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The Importance of Massage Therapy for Heart Health

Brent Wells Apr 9, 2019
Let’s be right up front with the facts: massage therapy is wonderful! It feels good to the body and mind, it can relieve pain, promotes healing, and improves circulation.
Many people see massage therapy as a means of relaxation or as a type of “special treatment” to be enjoyed as part of a vacation or special event, but not nearly as many people are aware that massage therapy also plays an important role in improving overall cardiovascular health.
Many massage therapists, especially those who work as a team with physical therapists and chiropractors, share the ultimate goal of that all health care workers have; providing personalized care for clients to help them achieve and/or maintain the best possible health.

How it works to improve cardiovascular health

Adding massage therapy to your list of health care measures, such as eating right, exercising, getting regular checkups from the doctor, etc., can result in major stress relief, lower blood pressure, improved circulation, as well as a shorter recovery time for many injuries, including cardiovascular surgeries.
High blood pressure is well known as one of the leading causes of stroke, kidney failure, and heart disease. Many individuals undertake life saving measures to bring down their blood pressure numbers, including taking medication.
Massage therapy is one step that people can take to lower their hypertension and it requires no medication, so there are no side effects, no special diets, no trips to the hospital.
Stress is also a leading cause of high blood pressure and even heart disease. Regular massage therapy reduces stress and, therefore, can lower blood pressure, even if only for a temporary period. Let’s not forget that many people today are suffering from chronic anxiety.
Not only are these feelings difficult to live with, causing some people to become virtual hermits in their homes, but Harvard Health acknowledges that panic attacks and generalized anxiety disorders can lead to heart disease.

Science Backed Evidence

There are quite a few studies in this area as well, which show a direct correlation between improved cardiovascular health and regular massage therapy.
A study performed in 2013 found that massage therapy served as an effective means of intervention in the control of high blood pressure in women who were diagnosed as being pre-hypertensive.

It is interesting to note that the effects of lowered blood pressure lasted up to 72 hours after the therapy session ended.
A somewhat similar study, performed in Malaysia, also in 2013, found that not only did Swedish massage therapy reduce blood pressure and heart rate, but that it also lowered inflammatory markers in women.

Chronic inflammation, especially within the walls of the blood vessels, is a leading factor in the development of heart disease.
In one small study performed in 2010, subjects reported at least a 50% decrease in their feelings of anxiety after just 10 weekly sessions of massage therapy. These gains were maintained after a follow up session a full 26 weeks later.

Understated the value of a qualified massage therapist

As stated previously, many people think of massage therapy only as a means of “feeling good” or as a special treatment reserved for occasional use, but as studies prove, a qualified massage therapist can play a much larger role when it comes to promoting good health, including cardiovascular health.

What type of massage is best?

For most people, the general Swedish massage works best. This is the most popular type of massage as it relaxes the muscles, reduces stress, and isn’t overly “rough.”

Of course, your health care professional would be the best person to ask about the proper massage for your unique situation.

How to find a qualified massage therapist

This might be a bit more difficult than you think. While massage therapists all receive approximately the same amount of training and certification, like home contractors, they are not all equal.
You would be wise to ask your doctor for a recommendation. If you are undergoing physical therapy for any type of injury, your physical therapist most likely can recommend a qualified person.
Almost all chiropractors offer a special type of massage therapy, such as Chiropractor Anchorage, that not only uses highly trained massage therapists, but they operate under the guidance and supervision of the chiropractor themselves.

If you have back problems or are already seeing a chiropractor regularly, ask them if they offer chiropractic massage.

The Bottom Line

Receiving regular massages have been shown in numerous studies to reduce stress, feelings of anxiety, lower blood pressure and inflammation, as well as increase circulation.
Whether you choose to receive a Swedish massage from a local day spa or get chiropractic massage on visits to your chiropractor, you will be doing more for yourself than simply “indulging” a pleasant pastime; you will be actively caring for both heart and mind.

About Dr. Brent Wells, D.C.

Dr. Brent Wells, the founder of Better Health Chiropractic & Physical Rehab, believes in treating clients the way he would want to be treated.

Born and raised in Southern California, Dr. Wells received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Nevada and his Doctor of Chiropractic Medicine degree from Western States Chiropractic College.