Massage therapy can relieve muscular stress and tension, help with managing pain, and provides numerous benefits for overall health and well-being on many levels.
A majority of people who get massage report the neck, shoulders, and upper back between the shoulder blades as areas that hold a lot of tension, and it's no surprise. Working at a computer all day, driving our cars, caring for others, and many other daily activities tend to put significant demands on our upper bodies.
Massage therapy physically opens and eases tension and stress held in the chest, ribs, shoulders, and arms. This physical release encourages the "relaxation response" and encourages numerous biological benefits to take effect.
When we are in a hurry or stressed-out, our breathing becomes more shallow, our heart rate and blood pressure rise, and "stress hormones" such as cortisol flood our bloodstream. This constant state of "fight-or-flight" can have damaging effects on our health.
Many recent scientific studies have shown massage therapy can decrease blood pressure and heart rate. In fact, research has shown significant reductions in blood pressure, heart rate, and levels of cortisol after just 10-15 minutes of massage!
Another major benefit of massage and bodywork is the time and opportunity to re-connect with our own mind, body, and emotions. Taking the time to get in touch with ourselves, physically and emotionally, is critical to living a healthy, happy life.
Quite often, that 60 minutes on the massage table may be the only completely uninterrupted "you-time" that you get during the week. No phones, no kids, no other place to be, and no one else needing any of your attention except yourself. Re-connecting with our hearts can open us to tremendous healing.
Given that skin and our sense of touch are closely tied to the "heart chakra", it makes sense that massage and bodywork can have an influence on this energy center.
Our physical heart and blood, as well as the entire circulatory and respiratory systems, work in synchronicity with our heart chakra. Lungs, diaphragm, esophagus, thymus, breasts, ribs, upper back, shoulders, arms, and hands are all tied to this vibrant energy center. All of the "connective" tissue of the body is governed by this chakra. The predominant sense organ and sense related to the heart chakra is, in fact, skin and our sense of touch.
The experience of unconditional love is a powerful energy that sustains us through the most difficult times in our lives. Our ability to heal ourselves and others, is centered in the fourth chakra, our hearts.