Massage Therapy for Blood Pressure
Easing High Blood Pressure Through Massage Could Change Your Life
Worried about your blood pressure. Well, massage can help. It’s known by many that massage promotes circulation and blood flow. What most people don’t know is that it can positively affect hypertension or high blood pressure. We’re not just talking about a temporary change either. Recent studies have proven that massage can actually lower blood pressure in the long term as well.
Massage can help you to protect yourself against high blood pressure, which can be a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Recent studies suggest that getting a massage may help calm the sympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for increasing your blood pressure as you feel stress.
Let’s look at why high blood pressure can be so problematic and how massage can help.
The Dangers of High Blood Pressure
When your body is under stress, your adrenal glands produce an abundance of the stress hormone, cortisol. Cortisol increases blood pressure as a part of your fight or flight response when your body is perceiving danger. Doing this diverts blood away from vital organs like the stomach and reproductive organs.
It makes sense that the body would prioritize functions needed for survival and reserve valuable oxygen and nutrient-rich blood for running or defending yourself. However, many non-life-threatening events cause this same reaction, and when we experience stress on a regular basis it can be very hard on our bodies.
The very survival mechanism that we are born with can’t differentiate between work stress or dangerous threats. Your cardiovascular system is constantly barraged with daily stressors, and over time that can wear out your blood vessels and heart muscle. If you’re experiencing high cholesterol on top of that, which can be very possible in a world where it is so hard to eat healthily and exercise, and you have a perfect recipe for hypertension.
Hypertension can damage your heart and cause quite a few other problems to develop. This is why high blood pressure is nothing to shrug off. If you think you might have high blood pressure or know you do, it is crucial to work with your doctor to get it to a normal level.
Using Massage for Blood Pressure Control
So, how exactly does massage help with lowering blood pressure. Well, it has to do with how blood pressure and circulation work. Blood pressure can be explained like this.
Your blood vessels are made up of smooth muscle fibers that move together simultaneously to contract or “pump” blood and then relax to allow the blood to flow. Blood pressure measures the force of blood against the vessel walls when it’s pumped through your body. That force is recorded as a fraction. The top number, which is the systolic pressure, measures the force created by the heart pumping. The diastolic pressure, which is the bottom number, looks at the force between heartbeats.
When arteries get hard and narrow because of plaque buildup, the blood has to squeeze through a smaller space, which means more force is needed to push your blood through your body. Retaining water and other medical conditions can exacerbate this. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute states that those with a blood pressure reading over 120/80 mmHg should work to lower it.
Following a heart-healthy diet, exercising routinely, working toward a healthy weight, and avoiding smoking are crucial for healthy blood pressure. This is where massage comes into play.
Heard of endorphins? You’ve likely heard the term before. Endorphins are our bodies’ natural painkillers and counteract the effects of cortisol. After just 20 minutes of massage, endorphins are released that relax the blood vessels, decrease the intensity of the heart pumping, and keep the adrenals from producing more cortisol. It also temporarily boosts your circulation, which carries oxygen and nutrient-rich blood cells throughout your body. It also helps clear toxins from your soft tissues. The relaxing break helps us to recover from stress quicker and more fully.
Like exercise, when performed regularly, massage can help your body to consistently circulate blood more efficiently, relax vessel walls, and create an overall sense of emotional well-being.
Backed by Science
A number of studies support this. In as early as 1999, researchers from the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine and Nova Southeastern University in Florida conducted a study that looked at participants with controlled hypertension who were randomly assigned to either a massage therapy group or a progressive relaxation group.
Results showed that while both groups experienced lower anxiety levels and levels of depression, only the massage therapy group showed a decrease in blood pressure as well as cortisol levels.
Published in 2005, researchers at the University of South Florida tested the effects of a consistently applied back massage on the blood pressure of hypertensive patients. Based on meaningful point reductions in both systolic and diastolic pressure readings, they determined that regular massage lowers blood pressure in those with hypertension.
Whatsmore, several studies suggest that Swedish massage can be particularly useful for lowering blood pressure. A 2006 study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine tested the blood-pressure-lowering effects of several types of massage and looked at the results for 150 study members who received different types of massage. Researchers found that Swedish massage proved to be the most effective for reducing blood pressure.
Additional research showed that aromatherapy massage can also help lower blood pressure. A 2007 study from the International Journal of Neuroscience looked at 58 women in menopause who were assigned to either a control group or eight weekly aromatherapy massage sessions using lavender, rose geranium, rose, and jasmine essential oils. The results suggested that aromatherapy massage aided in blood pressure control.
In addition, a 2008 study from the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that enjoying a deep-tissue massage while listening to relaxing music helped to decrease blood pressure and heart rate.
Massage, when used together with an overall plan (diet, exercise, and for some people, medication) can work to lower the risk of both heart disease and stroke. It can also help prevent muscle cramps while preserving organ function and maintaining healthy skin. With so many benefits in addition to lowering blood pressure, it makes sense to include massage as part of your health plan.
If you're interested in using massage to manage your blood pressure, talk to your doctor about incorporating massage into your health routine. When you’ve been approved for massage, start shopping MassageChairPlanet.com to find the perfect massage chair for your needs.
We pride ourselves on offering the best in luxury massage loungers and know that you’ll find something that you love. Additionally, a top-selling model that we highly recommend for customers who are concerned about their blood pressure is the Luraco i7 PLUS. This chair offers an optional health monitoring system.
The health monitoring system gives you the ability to monitor your heart rate and blood pressure to make sure you are getting the most out of your massage and are improving your life in more healthful ways. It can be very beneficial when you are actively working on lowering your blood pressure.
If you want more information about massage and health be sure to check out our informative article here and the others found in our Learning Center. If you have any questions or are interested in purchasing your first massage chair, check out our Massage Chair Buying Guide or give us a call. You can even reach out through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
With all this in mind, don’t forget about our financing options. We understand that investing in a massage chair is a big decision, and we want to help make that process as simple and stress-free as possible. Our sales representatives are ready and excited to get you into the perfect chair!