People choose to receive massages for a variety of different reasons. Whether you are feeling the stress of a busy work week or relaxing your mind and body before an important test, massage therapy can naturally relieve your mind and body of tension to help you relax and feel your best.

A good massage performed by your massage therapist can help you on your journey to a healthier heart by: reducing stress and tension in muscles, lowering blood pressure, decreasing your heart rate, and increasing the flow and efficiency of blood, nutrients, and oxygen throughout your body.

Massage can help reduce the risks associated with stress including arrhythmias and atherosclerosis, a process that is associated with causing a heart attack or stroke. There have been many long-term studies that have shown that massage therapy can lower stress levels, which decreases the chances of having consistent high blood pressure. With a healthy blood pressure, one significantly lowers the odds of a heart attack.

Blood Pressure
The normal blood pressure recommended by the American Heart Association (AHA) is 120/80 mm Hg or less. This ratio is read 120 over 80 millimeters of mercury. The upper number is your systolic, which measures when your heart contracts. The lower number, diastolic, measures when the heart is resting and refilling with blood between beats. As the ratio increases beyond 120/80, one becomes at serious risk of hypertension. Massage therapy can benefit you and your cardiovascular system by lowering your blood pressure, hence reducing the risk for hypertension, or high blood pressure. The majority of people experience an increase in systolic blood pressure as they age, which is caused by stiffness of large arteries, long-term accumulation of plaque in arteries, and increased occurrences of cardiac disease. Receiving a massage is a great way to keep blood flowing throughout the body, and keeping your blood pressure at a healthy level.

Many studies have produced significant results that massage can lower heart rate and decrease blood pressure. A research study conducted in 2008 concluded that after a 45-60 minute massage of the 263 participants, systolic blood pressure was decreased by 10.4 mm Hg, diastolic blood pressure was reduced by 5.3 mm Hg, and heart rate was decreased by an average of 10.8 beats per minute. With the results obtained in this study, an individual would be lucky to achieve these increases in health in a lifetime of prescribed blood pressure medication from a doctor.

Blood Flow
Stress caused by work, money, family troubles, and the economy can lead to increased worry and unnecessary fight-or-flight responses to situations. Long-term stress has been shown to contribute to high blood pressure and increases the likelihood of plaque build-up in arteries. Your masseuse has the capability to use slow gliding motions to relax muscles that encourage blood to flow more freely through your body. When blood is flowing more freely through our circulatory system, oxygen and nutrients are able to reach your cells, tissues, and organs faster and more efficiently.

You deserve to be healthy. You deserve to have a break in your busy, fruitful life. The less stress you experience, the healthier your heart will be. Massage therapy can help you on your journey towards a healthier heart, by lowering your blood pressure, releasing tension in muscles, causing blood to flow more freely throughout your body, delivering oxygen and nutrients to every cell more efficiently, and by taking pressure off of your heart by lowering your heart rate. If you want to feel rejuvenated and free your heart, massage therapy may be exactly what you need.

Article Author: Shelly Jackson is a Registered Massage Therapist and owner of Buena Vista Massage Therapy Clinic in Vancouver, BC. On a daily basis we deal with: resolving muscle and movement stiffness and pain; injuries from vehicles or sports; post breast cancer rehab; pregnancy related discomfort; repetitive strain and overuse injuries. We work with clients to reduce their anxiety and stress, improve joint movement, sleep and quality of life. Working with qualified massage therapists is necessary for your continued health. Contact us at 604-538-7166 and we would be happy to answer any questions you have.

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