Relaxation and Mechanical Responses to Massage

Maybe the single largest bodily state associated with massage therapy? Relaxation. Many people get regular massages simply for the way it helps them relax, on top of numerous other pain relief and other benefits.

At Jenna Baker LMT, our therapeutic massage services include everything from relaxing tissue massage to injury massage therapy. Have you ever wondered exactly what goes into the natural responses your body has to a massage? There are two primary areas here: Your “relaxation response” and your “mechanical response.” Let’s go over what each of these means about what your body is experiencing while you get a massage.

Relaxation Response

Massage involves a safe and careful touch, which the body views as a license to relax. Combined with pain relief often found through massage, this is the relaxation response.

Generally, the relaxation response begins with the heart and breathing rate slowing down. This allows the whole body to relax, and areas like stress hormones and blood pressure are able to decrease naturally. In turn, muscles can loosen their tension, which is often subconscious and can’t even be actively felt.

In addition, relaxation response will up the levels of serotonin, a chemical associated with positive emotions in the brain. The relaxation response helps combat stress, reducing the risk of various stress-related issues like insomnia, high blood pressure, digestive issues, cardiac arrhythmias, anxiety and various other psychological problems.

Mechanical Response

The mechanical response, on the other hand, refers to any effects that happen directly due to pressure applied to soft tissue, such as muscle. One of the primary mechanical responses to massage in various areas of the body is an increase in blood and lymph circulation, which is beneficial to the body in numerous ways. The mechanical response also tends to include a relaxation of primary muscles in the area being massaged, which helps release tension within related connective tissues.

For more on the different kinds of responses the body gets from massage, or to learn about any of our pain relief massage therapy or other services, speak to the staff at Jenna Baker LMT today.