Keep the Engine of Your Body Running Smoothly with Massage

massage, health, body service, checkup

Big engine, little car! by Stephen Bowler via flickr. Licensed under creative commons.

Ever go out to start the car in the morning and get nothing but a grinding sound or a click? Almost everyone has experienced this unfortunate circumstance, and a non-performing car can really create problems, especially as regards your workplace. Chances are, your boss is not going to be overly sympathetic if this happens with some frequency.

The answer, of course, is to keep the car in good condition. Taking the family flivver in for regular maintenance and tune-ups is a good way to prevent morning disappointment. Most people will take the time and trouble to keep their cars in good working order, but will often ignore something that can keep their own engines, their bodies, functioning at peak efficiency – massage.

Keep Your Battery from Going Flat

Modern life has seemingly bestowed upon us mortals two different reactions to it: a hyper-stressed out over-would clock syndrome, or a no-energy, dragging through life one. Sometimes, it seems an effort just to get out of bed in the morning, and by midafternoon, it can be hard to simply move at all.

Part of the problem might be a lack of meaningful sleep at night, but part might also be that constant activity is simply tiring you out. Those of you who find it difficult to get through the workday without nodding off at the computer could probably benefit from regular massage therapy.

Massage produces the same Delta brain waves that you experience while sleeping, so whether you fall asleep on the table or not, your body is getting refreshed. After a good, professional massage, most people feel energized and alert. While even one massage can help to restore energy, imagine what the cumulative effects of a weekly massage would be.

Are You a Live Wire?

Conversely, if you’re walking around feeling as if one of your fingers is permanently installed in a light socket, you’re definitely a candidate for a relaxing massage. Constant stress is not good for anyone, either physically or mentally, and it can lead to a number of very unpleasant health conditions.

Stress causes the adrenal gland to release cortisol. Of itself, cortisol has probably saved a number of lives over the centuries – being able to put on that extra burst of speed to get away from a hungry bear or enough strength to fight off a mugger.

However, like many things that are good in small quantities, cortisol can also be very damaging to the body in larger amounts. Stress and its accompanying cortisol cause the blood pressure to rise, and elevated blood pressure can cause a number of potentially serious problems such as heart attack, stroke, or kidney failure.

There are medications that can help to reduce high blood pressure, but these are not without risk and side effects themselves. Massage is an excellent way to pull the plug on stress and let your body’s chemicals stabilize without adding more.

Therapeutic massage has been definitely proven to reduce the amount of cortisol in the blood and urine while helping the body to release more endorphins. Our bodies actually make over 20 different kinds of endorphins and they are responsible for the euphoric feelings that can occur from exercise, sex, or listening to music. They help to relax us and reduce stressful feelings, and massage is an excellent way to help endorphins help you.

Protecting Your Brain

As if the effects of stress on the body, such as cardiovascular damage were not bad enough, it’s been found that cortisol also has a direct, negative effect on the brain. Cortisol has been found to actually destroy brain cells located in the hippocampus. Tucked into the bottom center of the brain, we have 2 hippocampi and they help with memory and how we are able to relate to moving around in the world.

It doesn’t take a mastermind to see that by subjecting ourselves to stress and flooding our systems with cortisol that serious damage can be done to the way we are able to think and retrieve information. The brain can and will regrow new cells for the hippocampi, but when cortisol is still be squirted around freely, the rate of regrowth will be slow.

The best time to think about your health and keeping your body in the best possible shape is before any problems arise. If you are stressed, even if you are young, now is the time to begin including massage into your lifestyle. Making it a part of a regular ‘maintenance’ program will keep your engine running smoothly for years to come.