Relaxation is perhaps the single most important key to health and well-being. It’s an antidote to stress, which is known to contribute to the development of disease. When we relax, our body can unwind. Unwinding makes healing more effective and strengthens our immune system. And our heart rate will slow.
A 2007 British study found that people who received an hour of massage therapy every two weeks had regular resting rates that averaged almost 8 beats per minute lower than when they went without. Dropping your heart rate will make you feel better. Blood pressure also drops. Your breathing will slow and be less labored. More blood will flow to muscles relieving muscle tension.
A study conducted at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center illustrated those advantages. Post-bypass surgery patients experienced less pain and fewer muscle spasms. Their overall heart rate during their recovery was lower, too.
Researchers have found increased rate of heart disease for people with a resting heart rate of over 70 beats per minute.
Massage can also help move your nervous system from sympathetic toward parasympathetic. The sympathetic nervous system helps mobilize the body for action (fight-or-flight response), which elevates both heart and breathing rate and causes blood vessels to narrow. The parasympathetic nervous system creates a resting response characterized by a reduced heart and breathing rate and dilated blood vessels.
But there’s more!
In addition to heart health, you’ll generally have more energy, sleep better, be healthier, be able to concentrate better and have a more level mood.
Regardless of age, massage therapy can reduce stress, cause relaxation and enhance feelings of well being. Make relaxation a priority. Take some time and book one massage a week for three or four weeks. You will feel better–and your heart will be grateful, too.