What Body Systems are Most Affected by Massage?

massage therapist assisting a client

Massage therapy is one of the most effective ways to deal with a variety of ailments and physical conditions. Curious what body systems are most affected by massage? Annually, millions of people seek physical and emotional relief through the use of a qualified massage therapist. Massage therapy is one of the oldest and most effective ways of addressing issues within all twelve systems of the body. Massage therapy is a critical component of one’s overall health and should be part of a regular health regimen.

Pursuing a career in massage therapy is both gratifying and intrinsically rewarding. There is nothing better than knowing that you have made a positive impact on the lives and wellbeing of others.

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 and happy. Each body system has its part to play, and massage can help improve these body system’s performance.

Circulatory System

The circulatory system is one of the most important parts of the body. The purpose of circulation is to continuously pump fresh blood throughout the body, as well as its tissues and organs. Sometimes the circulatory system does not adequately pump blood throughout the body. 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.

Muscular System

One of the first areas in which chronic stress and tension tend to appear is through the muscular system. Not only are muscles responsible for all of our daily movements and activities, but they are also incredibly vital to the proper functioning of the rest of the body. Massage decreases the amount of tension and stress that is stored within the muscles and can also improve this system’s overall functionality and efficiency. Massage can increase proper blood flow, nutrients, and oxygen, and is an important part of the proper upkeep and care of a well-functioning muscular system.

Endocrine System

The endocrine system is responsible for producing and distributing all the various hormones within the body. At times, this system can become out of balance, which causes a variety of ailments and conditions, such as anxiety, depression, obesity, insomnia, and even diabetes. Massage can have a significant benefit in this area, and can help restore the proper balance of oxytocin, cortisol, serotonin, dopamine and other important hormones.

Central Nervous System

Most notable for its role in processing and receiving information, the central nervous system is comprised of two main parts: the brain and the spinal cord. Massage techniques promote intense relaxation, as well as the production of a variety of “feel good hormones” in the brain. Massage relieves the nervous system, and benefits it by decreasing the body’s heart rate, promoting an enhanced mood, and lowering blood pressure.

Peripheral Nervous System

The peripheral nervous system (or PNS) is comprised of the nerves and nerve cells within our body. These nerves and nerve cells are the roadway for the rest of the organs, muscles, blood vessels, and glands. The PNS is the main way in which every other system sends and receives information throughout the body. Professional massage techniques can help the PNS by increasing blood flow, heightening the senses, promoting efficient digestion, and helping to regulate core body temperature and perspiration.

Skeletal System

The skeletal system is responsible for keeping a person’s vital organs and tissues in place. This system is comprised of bones, joints, ligaments, cartilage, and bone marrow. Some of the most important parts of the skeletal system are the ribs and skull. The ribs protect the heart and lungs, while the skull protects the brain. Massage therapy provides a multitude of benefits for the skeletal system, including improving one’s posture, relieving stiff joints, alleviating symptoms of arthritis, and improving flexibility. Furthermore, massage also helps bones retain the vitamins and minerals necessary to increase the body’s strength and durability. This is an important point, especially with older adults who experience the loss of bone density as they age.

Gastrointestinal (Digestive) System

Many people are surprised to find that massage therapy offers numerous benefits for the digestive system. Digestion plays a critical role when it comes to the proper overall functioning of the body. Digestion is the way the body receives and processes vital nutrients from food and beverages. An efficient digestive system facilitates the distribution of nutrients to the rest of the body, to keep it functioning optimally. There is nothing worse than a sluggish digestive tract. 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.

Reproductive System

It may seem odd to think that massage therapy can benefit the reproductive system, however, massage therapy can increase one’s chances of successfully conceiving a child. Successful conception is dependent on a variety of factors, including the appropriate regulation of hormones. Massage has a positive impact on the reproductive system, by increasing feelings of relaxation and wellbeing. In turn, this can increase the chances of conceiving a successfully fertilized zygote. It must be noted that some elements of massage are not recommended for pregnant women.

Integumentary System

This system primarily consists of one’s skin, hair, and nails. The skin is the largest organ of the body and protects every single part of our bodies. It is also considered the body’s first line of defense in one’s ability to maintain good health. Because it’s the largest organ in the human body, the rest of our body is often affected whenever the integumentary system is not performing optimally. Massage techniques conducted by a massage therapist can have a positive impact on this important part of the body, including promoting positive stimulation of the skin, improving texture and elasticity, as well as enhancing tissue repair.

Respiratory System

The respiratory system is responsible for the proper delivery of oxygen into the lungs, as well as the disposal of harmful carbon dioxide through the process of exhaling. The respiratory system depends on an adequate supply of blood to perform optimally. Massage therapy 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.

Lymphatic system

The lymphatic system is an extremely vital component of our immune system. This system includes various tissue, nodules, and other components which are used to transport and carry various bodily fluids throughout the body. When an individual becomes sick, it’s often due to an inadequately functioning lymphatic system. Professional massage therapists can enhance and improve the lymphatic system by alleviating any swelling and inflammation that is present. Furthermore, massage can decrease sinus congestion, reduce and soften scar tissue, promote blood circulation and decrease swelling in and around the lymph nodes.

Urinary System

For the human body to perform optimally, it is important to have a healthy, functioning urinary tract system. Waste material and other byproducts that are not necessary for the functioning of the human body 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 therapy plays a vital role in a properly functioning urinary tract. Massage can engage the urinary tract and helps increase urinary output. In addition, massage therapy can reduce fluid retention, which is vital in maintaining a healthy heart. Massage also promotes liver and kidney health, and aids muscles in releasing built up toxins and lactic acid.

Immune System

A person’s overall health and wellbeing is heavily dependent upon an adequately functioning and strong immune system. The immune system helps protect individuals from contracting viruses and a variety of other contagious conditions. When a person contracts a virus or other illness, the immune system goes to work and attacks the virus by sending out lymphocytes. These lymphocytes work to attack virus cells, eliminating them until the body is free from illness. If a person has an inadequate immune system, they are left completely vulnerable to contracting a contagious virus and may even be at risk of premature death. Massage therapy enhances the immune system primarily by reducing cortisol levels. Cortisol, otherwise known as “the stress hormone,” has been known to have a negative impact on the body’s immune system. If a person experiences chronic stress, their chances of getting sick increases significantly. Massage therapy decreases cortisol levels, therefore strengthening the immune system, and enhancing the body’s overall health and wellbeing.

Final Thoughts

A career in massage therapy is both fulfilling and rewarding. Massage therapists play a vital role in decreasing a person’s stress levels, relieving pain and tension, reducing anxiety, and promoting good health. They are in high demand, with the field expected to grow throughout the next ten years. With massage therapy, you can enjoy a flexible schedule, choose to work in a variety of environments and specialties, and enjoy the satisfaction of helping people feel better. Not only can a career in massage therapy increase other people’s quality of life, but it can also increase your own personal happiness and satisfaction knowing that you have made a positive difference in other’s lives.

Want to Learn More?

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.

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