General Question

whitetigress's avatar

What is the science behind a massage?

Asked by whitetigress (3129points) December 27th, 2011

What is physically going on when one massages another? From muscle, to chemical releases, to blood flow. What is it? I just know my wife loves them and so do I.

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10 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

I think part of it, besides what you already mentioned, is human beings need touch. We see with infants and children when they are not held and touched enough they have many problems. These deprived of touch children can be found rocking back and forth trying to self soothe themselves. Pets reduce blood pressure and heart rate, they bring dogs into elderly homes so the older adults can have the joy of a pet, plus it is good for their health to be able to pet the dogs, and experience touch. So, touch has a physically calming affect, plus it feels good. It’s kind of like a drug on a chemical level.

For many adults the only touch they get is sex. When a person has young children they get it also, the warmth of a baby, or a young childs hug. In fact young children can create a sitaution of too much touch, sometimes your body does not feel like your own. I think this is part of the reason new moms might not feel like having sex, their babies are on top of them all day, and it gets to be like enough already.

I think part of the draw sex has is to be touched, our need for touch, not just the sexual pleasure part. I think we are basically unaware we are satisfying that need when we have or desire sex. Kind of like craving coffee for the flavor, but not really being aware of how addicted we are to the caffeine.

marinelife's avatar

Here are the benefits to the muscles:

” * Relieves soreness, tension, and stiffness
* Improves muscle tone
* Increases flexibility and range of motion of joints
* Improves the flow of nutrients to muscles and joints, accelerating recovery from fatigue and injury
* Reduces scar tissue
* Breaks down or prevents adhesions (knots)
* Speeds recovery from exercise
* Enhances freedom of movement
* Prevents or delays muscular atrophy, resulting from inactivity caused by injury, age, surgery, or illness
* Increases physical confidence
* Relieves cramps and muscle spasms
* Reduces pain and swelling ”

Read about the rest here

whitetigress's avatar

@marinelife Oh I don’t doubt the benefits at all. I’m just wondering what is going on chemically and physically with the muscles in that moment. Is it a share of electrons between two people? Is that even possible? That’s what I’d like to know :D

Neizvestnaya's avatar

If you’re asking if there is energy exchanged between the masseur/masseuse and you then that’s a form of massage called Reki and many people believe in it. I can tell you first hand from decades of massages that anyone can give you a good rubdown but some people rea.lly do seem to have a special touch.

Rarebear's avatar

Transitory placebo effect

lloydbird's avatar

There is an element of transferring healing energy.

whitetigress's avatar

@lloydbird Pretty Kirlian Photography :D

PhiNotPi's avatar

It this meant to be a spiritual question, or a purely scientific one?

El_Cadejo's avatar

I thought scientific, though none of the answers seemed to touch on that yet…

whitetigress's avatar

@PhiNotPi Well I re-read my post and I do believe it’s pretty black and white asking for the physicalness of it :D So yes, I was looking for a scientific response. I know there are acids in the muscles when “getting ripped” at the gym, so was wondering how is it that rubbing the muscles feels good as well.

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