Archiological evidence--some 4000 years old--shows massage as a purposeful physical practice with bodily benefits. Today, many in the medical sector recommend massage as useful to general health and well-being--not to replace medical diagnosis and treatment, but to complement it. Massage feels good, yes, but you might enjoy knowing some of the important ways it aids bodily function.
1. Massage dilates the blood vessels, improving the circulation and relieves congestion throughout the body.
2. Massage increases the number of red blood cells, especially in cases of anemia.
3. Massage acts as a "mechanical cleanser," stimulating lymph circulation and hastening the elimination of wastes and toxic debris.
4. Massage relaxes muscle spasms and relieves tension.
5. Massage increases blood supply and nutrition to muscles without adding to their load of toxic lactic acid, produced through voluntary muscle contraction. Massage helps to prevent build up of harmful "fatigue products" resulting from strenuous exercise or injury.
6. Massage improves muscle tone and helps prevent or delay muscular atrophy resulting from forced inactivity.
7. Massage can compensate, in part, for lack of exercise and muscular contraction in persons who are forced to remain inactive. In these cases (due to illness or age) massage helps to return venous blood to the heart and so eases the strain on this vital organ.
8. Massage can have a sedative or stimulating effect on the nervous system depending on the type of treatment given.
9. According to some authorities, massage helps to break down the fat capsule in subcutaneous tissue. In this way, massage can be and aid to dieting, when combined with the nutritious, but calorie deficient diet.
10. By improving the general circulation, massage increases nutrition to the tissues.
11. Massage increases the excretion (via the kidneys) of fluids and waste products of protein metabolism, inorganic phosphorus and salt.
12. Massage encourages the retention of nitrogen, phosphorus and sulfur necessary for tissue repair in persons recovering from bone fracture.
13. Massage stretches connective tissue, improves its circulation and nutrition, therefore breaking down or preventing the formation of adhesions and reducing the danger of fibrosis.
14. Massage improves the circulation and nutrition of joints and hastens the elimination of harmful deposits.
15. Inflammation and swelling of the joints are lessened, thereby alleviating pain.
16. Massage helps to reduce edema in the extremities (swelling and fluid retention in the hands and feet).
17. Massage disperses the edema following injury to ligaments and tendons, lessens pain and facilitates movement.