Medical Massage for Essential Hypertension
Medical Massage for General Stress Relief
Throughout the body, blood vessels are surrounded by a layer of smooth muscle. Contraction of this smooth muscle will constrict(narrow) the vessel, and relaxation will dilate(expand) the vessel. The brain control center achieves this contraction and relaxation of the vessel walls by way of the nervous system.
The sympathetic branch of the nervous system is the body’s emergency response system. In times of stress or danger it responds by constricting blood vessels and elevating heart rate and breathing to prepare a person for fight or flight in response to the perceived danger. With enough vessel constriction throughout the body, even from mild daily stressors, the overall blood pressure is elevated.
As usual, the control center of the body is trying to maintain balance. By selectively constricting and dilating blood vessels, the body is able to redistribute blood flow. It does this in response to various stress inputs including temperature, emotion, exercise, and sexual arousal. The sympathetic nervous system is stimulated during periods of stress whether that stress is physical or psychological.
With medical massage, we attempt to balance out that sympathetic response by inhibiting it through direct touch. The various techniques in the massage reduce the messages from the nervous system to the blood vessels, allowing the vessels to expand and thus bring more blood to the area. Ultimately, this resulting dilation can lower overall blood pressure by reducing the pressure against the vessel walls throughout the body.
Additionally, the massage techniques trigger a decrease in stress hormone production which allows the whole body to relax, which can further lower the blood pressure and promote general well-being.
Massage Strokes used for this Protocol
- 1) Effluerage – Effleurage or Gliding: a light to medium, gliding motion over the skin that always maintains contact and directs the stroke towards the heart. This stroke is frequently used at the beginning and end of a massage treatment, as well as linking other strokes together.
- 2) Petrissage #1 (petrissage means kneading) – Hands make a diamond shape and the fingers come towards the thumbs in unison with the thumbs forming a barrier for the tissue.
- 3) Petrissage #2 – Hands form a diamond shape and the fingers come towards the thumbs in an alternating rhythm. The thumbs act as a barrier for the tissue.
In our Advanced Professional Medical Massage Program, you will learn science based massage protocols to address a variety of physical and emotional dysfunctions. The protocols have been studied and implemented with outstanding outcomes for many years and our faculty are masterful therapists that will guide you in becoming a skilled compassionate practitioner of the art and science of massage. Call us to learn more about an exciting career in the growing field of medical massage!