Massage Effects and Benefits - Why Is Massage Good for You

How Massage Affects Our Bodies?

Relaxing Strokes or Stimulating Strokes?

How does massage affect our bodies, and why does it feel so good?
How is every technique affecting us, and when to choose a certain massage stroke over another?
These are all questions massage therapists need to answer themselves before starting a massage session.
The answer is often not simple, and it is different for different patients, and requires a thorough understanding of the various massage strokes and their effects, and a good communication with your client.

Knowing how to adjust a certain technique to stimulate or to relax helps the massage therapist to devise sessions for their clients accordingly. It is also important to know what kind of stimulation a patient needs.
In sport massage for instance, before a competition, the athlete needs nerve and muscle stimulation, hence some appropriate techniques could be alternating effleurage, vibrations and friction. For a post event massage, (after a competition or after training), the session needs to be relaxing, so the practitioner will adapt the session to contain long, slow and smooth effleurage and friction strokes.
Relaxation massage contains long and slow strokes, and the practitioner needs to keep hand contact with the subject all the time. Continuous contact deepens the relaxation. In a relaxation massage, friction has to be performed with medium pressure and using large surface contact. Palm heel friction or palm friction are appropriate while finger, knuckle friction, or cross-fiber friction are to be avoided.
Things complicate a little for a sensual massage, because the desired effect is a combination of relaxation and stimulation. The sensual massage needs to promote relaxation in the initial stage and slowly progress to a combination of both relaxing and stimulating techniques. The most used techniques for a sensual massage are effleurage and nerve strokes, (feathering).

Psychological Effects of Massage

Massage techniques can be classified based on their effects on our body. We can distinguish relaxing strokes and stimulating strokes.
Almost any massage stroke type can be, relaxing or stimulating, by modifying some variables such as the pressure, the speed employed and the contact with the body.

Deep and slow motion effleurage moves are deeply relaxing and calming, while fast effleurage moves with intermittent contact, such as shingles effleurage will promote stimulation.

Concluding the previous, massage can reduce anxiety and relax body and mind, but if we modify the techniques can provide invigorating effects and it will energize.

Physical Effects of Massage

Mechanical Effects of Massage

  • Deep Effleurage Mechanical Effects
  • Pushes fluids in our body.
  • Increases blood flow by mechanically pushing the blood through vessels
  • Increases lymph circulation by the mechanical action of pushing lymph
  • Petrissage, (Kneading), Mechanical Effects
  • Removes the lactic acid accumulation
  • Mechanically stimulates muscles, simulating muscle exercise
  • Stretches and compresses muscle tissue and fascia
  • It breaks muscle and connective tissue adhesions, reducing scars
  • Stimulates the blood flow in the deeper veins and arteries
  • Friction Technique Physical Effects During a Massage
    facilitates an increased flow of the interstitial fluid
  • Increases the permeability of the capillary beds
  • Massage Compression Physical Effects
  • Increases the amount of blood in muscles by creating hyperemia
  • Tapotement, (Massage Percussion), Mechanical Effects
  • Tapotement loosens up mucus in lungs for an easier elimination

Massage types

Types of Massage

The massage types, or massage modalities how they are also called, have different effects, targeting specific areas. For instance the relaxation massage will have a diferent overall effect than sports massage. 

Based on the desired effect of the massage we can distinguish several massage types:
  • Relaxation massage
  • Sports massage
  • Rehabilitative massage
  • Aesthetic massage
  • Energy-balancing massage
  • Spiritually oriented Massage
  • Emotional balancing Massage
  • Erotic Massage
  • Medical Massage


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