Massage Therapy
April 9, 2022

Benefits of Massage, and getting your “Vitamin (T)ouch”

Ozark Holistic Center

As society is driving people further apart, both through the increasing use and reliance of technology and in a post-pandemic “Zoom” world of online meetings and online dating, physical touch is going to be a nutrient that will become more and more deficient in the population. What does Vitamin (T)ouch do for us? On a fundamental level of physics, it is an exchange of energy. It is a discharging, or a charging of electrical/mitochondrial energy from one person to another. Touch from skilled and attuned body worker has a way of harmonizing and balancing our  systems in ways that we cannot offer ourselves. Usually we reserve touch only for our closest family members and loved ones. Many of us do not feel comfortable being touched by someone we barely know or just met…touch requires trust to feel safe, yet we all need it, more than we may realize. As long as the touch is of high quality, coming from a space of good intention and healing, touch can have a profound effect on our physiology, beyond the mechanical stretching and manipulation of tissues, but on an energetic and emotional level. When it comes to the benefits of massage, some of them are obvious. If we are experiencing a nagging pain in the body that is hindering our quality of life, we will seek help from the world to help resolve the pain. The easiest thing to do is reach for the closest medication or supplement
to help relieve the pain, but this only asks as a band aid at best, and often times doesn’t help at all. However, a skilled massage therapist will be able to do more than relieve the pain. An experienced therapist will be able to find the root causes of the pain, which may in fact be in different parts of the body than where the acute pain resides. They will be able to address the “issues in the tissues”, loosening and lengthening short/tight muscles and connective tissue, while also releasing adhesions in the tissue that may be leading to a postural misalignment and chronic pain.

Now let’s go through a list of some of the obvious benefits of massage:

Relief of Pain

  • – (see above paragraph)
    Increased range of motion and increased flexibility
    People have varying levels of flexibility, which is dependent on a variety of
    genetic and situational factors. Massage can help loosen tight muscles, which
    can increase flexibility and mobility. Imagine being able to touch your toes or
    scratch your own back!
    Improved sleep
  • A lovely side effect or result of relieving and eliminating physical pain would be
    improved sleep quality and earlier sleep onset. Imagine being able to fall asleep
    quickly without having to find just the right position to sleep in to avoid that
    nagging pain.


Decreased anxiety and stress

  • In a broad sense, our body sends our brain signals of anxiety when something is
    wrong within the system, or there is some form of dissonance in our thinking
    and our belief systems. Massage has the potential to address the former,
    balancing body systems in a way that can relieve stress and help our minds feel
    at ease. Imagine feeling at peace in your mind, with an absence of mental
    chatter and unproductive overanalyzing…


Increased mind body awareness

  • It can be so easy this day and age to go through live like a brain floating through
    space, completely unaware of what’s going on in the body and how the body
    may be affecting our mind. Massage is a powerful way to increase this
    awareness connection, and is just as much as an educational experience as it is a
    therapeutic experience. Imagine feeling a greater presence in your body, and a
    greater awareness of your emotional states and being able to detect how various
    inputs and unhealthy postural tendencies are affecting your thoughts and


Faster, healthier recovery from injury

  • It happens to all of us at some time or another, we get in some sort of physical
    accident and sustain an injury. It’s no fun, but our injuries can also be our biggest
    teachers. Massage can help improve the body’s innate inflammatory, healing
    response by promoting healthy exchange an recycling of blood and lymph, while
    also organizing the connective tissues and skin tissues in a way that improves
    scar formation and tissue remodeling. Imagine being able to bounce back from
    injury and getting back to your favorite, live-giving and joy inducing physical
    activity in a reduced time frame…


Improved posture and gait (healthier relationship with gravity)

  • One benefit of massage, especially long, slow myofascial massage techniques, is
    that it can correct postural imbalances. Many of us lock our bodies into certain
    positions depending on our jobs or hobbies. The most common would be the
    hunched, forward head from chronic sitting. Myofascial tequniqes are able to
    slowly stretch and remodel the fascia that lengthens shorted tissue and shortens
    lengthened tissue. The goal is to improve the body’s relationship to gravity. The
    human body in it’s ideal form is designed to be least affected by the weight of
    the body itself. When the head is too far forward, or the hips are rotated to far
    one way, or the legs are leaning forward to much, this puts stress on the whole
    certain structures simply due to the weight of the musculoskeletal system.
    Imagine being able to effortlessly stand up strain and sit up straight without
    consciously having to do it, and feel a since of ease and lightness in your body.


Increased blood flow

  • Briefly mentioned in the benefits of massage for injury recovery, improved
    circulation can be a crucial effect on the body with wide ranging benefits. How
    does this happen? There could be an area of the body that is so tight or has
    adhesions in way that is limiting flow of blood, oxygen, and nutrition to an entire
    area of the body or organ. Releasing that tension can restore a healthy flow of
    blood and nourishment to starved tissues. Imagine the feeling of warmth and
    sensation throughout your whole body…


Increased lymphatic flow

  • Massage can also Indirectly improve immune function by promoting lymphatic
    drainage and circulation. Most of our immune cells reside in lymphatic tissues, so bringing back recycled blood plasma and debris out of the tissues and back to the heart can help clear pathogens or allergens more effectively and promote a healthy immune response. Imagine feeling less fluid build up in your feet and
    legs and bouncing back from illness or allergies more swiftly…

Restores and increases sensation of the extremities

  • Whether it be an impingement of nerves in the brachial plexus of the shoulder or
    the sciatic nerve in the hip, a skilled massage therapist can find and address the
    reasons why one might be feeling numbness or tingling in their arms or legs.
    Imagine being able to use your fingers and toes to their full sensory capacity
    without pain or numbness… Even if we know the benefits of massage, which are impressive and very real/tangible, we still may be reluctant to give something like this to ourselves. We may have difficulty justifying the cost. Is it really worth it? Will it really help? A lot of it comes down to finding the right massage therapist, someone who you can trust, and someone who is able to tune into your body and make tangible changes you can feel in real time. A good massage therapist is an acute and attuned listener with their hands, while also willing and able to adapt to the client’s verbal and nonverbal feedback. The body is always functioning in a way to achieve homeostatic balance, and it’s the massage therapists job to remove the blockages in the tissue that may be preventing this return to balance.

From my experience, seeking a massage is one of the greatest acts of self-love one can give to
themselves. Even if you are not dealing with a physical injury and pain, you may be surprised at
what a massage therapist might find in your body, what latent pain points might be hiding in
the tissues, and how much a full body holistic massage can re-center and rebalance your body, mind and spirit.

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