Benefits of Massage

By Kathy L. Gruver, PhD, LMT, NHC





Massage has existed for centuries. Historians believe that hieroglyphics portraying massage were discovered in ancient Egypt in 2500 BC. A Chinese book believed to date back to the first century BCE, The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine mentions massaging the skin and flesh. What did these ancient people know? Massage feels good!  But what else does it actually do? Frequently, my clients express interest in the techniques I am using and how they affect the body. Other than just plain relaxing you, here are some things that massage will do and some things that it won’t do.

Research has shown massage lowers blood pressure and heart rate, can lower and stabilize blood sugar and moves lymph throughout your body. Okay, well, what is lymph?

Lymph is the cleansing system of the body. It runs through vessels similar to your circulatory system, but doesn’t have a pump to move it (like the heart). So lymph is moved through your body by movement, breathing, muscle contraction and massage. The more the lymph moves through, the better your immune system, as the lymph carries away the “bad stuff.” 

When don’t you want massage moving lymph?  When there is cancer. The last thing you want are cancer cells being spread throughout the body. If you have cancer or have been treated for cancer, tell your massage therapist so they can make a determination if massage is right for you.

Massage helps with circulation, which is why it is so good for elderly people or those who are inactive due to injury. Massage helps move the blood and fluid around which is extraordinarily beneficial in healing. People with swollen legs and ankles like pregnant women or those with lymph edema can find relief with massage. The other benefit for the

Touch Research Institute. Originally reported in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, January 2000, Vol. 4, No 1., Stress Management Can Help Control Glucose in Type 2 Diabetes, Duke University Medical Center, 2006.
Dynamic Living Magazine Issue Vol. 3  May/June 2011 continue on next page