Virtually every system of the body is affected by massage, either directly or indirectly.
Here is a guide to how your body can benefit.
The skeletal system: Bone is affected indirectly by massage. Improved circulation of blood brings oxygen and nutrients to the bones. Joint stiffness and pain can be reduced. As the muscles become more flexible, joint movement increases.
The muscular system: Some massage movements relax and stretch muscles, reducing muscular tension and cramp. Massage also makes muscles more flexible by reducing muscle tone. Muscles tired by exercise are more quickly restored by massage than by rest.
The nervous system: Soothing massage can provide relief from nervous irritability and stress-related conditions such as insomnia and tension headaches. When used energetically to stimulate, massage may relieve lethargy and fatigue.
Circulation system: Massage can improve the flow of blood, which can help poor circulation. This is especially useful for anyone who is immobile.
Lymphatic system: Gentle massage stimulates the lymphatic system, which helps clear the body of a build-up of waste products. The relaxing effect of the massage can relieve stress, which in turn can boost the immune system.
Respiratory system: As you become more relaxed during a massage, respiration may become slower and deeper as you are using your diaphragm for breathing and expending less energy. Physiotherapists use cupping movements over the base of the lungs to relieve chest congestion.
Digestive system: Massage aids relaxation and therefore can help to increase the movement of food and waste products through the digestive system. This relaxation can have a balancing effect on the digestive system.
Urinary system: Waste products that have been released during massage find their way via the blood to the kidneys where they may be filtered out and eliminated.
Female reproductive system: Menstrual problems such as period pains and PMS can be alleviated by the relaxing effects of massage, as can menopausal symptoms.