The Unique Touch Massage
"Live,Laugh and Love Pain Free"

What Can Massage Do For You Physiologically?

What Can Massage Do For You Physiologically?

Massage affords one of the effective means of influencing the function of the human body. Every function is powerfully influenced by some or all procedures.

3 Categories of Effects:

Mechanical – Tissue is passive and hands of masseur mechanically affect the tissue

  1. a. Blood and lymph movement
  2. b. Replacing of displaced viscera

Reflex – Reflex arcs are made within the body. Touch influences sensory nerves which carry the signal to the nerve centers which in turn send out a message to affect change in the body.

  1. a. All procedures of massage produce powerful reflex effects
  2. b. Stroking, percussion and vibration

Metabolic – changes in the tissue at the site of massage and in the body as a whole due to mechanical and reflex effects of massage.

  1. a. Increase white blood cells
  2. b. Increase nutrition to tissue


What Does Massage Do For Your Nervous System?

Stimulating Effects

  1. 1. Vibration and nerve compression – works directly on the nerve trunks to affect PNS and associated nerve centers
  2. 2. Friction – stimulates languid nerves
  3. 3. Light percussion – increases nerve irritability
  4. 4. Short strong percussion – increases nerve irritability then numbs the nerves by exhausting them
  5. 5. Applications are tapping, slapping, clapping, hacking, beating

Sedative Effects

  1. 1. Strong percussion – tires nerves to reduce pain
  2. 2. Pinching  -works same as above
  3. 3. Light stroking – reflex effect of relaxation
  4. 4. Derivative friction  - very marked sedative effect
  5. 5. Application – kneading

Focus on Derivative Friction

Massage between the part and the heart pulls blood and lymph away from the body part.

  1. 1. Increases vascular activity over organ to reduce blood supply to the organ when done over the viscera, causing blood to go around rather than thru an organ
  2. 2. Centrifugal friction reduces cerebral activity
  3. 3. Decreases joint pain by empting blood and lymph; use with joint movement of the joint above the site you are trying to effect
  4. 4. Decreases swelling


Massage restores the nervous system by improving nutrition.

  1. 1. Increased blood supply repairs and cleanses nerves
  2. 2. Mental fatigue is decreased because massage increases circulation and elimination to aid in the removal of toxins that result from mental activity

What Does Massage For Your Muscles?

  1. 1.The chief concern of massage
  2. 2. ½ of the bulk of the body and receive ¼ of the blood at rest
  3. 3. Any procedure that affects muscles affects the whole body
  4. 4. Muscles only get fed when exercising
  5. 5. Muscle mimics exercise by increasing the blood supply (just as exercise mimics massage) How? Suction and pumping on the muscles
  6. 6. How is massage different than exercise? Massage feeds the muscle without exhausting them (w/o taxing the nervous system)
  7. 7. Massage is not a substitute for exercise – exercise calls into play the entire motor mechanism.

Massage affects the muscles in the following ways

  1. 1. Encourages nutrition and development of the muscle – with regular massage you can increase the size tone and elasticity of the muscle
  2. 2. Excites muscle contraction – Percussion – may be more effective than faradic current at stimulating muscle contraction, Vibration – strong vibration produces tetanus
  3. 3. Increases electro – excitability
    1. a. Muscle contract more easily after massage in response to electric current
    2. b. Kronecker says that a muscle is less easily tetanizid after massage but the force of action is increased
    3. c. Abnormal muscle irritability is decreased by massage
    4. d. Massage may be a good thing before electric stimulation in cases where the electro – excitability is impaired
  4. 4. Decreases muscular fatigue and the assoc. stiffness and soreness

Muscle work creates toxin (waste products) that affect nerves and muscle, fatiguing them

  1. a. First, paralysis of the motor end plate
  2. b. Advanced fatigue – muscle has used all of its glycogen
  3. c. Muscle can be restored to normal after fatigue by rinsing the vessels without  fatigue
  4. d. Massage has been shown to be more effective than 15 minutes rest after being fatigue
  5. e. Massage decreases stiffness and soreness from consecutive or secondary fatigue due to overexertion of the muscle  - Too vigorous of a massage can cause stiffness and soreness as well 


Effects Upon the Bones, Skeleton and Ligaments

Encourages bone growth  - The blood supply to the muscle is the same to the underlying  bone, therefore the same techniques that increases size and tone of the muscle will encourage growth in the bone. Those addicted to exercise have larger bones.

