Massage to Heal the Heart
Did you know one of the major causes in the increase of
cardiovascular diseases in the world is the prevalence of high blood pressure (hypertension)? Most people don’t realize they have high blood pressure until they experience a heart attack or stroke and/or diagnosis in a physical examination. Today, in developed countries, one in every three adults has hypertension, while approximately 50 million of adults in the United States are suffering from high blood pressure.
Studies have shown how massage therapy can be beneficial to your overall health and can help to lower blood pressure. In 2008, researchers studied 263 volunteers who had a massage for 45 to 60 minutes. Average blood pressure fell by 10 mg Hg and heart rate by 10 beats per minute after one treatment. That’s about as much as you might get from prescribing a new blood pressure medication for life!
In early 2013, 50 people with mildly elevated blood pressure received a 15-minute massage, three times a week for 10 sessions, while a similar group just relaxed for the same amount of time. For the group that received massages, blood pressure fell at the end of the sessions and remained lower for several days.
Another study examined 8 women with high blood pressure who had an hour massage each week for four weeks. At the end of that period, their blood pressure fell by 12 mm Hg systolic (top number) and measurements in the blood reflecting inflammation fell significantly. Another group of women who just rested for the same amount of time had smaller improvements in the same measurements, but not as drastic as the group who received massages.
Many lifestyle factors contribute to hypertension, including cigarette smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, lack of regular exercise, an unhealthy diet and being overweight. Massage for hypertension may be beneficial to reduce diastolic blood pressure and lessen the symptoms associated with hypertension. Given that tens of millions of people in the US alone grapple with high blood pressure, massage therapy can be used as a complimentary approach in maintaining optimal vascular health, helping to ease depression, lower blood pressure and even raise self-esteem. Massage is a safe, non invasive, and soothing treatment, particularly for people that experience stress on a frequent basis. If treated regularly, massage patients can demonstrate long term improvement in stress levels and heart rate.
There are endless possibilities for the ways in which massage can help heal your life and your heart. For more information on the benefits of massage for your health, click here.