Your Nervous System and Massage – Creating Peace and Well-BeingMildred Leonard
The nervous system holds the key to the body’s incredible potential to heal itself ~ unknown
The nervous system is a complex network of nerves and cells in the body that includes two main branches (the Central Nervous System (CNS) and the Peripheral Nervous System (PNS)) working synergistically to monitor and coordinate the proper functions of internal organs and maintain homeostasis in the body.
The CNS is the processing centre for the nervous system. Its two main components, the spinal cord and the brain, collect and interpret incoming information it receives from the Peripheral Nervous System.
- The spinal cord is the conduit for information to travel to and from the brain.
- The brain uses billions of neurons to communicate information and instructions to all parts of the body. One of the brain’s major functions is to be a receptor of information from the body via touch, odours, sounds, light and pain which it then interprets and responds to.
The PNS carries information to the CNS from internal organs or from external stimuli. It also receives information from the CNS and distributes that data (in the form of chemical, neuronal stimulus) to organs, muscles, and glands. The PNS is responsible for control of skeletal muscles as well as external sensory organs such as the skin.
The autonomic nervous system is part of the PNS and is responsible for the function and regulation of involuntary muscles, such as the cardiac muscle. It also is a vital regulator of heartbeat, blood flow, breathing and digestion.
How Massage Works with Your Nervous System
Massage can be a particularly powerful support for the nervous system’s health because it helps to balance and regulate the vital functions of the autonomic nervous system.
Remedial massage therapies can stimulate or sooth the nerves depending on the kind of pressure, stroke or length of time used in a session to create the needed outcome. In general terms, massage has a calming and relaxing effect on the entire body.
- supports increased communication through touch and pressure on the skin that awakens the receptors and underlying tissues to stimulate healthy dermal activity.
- relaxes the muscles and helps to re-establish proper responses to stimulus through its effect on the neuromuscular reflex pathways
- generates the secretion of endorphins (feel good hormones and natural pain killers) as it acts on the neurotransmitters of the brain
- can release any blocks in the nerves and reduce compression in the nerve root caused by muscle tension
- encourages and treats pain issues in the body
- calms the nervous system and can ease symptoms of anxiety and depression
- directly affects the tension in any muscles or joints being stimulated and can shift the reactivity of nerve receptors in those areas.
In general, massage therapy provides many therapeutic effects that deliver the opportunity for your body to restore calm and optimum functioning of your nervous system. It is an effective link between the CNS and PNS (especially the autonomic nervous system) that restores nervous system balance and is a powerful step toward your long-term health and well-being.