If you’ve read my blog before, you know that massage has incredible effects on all areas of your body, and can be a complimentary treatment for just about all medical conditions. Massage provides positive outcomes for each of the twelve systems of the body. In order to understand how massage can help you and any illnesses you may have, it is important that you understand how the systems of your body work and what effects massage has on them. Check back on my blog weekly for a series of entries on each body system. This week: Your circulatory system.
HOW DOES THE CIRCULATORY SYSTEM WORK?
Your circulatory (or cardiovascular) system consists of your heart, lungs, blood, veins, capillaries, and arteries. It is responsible for carrying blood from the heart, through the body, and back to the heart. It also creates blood cells.
Blood is made up of plasma, red and white blood cells, and platelets. The average adult has about 5-6 quarts of blood in his body. About 2,000 gallons of blood travel 60,000 miles throughout the body on a daily basis. Unoxygenated blood is pumped from the right heart into the lungs where it is oxygenated. It is then pumped back into the left side of the heart, and pumped into the body through the arteries. The blood flows through the entire body, the oxygen in it being absorbed along the way. Eventually, the blood finds its way into the veins where it is carried back to the heart to be oxygenated again.
Inside your body is a vast network of veins, blood vessels, and arteries. This system is responsible for carrying your blood through your body and back to the heart. This is called the pulmonary circulation, and it is the body’s way of keeping each cell properly oxygenated, vibrant, and healthy.
WHAT DOES MASSAGE DO FOR YOUR CIRCULATORY SYSTEM?
So what does getting a massage do to your circulatory system? Probably the most important outcome is that massage improves your general circulation. Increased blood flow is important, because your blood is responsible for carrying oxygen and other vital nutrients to your body. The long-term outcome of a healthier blood flow means glowing skin, preserved organ function, decreased muscle cramping, higher cognitive function, and a lower risk of stroke! Totally worth it.
Massage has a relaxing affect; it reduces stress. Because of this, receiving regular massage can slow your heart rate, thereby reducing blood pressure. That doesn’t mean your heart is weaker. In fact, the contractions of the heart have been shown to be stronger and more complete after receiving massage. Because of the amazing affects massage has on your circulatory system, the likelihood of heart disease is also greatly reduced.
So is it worth it to receive massage? Well, if you read my blog, then you know by now that it is. I don’t know what else I have to do to convince you if this article right here doesn’t do the trick. 🙂 Massage should be a vital part of everyone’s health care routine, because it has positive outcomes all around. As always, remember that massage is not an alternate form of health care. It is only complimentary. You should always follow the advice of your primary care physician. Hopefully, he advises you to get a massage!
Body Systems Series
Institute for Integrative Health Care
Thomas Goodrich Therapeutic Massage