The Benefits of Massage Therapy (Part 2): Support Your Muscles, Support Your Bones

Massage can do a lot of things for you, both psychologically and physically. But if someone had to pinpoint just one thing that massage therapy is really, really good for – the one thing that makes it a valuable supplement to a healthy lifestyle – it would have to be how massage keeps your bones and muscle operating optimally and, essentially, keeping your body ‘together.’

Massage, like most physical activities, keeps your joints and tendons working smoothly and slickly, and prevents them from falling into disrepair. Remember how, in the Wizard of Oz, the Tin Man would rust over and lock up from time to time? Well, without physical activity, we are just like the Tin Man. Massage, and other physical activities that stimulate and re-set our muscles and bones, functions like the oil.

As mentioned in the last “Benefits of Massage Therapy” article, your bones are the architectural foundations of your body. The muscle is the tissue that keeps things together and influences your posture, and a host of other health-related factors. A good massage chair, like a good professional massage therapist, will target both your skeletal system AND your muscular system for the greatest impact.

The Benefits to Your Skeletal System:

  • Massage improves circulation efficiency in your body. As your body’s nutrients are transported and delivered through your blood, this increased circulation directly improves the rate at which your bones and joints absorb the vitamins and minerals that keep your body strong.
  • Deep tissue relief reduces pressure and strain on your joints by loosening the muscles that support and envelope them; with time and pressure, muscles can over-compensate and put excessive strain on your joints unless they are softened up with a good massage.
  • Enjoy increased range of motion and freedom of movement, as your joints can rotate further without pressure and pain. This increases overall flexibility, as well.
  • Massage increases your bones’ ability not only to receive but also to retain nitrogen, phosphorous, and sulfur – important nutrients that facilitate the effectiveness and speed of fracture healing.
Collage of varius Gray's muscle pictures by Mi...

Collage of various Gray’s muscle pictures by Mikael Häggström (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Benefits to Your Muscular System:

  • As with the first bullet point above, massaging your body can improve circulation, which in turn increases the effectiveness with which nutrients are carried to your muscles. This keeps them healthy, strong, and fully supportive of your body.
  • Massage makes your muscles more pliant, so they recover much more quickly from exertion and fatigue. An added benefit of this: reduced tension, spasms, and cramping.
  • Massage stretches your connective tissues, or fascia, which increases their flexibility and range of motion. Your fascia encompass the muscles and bones of your body, so it is important that they are malleable enough to roll with your muscles rather than resist against them.
  • “Folding” and “unfolding” layers of muscle tissue can help redefine them and give them better shape – this doesn’t serve a significant health purpose, but it can make your muscles look a little more toned – so that’s always nice!
  • Massage releases lactic acids stored in your muscle mass, which relieves soft tissue and muscle pains commonly attributed to physical exertion and torn muscles that auto-repair improperly.
  • Massage can stimulate your metabolism and make you feel more energetic – which often leads to more activity and, by extension, healthier muscles, bones, and general wellbeing!
  • In stimulating your muscles, massage can inhibit or at least slow down the effects of muscular atrophy due to extended misuse. When your muscles are inactive for long periods of time they can tighten and become inoperable; massage helps keep them loose and stimulated.
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