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The Benefits of Massage

The practice of using touch as a healing method can be traced back to traditional holistic practices from about 5,000 years ago. As culture and history evolved, so did the understanding of the healing effects of massage. Chemical responses, including a decrease in stress hormones and an increase in serotonin and dopamine, which are linked to happiness, are all associated with the therapeutic effects of touch [1].

Today, massage therapy is highly respected and has been shown to have beneficial effects on a variety of conditions. Common reasons for seeking the services of a Massage Therapist include:

  • Stress Management

  • Pain Management

  • Mobility Issues

  • Pregnancy Relaxation

  • Improved sensory functions

  • Circulatory Issues

  • Support for Sleep Hygiene

  • Improved Mood

  • Boosted Energy

The holistic healing method of massage is now practised across the world.

The Importance of Touch


Touch plays an important role in our lives. Infants starved of touch in the first year of life have higher mortality rates. Such experiments took place in the 1920s with mortality rates ranging from 30% to 100% (Hunter & Struve, 1998). But it is not just infants; touch is required at every stage of human development. Even before Covid when social distancing became our new norm. Our modern western lifestyle can mean we are often isolated. We no longer live near our families, and we often don’t have any physical communication with our friends, especially in a world where social media has become more popular than traditional forms of communication. Due to these circumstances, many are seeking other ways to communicate by touch in a non-sexual, safe environment. Under this umbrella, therapeutic touch (including massage) has a role to play.

What is Massage?

Massage involves pressing, rubbing and manipulating the skin, muscles, tendons and ligaments as a form of therapy. Massage techniques are commonly applied with hands and fingers but can also involve the elbows, knees, forearms, or feet. There are a range of motions used in Massage to administer the desired treatment. 


  • Effleurage: uses long, gliding strokes from the extremities inward at various levels of pressure

  • Petrissage: a technique that is rhythmic and may include kneading, skin rolling, lifting or a push-pull movement

  • Tapotement: a beating/tapping administered with the side of the hand, a cupped hand or fingertips used in Swedish massage

  • Friction: a technique that is physically demanding, consisting of deep, circular or crosswise movements with the thumbs, fingertips, palms or elbows, designed to penetrate deep tissue.

Types of Massage

There are many different types of massage, including these common types:


  • Holistic massage: Formerly known as Swedish massage, this is a gentle form of massage that uses long strokes, kneading, deep circular movements, vibration and tapotement. It helps you feel relaxed and energised.

  • Deep massage: This massage technique uses slower, more-deeper strokes to target the deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue. It's commonly used to help with muscle damage from injuries or reduced mobility involves techniques such as trigger point, STR (Soft Tissue Release, compression and stretching.  It can be also known as Remedial massage.

  • Sports massage: Very similar to Deep tissue massage, but it's geared toward people involved in sport activities to help prevent or treat injuries.

  • Lymphatic  massage: This massage focuses on the lymphatic system.


  • Pregnancy massage: Uses techniques very similar to holistic massage and enables Soon-to-be Mums a chance to relax and support a host of issues that occur during pregnancy such as back pain, headaches, cramp, insomnia, anxiety fluid retention, and swollen limbs. Care is taken so certain types of techniques are omitted to protect Mother and child.

If you are unsure which massage would be right for you, speak to a Massage Therapist practitioner, most offer a fusion of many of the techniques mentioned.  You can also contact the GMCT or the CNHC to find a registered Therapist.

How does massage help Improve the circulation?

Massage improves the circulatory system by speeding up blood flow throughout veins and arteries, which enables oxygen to be delivered more quickly around the body. It also helps the body eliminate waste products more efficiently through the lymphatic system. Massage also has the ability to lower blood pressure and reduce the heart rate through long, slow, and rhythmic movements, which help to relieve tension from the body.

How does massage affect mood and emotions?

Massage relaxes the body and mind which in turn reduces anxiety, tension and stress which all have a negative effect on one’s mood and emotions. The act of touch can also be very soothing and comforting to a person. This can also have a positive reaction to one’s emotional state. Apart from the physical benefits massage can have on one’s emotional state, massage has the ability to have a positive benefit on the endocrine system, enabling the body to release the endorphins, (and the happy hormones) reduce adrenaline and cortisol which it produces when the body is under attack through stress. Try my recipe to improve mental and physical fatigue.

How can massage help with muscular aches and pains?

Massage is great for relieving muscular aches and pains as it has a direct effect on muscles. It breaks down adhesions, lengthens muscle and stretches muscle fibres improving mobility, flexibility and tone. Massage also helps to disperse lactic acid and uric acid from the body which are bi-products from over exercised muscles and waste in the body. Both of these cause pain, stiffness in the body. As with the circulatory system massage increases the flow of oxygen as well as nutrients which are essential for muscle function and optimum health. Read my top tips on how to combine massage with the right essential oils.

What positive effects does massage have on the lymphatic system?

Massage can help move lymph around the body as unlike the cardiovascular system lymph has no central pump to help it circulate around the body. It needs the help of the musculoskeletal system to enable it to move round the body. Massage can manually stimulate the flow of lymph around the body.

How does regular massage treatment benefit the Skin?

The skin is the body's largest and primary protective organ, covering its entire external surface and serving as a first-order physical barrier against the environment. Its functions include temperature regulation and protection against ultraviolet (UV) light, trauma, pathogens, microorganisms, and toxins [1].

Primarily, it is by contact with the skin that massage takes place. Therefore, it is fundamentally the most important part of the massage as this is where communication between therapist and client starts during a treatment and determines the outcome of the massage. It is that continuous contact with the skin that can either relax or invigorate the client. However, on a more physical note, massage boosts circulation bringing blood and nutrients to the surface of the skin. This, in turn, aids the appearance of the skin, improves regeneration, tone, elasticity, and encourages the production of sebum needed to lubricate the skin.
For more skincare information read my blog on supercharging your skincare routine.

The information provided on this website is not intended to offer professional medical advice or treatment for any condition. You should not use our site or advice within to treat health conditions or to self-diagnose. We recommend that you consult your GP or nurse if you have any health concerns whatsoever.

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