Not sure why a massage therapist needs to know anatomy? The main reason is to keep the client safe during massage treatment. Knowing where the vital organs are located and how the body systems work helps the massage therapist administer massage in a way that is complementary to the body’s natural function. Massage can also be a great supplemental pain relief option with minimally invasive treatment.
What Body Systems are Most Affected by Massage?
Some body systems are more affected by massage than others, however all body systems must work together to keep humans healthy. Each body system has its part to play, and massage can help improve these body system’s performance.
The purpose of circulation is to continuously deliver fresh blood throughout the body, as well as its tissues and organs. Improper blood flow can lead to long term chronic health conditions, and even permanent disability. Effective and proper massage therapy techniques can increase blood flow and enhance the circulatory system’s ability to provide blood throughout the body. Massage can also help remove waste and toxins from the blood, filtered by the kidney and liver. By increasing the blood flow in the circulatory system, massage can also help deliver oxygen and remove carbon dioxide from the blood to keep the body healthy.
Not only are muscles responsible for our daily movements, but they are also vital to the functioning of the rest of the body. Massage decreases the amount of tension that is stored within the muscles and can also improve this muscular system’s overall functionality and efficiency. Massage can increase proper blood flow, nutrients, and oxygen, and is an important part of the proper care of a well-functioning muscular system. Massage can even help those afflicted with neuromuscular disorders like ALS, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, myopathy, and other chronic muscular system disorders.
The endocrine system is responsible for producing and distributing hormones throughout the body. If the endocrine system becomes unbalanced, the body can endure different ailments and conditions, such as anxiety, depression, obesity, insomnia, and diabetes. Massage can have a significant impact on the endocrine system, and can help restore the proper balance of oxytocin, cortisol, serotonin, dopamine, and other important hormones.
The nervous system is known for its role in processing and receiving information and is comprised of two main parts: the brain and the spinal cord. Massage techniques promote relaxation, as well as the production of a variety of “feel good hormones” in the brain. Massage relieves the nervous system, and helps decrease the body’s heart rate, promoting an enhanced mood, and lowering blood pressure. Different types of massage can help relieve stress in the central nervous system including deep tissue massage and myofascial massage.
The skeletal system is responsible for keeping the body’s vital organs and tissues in place. The skeletal system is comprised of bones, joints, ligaments, cartilage, and bone marrow. The ribs protect the heart and lungs, while the skull protects the brain. Massage provides many benefits for the skeletal system, including improving posture, relieving stiff joints, alleviating symptoms of arthritis, and improving flexibility. Massage also helps bones retain the vitamins and minerals necessary to increase the body’s strength and durability.
Digestion plays a critical role in the overall functioning of the body. Digestion is how the body receives and processes vital nutrients from food. An efficient digestive system helps distribute important nutrients to the rest of the body. When digestion is compromised, other chronic issues can occur, such as constipation, diarrhea, and irritable bowel syndrome. Proper massage techniques can relieve these issues and help restore the digestive tract in a therapeutic and noninvasive manner.
The integumentary system includes the body’s skin, hair, and nails. The skin is the largest organ of the body and protects every part of our bodies. It is also considered the body’s first line of defense in maintaining the body’s health. Because it’s the largest organ in the human body, the rest of the body is often affected whenever the integumentary system is not performing properly. Massage can have a positive impact on the integumentary system, helping promote positive stimulation of the skin, improved texture, and elasticity, as well as enhanced tissue repair.
The respiratory system is responsible for the proper delivery of oxygen into the lungs, and the disposal of harmful carbon dioxide through exhalation. The respiratory system depends on an adequate supply of blood to perform properly. Massage can enhance and improve the respiratory system by increasing lung capacity, promoting the function of the pulmonary system, improving the function of the diaphragm, slowing, and deepening the breathing pattern, decreasing congestion, and promoting overall relaxation. The deep breathing that naturally occurs with massage can also relieve stress and relax the body and mind.
The lymphatic system is an important component of our immune system. The lymphatic system includes various tissue, nodules, and other components which are used to transport and carry fluids throughout the body. Massage can enhance and improve the lymphatic system by alleviating any swelling and inflammation that is present. Massage can also decrease sinus congestion, reduce, and soften scar tissue, promote blood circulation, and decrease swelling in and around the lymph nodes.
It is important for the body to have a healthy, functioning urinary tract system. Waste material and other byproducts that are not necessary for the human body to function are expelled through the process of urination. Urea, which is a byproduct of blood production, must be expelled to prevent blood toxicity. The urinary tract is connected to the kidneys, where the urea must first be filtered out and removed.
Massage can engage the urinary tract and help increase urinary output. Massage can reduce fluid retention, which is important in maintaining a healthy heart. Massage also promotes liver and kidney health, and aids muscles in releasing built up toxins and lactic acid.
The immune system helps protect the body from contracting viruses and other contagious conditions. When the body contracts a virus or other illness, the immune system starts attacking the virus by sending out lymphocytes. These lymphocytes work to attack virus cells, eliminating the virus cells until the body is free from illness.
Massage can enhance the immune system by reducing cortisol levels. If the body experiences chronic stress, the chances of getting sick can increase. Massage decreases cortisol levels, therefore strengthening the immune system, and enhancing the body’s overall health and wellbeing.
Did learning about the affect of massage on different body systems interest you? Enjoy helping others relax and reduce pain from both acute and chronic conditions? If this sounds like a good path for your career, take the time to learn about the Massage Therapy program at Minnesota School of Cosmetology. Start a rewarding career and helping others in the process. It’s a win-win.
Massage Therapy Program
If you are interested in the healing powers of massage, you can begin your career in massage therapy at Minnesota School of Cosmetology. Our short-term massage therapy training program is designed to be completed in as little as 13 months. Our massage therapy training program is designed as a holistic program that will prepare students to focus on body mechanics of their patients as well as develop positive habits for the therapist. Together, those two areas will provide a foundation that can lead to longevity in the career field.
Contact us today to learn more about becoming a massage therapist and starting a rewarding career in the massage industry.