signals. Rubbing may interfere with pain signals’ pathways to your brain, a process called the “gate control theory,” according to experts.
Pain impulses run toward the spinal cord and then up the cord and into the brain. It’s only when they reach the brain that these impulses, are perceived as pain. When you rub, it sends other impulses along the same nerves. When all these impulses try to reach the brain through nerves, the nerves get clogged like a highway during morning rush hour.
The result? Most of them won’t reach the brain. And, if the pain signals do not reach the brain, you won’t feel pain. Thus massage works by ‘closing the gate’ that pain impulses have to pass through.
Massage also calls up the body’s natural painkillers. It stimulates the release of endorphins, the morphine-like substances that the body manufactures, into the brain and nervous system.
Massage Provides Deep Relaxation:
It relieves muscle tension, spasm, and stiffness. All of these contribute to pain. Experts suggest that tense muscles are usually deprived of oxygen, because the tightness reduces blood circulation to the area. Massage improves blood circulation, bringing with it what the muscle needs—oxygen and other forms of nourishment. The muscle then relaxes, and pain decreases.
Massage Relieves Mental Stress and Anxiety : Massage is providing the benefit by the therapeutic value of touching that helps a person in pain. Research shows that even touch lasting for less than 1 second has the ability to make people feel better. Obviously, an hour-long touch provided by massage has to make you feel good!
What Types of Pain Can Massage Help?
Massage can help any pain originating from muscle tension; e.g. head, back, neck, and shoulder pain are all one can benefit from massage. Releasing tightness and tension in muscles is the most obvious effect of a good massage.
Massage also is beneficial for relieving pain associated with arthritis, injuries, or even recent surgery.
Massage and Allied Therapies
Massage forms the basis of many alternative and natural therapies. Chief amongst these are Aromatherapy, Shiatsu, Acupressure, Osteopathy, Reflexology and Rolling. When one understands the efficacy of these therapies, it is easy to appreciate the importance of massage.