First of all, massage therapy helps to dilate blood vessels. The opening of the blood vessels allows the blood to circulate through the body more freely, thus lowering the blood pressure. The lowered blood pressure can last for up to 40 minutes after a massage.
Certain deeper strokes used in massage therapy also contribute to improved blood circulation because they assist the body in allowing blood to flow back towards the heart. Some scientists believe that the increase in circulation is comparable to a good cardiovascular workout, increasing circulation up to three times more than normal! Increased blood flow, also known as hyperemia, can sometimes be visible on the surface of the skin after a massage as you will see areas that have turned red or pink - rest assured, this is healthy and will fade away in a short time.
The increased blood circulation caused by massage also helps to replenish nutrients throughout your body. The blood cells that transport nutrients and oxygen to cells and tissues will be able to do so more effectively, contributing to your overall health and well-being. At the same time, your body will be able to remove metabolic wastes or toxins that are stored in the blood at an enhanced capacity.
With increased blood circulation and improved blood pressure, you'll notice a reduction in your heart rate and a lower pulse. The reflexive response encourages your body to relax!
Massage therapy also impacts the cardiovascular system by reducing the occurrence of ischemia in the body. Ischemia is defined as a reduced blood supply due to constricted or blocked arteries.
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