  1. Increased growth in cartilage, ligaments, and other joint structures- because blood and lymph vessels are largest in the vicinity of the joint, joint movement increased fluid exchange which increases nutrition to joint and surrounding structures.
  2. Increases the quantity and quality of blood produced – blood is made in the red bone marrow, thus acceleration of circulation through the muscle and bone positively affect this process
  3. Chiefly acts on the veins and lymph because they are closer to the surface than the arteries
  4. Friction affects superficial veins while petrissage acts on deeper vessels


Effects Upon Circulation

 Massage affects circulation in the following ways

  1. Increases rate and force of heart beat w/o increasing arterial tension
    1. Increases rate and force of heart like exercise does, but not to same degree.
    2. Produces a strong pulse by acting on the peripheral circulation
    3. Does not raise arterial tension like exercise
  2. Decreases blood pressure
    1. By mechanically moving blood thru veins and fluid thru lymph you create a reflex effect that dilates the small blood vessel thus decreases vascular tension. This also accelerates blood flow.
    2. The increased blood flow acts as a tonic to the heart and the decreased vessel tension allows it to work more effectively and freely
    3. Does briefly increase arterial tension before lowering blood pressure.
  3. Creates local hyperemia to a part
    1. Brings more blood to the area being worked on.
    2. Dilates vessels – prolonged light percussion, strong percussion
    3. Constricts vessels – short light percussion
    4. Reflex percussion increases circulation in vessels related to the nerve centers you are trying to affect
  4. Increases blood pressure by slowing pulse (abdominal massage)
    1. By massaging the abdomen, you are slowing the pulse and increasing blood pressure
    2. Stimulates the abdominal muscles thus increasing interabdominal pressure and constricting abdominal blood vessel

c.   This increases circulation to the abdominal muscle while decreasing blood supply to the abdominal viscera, decreasing visceral congestion

  1. Decreases congestion in pulmonary and portal circulation
    1. Massage of the extremities followed by centrifugal friction decreases pulmonary and portal congestion
    2. Massage of legs affects portal more
    3. Massage of both legs and arms affects pulmonary
    4. Massage of both derivatively acts on brain and spine – avoid stimulating procedures like reflex stroking or percussion when going for this affect
  2. Promotes action of the diaphragm
    1. The diaphragm in turn has an effect on blood and lymph circulation

Great lymph pump: lots of lymph in the area of central tendon so movement of the diaphragm mechanically pumps and moves the lymph

  1. Increases floe of lymph
    1. Lymph system drains tissue and removes waste – Massage increases flow of

Lymph up 7 or 8 times faster than normal thus decreases swelling

    1. Lymph is most abundant in subcutaneous tissue and in fascia between muscle – friction and kneading mechanically affects lymph
  1. Increases absorption
    1. Massage is showing to increase the absorptive power of peritoneum

abdominal organ and cavity lining). Under the influence of massage the peritoneum can absorb twice as much water, decreasing swelling in the body

Joint movement also increases absorption.


Effects on Respiration

 Massage effects respiration in the following ways


  1. Increase respiratory activity (lungs)
    1. Increases depth of respiratory movements like exercise. This is partially due to massages reflexive effects and to increase flow of blood to the lungs

Why? Increased blood means more waste to be removed, more blood to oxidize and more CO2 to get rid of. Increased waste and CO2 in the blood is due to massages heat producing effects on the muscle.


  1. Increase of tissue respiration
    1. Respiration is not confined to the lungs, gas exchange needs to happen at cellular level as well
    2. By increasing circulation and tissue activity, massage is a very effective means of increasing tissue metabolic where CO2 and O2 are exchanged
    3. By increasing lung activity you increase circulation and lymph flow towards the heart.  Increased respiration also has a positive effect on digestion, liver action and other vital functions. The brain works better as a result of the increase of oxygenized blood.


Effects on Heat Function

 1.     Heat production

    1. a. 4/5 of the food we eat is used for heat production: only 1/5 is used for work
    2. b.      Muscles’re the chief seat of heat production. They burn glycogen and are considered the furnace of the body
    3. c. Activity increases heat production and rest decreases heat production
    4. d. Muscle produce heat even when at rest due to slight muscular activity that takes place to maintain muscle tone
    5. e. Procedures that influence the muscles  - esp. deep kneading and strong percussion increases heat production


  1. 2.     Heat Dissipation
    1. a. Heat is dissipated by blood rising to the surface (skin) to be cooled by the air.

