I am studying for my Large Animal Massage exam, the last step in becoming licensed in Washington State. I found a wonderful list in the study guide listing the physiological effects of massage. We’ll just say the Benefits. I have seen most of these results from my work, and heard good reports from people after I worked with their horses.
1 – increases circulation of blood & other body fluids
2 – releases endorphins (natural pain killers)
3 – increases excretion of toxins (detox)
4 – relaxes muscle spasms/relieves tension
5 – alleviates stiffness & restores mobility to injured tissues
6 – prevents injuries & loss of mobility in potential trouble spots
7 – increases range of motion
8 – enhances muscle tone
9 – increases flow of nutrients to muscles
10 – reduces inflammation & swelling
11 – lowers blood pressure
12 – improves animal’s disposition
13 – increases athletic performance
14 – increases endurance
15 – maintains overall physical condition
I love this list for several reasons. It comes from professional authorities including veterinarians, so it reflects science as well as practical experience with rehabilitation and maintaining performance. It honors history: massage is the oldest known from of healing. It validates the hand as both the most high tech and most low tech healing tool available.
Do you take good care of your own body? Each one of these benefits is equally true for humans, too! Caring for our bodies is like changing the oil in our car, but with much bigger payoffs because our bodies are alive. We can heal and improve our health. It is definitely not a one way trip down entropy street as it is with machinery.