Inflammation – How Massage Can Help

Inflammation – How Massage Can Help

Inflammation is not a bad word if you consider that it is actually a healing response of the body when an injury, toxic or allergic reaction or infection occurs. It is the mechanism which protects the body internally, stops further damage and ultimately activates the processes necessary to repair the injured area.


The Mechanics of Inflammation

The process of inflammation is both complex and interesting and involves endogenous (internally sourced) cellular activities, the work of inflammatory mediators and other regulatory chemicals. These members of the inflammatory response ‘team’ is  activated to protect and ultimately heal inflammation in the body whenever tissues are injured by bacteria, trauma, toxins/allergens, heat or other invasive event.

The damaged cells release chemicals into the blood including histamine, bradykinin, prostaglandins and leukotrienes that increase the porosity of the blood vessels causing them to leak fluid into the injured tissues which results in swelling. Moreover, chemicals from the body’s white blood cells also enter the tissues via the blood vessels which adds to the blood flow in the damaged area and provides immune protection from invaders.


Symptoms of Inflammation

In addition to swelling other symptoms that signify the inflammatory response has been activated include the presence of redness, pain, warmth and sometimes loss of function in the area of the inflammation.

Inflammation can become a chronic condition that results in such diseases as rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease and psoriasis.


Can Massages help?
Depending on the severity of the inflammation, massage therapy has been known to assist in the reduction of pain and swelling and promote recovery of injured muscles. Massage is known to improve blood blow, reduce tissue stiffness which contributes to pain reduction.


Regular massages can help with the inflammation, improve fluid build-up and circulation. Lymphatic massage and petrissage are two massage techniques that support chronic inflammatory conditions because they promotes improved drainage of fluids from the tissues. Studies involving Flow Mediated Dilation (FMD) show that massages to the lower extremities are significantly more helpful at reducing inflammation than the technique is in the upper extremities.

Massage can also lower the levels of a stress hormone called cortisol, may reduce blood pressure and can also reduce the production of inflammatory cytokines. All these contribute to lowering inflammation. Massage can also uplift your mood by increasing the level of the happy hormone called serotonin.


In choosing to use massage therapy in supporting inflammation, it is recommended that you seek a physician’s advice in case the procedure is contraindicated for your particular type of injury. Also, always inform your massage therapist about the level of your pain. If there is too much pain and inflammation, then it is always better to avoid any massage in such situations.

To your health  and wellbeing!













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