Blood Circulation to superficial veins is a benefit of massage. When heat and redness occurs as well as deep effleurage and kneading, which increases blood volume as well as facilitate the lymphatic system, on the body these manipulations should always be “towards the heart”, it increases venous flow; in turn it increases arterial circulation. The result of massage brings nutrients to an area, as well as removing metabolic waste products. Massage towards the heart is important with improvement of circulation if the techniques where performed in the opposite direction the valves in the veins, which prevent back flow, could be damaged. Massage movements affect blood and lymph channels in the following ways:
- Light stroking produces temporary dilation of the capillaries
- Deep stroking more lasting dilation and flushing of the massaged area
- Light percussion causes a contraction of the blood vessels, which tend to relax as the movement is continued.
- Friction increases the permeability of the capillary beds, and produces an increased flow of interstitial fluid. This creates a healthier environment for the cells.
- Kneading stimulates the flow of blood through the deeper arteries and veins.
- Friction, kneading and stroking stimulate lymph circulation
- Compression produces a hyperemia an increase in the amount of blood stored in the muscle tissue.
The fact that Massage Therapy improves circulation is a tremendous benefit. When you exercise regularly and eat properly, massage can be the key to leading a healthier lifestyle. The long term effects of massage therapy are much more than just skin deep. Better circulation is part of the chain reaction that happens in the body as a result of receiving massage therapy on a regular basis.:
- Lowers blood pressure
- Improves body function
- Enhances blood flow
- Moves waste away from muscles and internal organs
A person with poor circulation can suffer from a variety of discomforts including pooling of the fluid in the extremities (like the toes), cold hands and feet, fatigue, and achiness created by an accumulation of lactic acid in the muscles. Good circulation brings damaged, tense muscles the oxygen rich blood they need to heal.
Massage facilitates circulation because the pressure created by the massage technique actually moves blood through the congested areas. The release of this same pressure causes new blood to flow in. The squeezing and pulling also flushes lactic acid from the muscles and improves the circulation of the lymph fluid which carries metabolic waste away from muscles and internal organs, resulting in lower blood pressure and improved body function.