What is massage?
Massage involves working and acting on the body with pressure – structured, unstructured, stationary, or moving – tension, motion, or vibration. Massage can be applied with the hands, fingers and elbows.
Massage is used to promote relaxation and well-being, and is beneficial in treating sports injuries and other problems affecting the musculature of the body such as postural misalignment and many painful conditions.
Peer-reviewed medical research has shown that the benefits of massage include pain relief, reduced trait anxiety and depression, and temporarily reduced blood pressure, heart rate, and state of anxiety. Additional testing has shown an immediate increase and expedited recovery periods for muscle performance. Theories behind what massage might do include blocking nociception (gate control theory), activating the parasympathetic nervous system, which may stimulate the release of endorphins and serotonin, preventing fibrosis or scar tissue, increasing the flow of lymph, and improving sleep quality.