Blood can further be cooled by sweat evaporating off of the surface of the skin

  1. b. Friction increases heat dissipation by 95 % by causing vasodilatation of the blood vessel of the skin and reflexively increasing sweat glands activity.


            Focus on Fever

  1. a. Fever may be due to increase in heat production, the inability to regulate heat

or both

  1. b. Muscle fatigue and weakness that accompanies fever is due to the use of glycogen


Heat regulation


Since general massage increases both heat production and heat dissipation, massage does not necessarily raise body temperature.

Abdominal massage has been shown to raise internal temperature while decreasing surface temperature.


Effects upon Digestion

  Mostly clearly demonstrated function that massage affects.

 Massage has no rival in its efficiency as a means of promoting intestinal activity

 Massage effects digestion in the following ways

 1. Improves appetite

a. By accelerating  blood and lymph flow, massage increases nutrition and waste removal which in turn creates a demand for more nutrients. The body naturally manifests this need as hunger.

             Promotes secretion of digestive fluids

a. Massage (esp. of the abdomen) reflexively influencesglandular activity of and circulation to the stomach and intestines, which in turn increases the quality and quantity of digestive fluid.

  1. 2. promotes absorption of products of digestion
  2. a. Massage of the abdomen for as little as 10 minutes after a meal can reduce the amount of the time the food spends in the stomach by 15-75 minutes
  3. b. When it comes to assisting the movement of food from the stomach massage is more effective than electricity or exercise


  1. 3.  Aids peristalsis

Massage excites the reflexes that move food from the small intestine to the colon


Effects upon the Blood


      1. Massage encourages hemotogenesis, increases phagocytosis and improves nutrition to the body

 a.      Effects of hemotogenesis – Massage encourages the body’s blood making process, the value of which can not be underestimated

  1. b.      There is an immediate increase in the number of corpuscle produced as a result of general massage

-  red blood corpuscle increase 3-7%

-  white blood corpuscle increases 40 -80 %

amount of hemoglobin is increased in anemic patients

increases in the number of corpuscle is apparent  within 30 minutes of massage and lasts 1.5  - 2 hours

clients with low blood count will exp. A boost in # blood count

 c. Cold application will also increases the number of corpuscle, which is why cold applic.  followed by massage to rapidly and favorably influence the blood

  1. 3.  Effects on phagocytosis
    1. a. Massage  increases phagocytosis
    2. b. By increasing the number of white blood cells, the immune system function is increased
    3. c. Two ways phagocytosis is affected

increase in white blood cells digestion of inflammatory exudates, allowing them to be swept up and removed by the lymph flow

- fights infectious disease and holds off microbe invasions

  1. 4. Effects upon nutrition
  2. 5. Massage increases assimilation of nitrogenous food substances (food  w. nitrogen compounds: protein, nitrate salts)
  3. 6. Massage decreases weight of undernourished people by improving appetite and inducing sleep


Effects upon Elimination

  1. 1.     Improves Elimination
    1. a. By setting free waste into the blood, encouraging oxidation and cellular

Exchange, and increasing circulation thus bringing waste matter into contact with eliminatory organs

  1. 2.     Encourage activity of Liver
    1. a. Increase of O2 in the blood as well as the increase in portal circulation resulting from abdominal massage
    2. b. You can directly stimulate liver function by applying massage to the liver: esp. vibration and percussion
    3. c. Indirectly helps kidney function: the liver can detox the blood more efficiently before passing it on to the kidneys
    4. d. By aiding elimination in the liver and kidneys, massage contributes to purity of the blood
    5. 3. Encourages renal activity
      1. a. Abdominal massage, through its influence upon lumbar ganglia, abdominal sympathetic and solar plexus, increases the discharge of newly formed urine
      2. b.  Massage of the back and loins does not create the same effect, but massage of the legs has had a similar effect on dogs
      3. 4.  Promote activity of the skin
        1. a. One of the most valuable effects of massage
        2. b. Direct effect – stimulation of sweat and sebaceous glands as well as hair follicles
        3. c. Indirect – reflex effect on vasomotor nerves - increase. blood supply to skin
        4. d. Friction of skin increase. elimin. Of water through the skin by 60 %