Saturday, April 18, 2009

Fundamentals- The Effects of Massage Strokes.

Fundamentals- The Effects of Massage Strokes.

There is many was that massage strokes can effect someone, it can help emotionally mentally physically and spiritually. It can help to sooth and calm someone, also make people more aware of there surroundings. It is mostly to do with touch and how someone touches you wither it is a “good” touch or a “bad” touch. By just touching someone you can sometimes tell the mood someone is, how warm or cold they are, how safe they feel. Touch is such a powerful thing it can even be more powerful then words. We can give away so much of our energy in just one touch.

The Effects of Massage on the Autonomic Nervous System.

The Autonomic Nervous system (ANS) is made up of two subdivisions

  1. Sympathetic, which is all over the body
  2. Parasympathetic, which is confined to the head and trunk.

The Sympathetic Nervous system is the bodies way of protection from danger or the way the body senses of danger and the way the body copes with extreme stress, this is called “ the flight or fight” response. This will increase heart-rate, adrenaline and epinephrine is secreted into the blood stream, and Alert levels are heightened. Sympathetic nervous system is activated at the start of a massage where the client is still not fully relaxed and is getting used to the touch of the therapist. The sympathetic system decrease with the amount of massage you get as your body is getting used to the feeling.

Parasympathetic Nervous system is the total opposite of the sympathetic system as it is used to keep balance in the body. Peristalsis is increased, blood pressure is lowered. Pain receptors are ignored or bradykinesia are reduced in the blood stream. Blood circulation is increased to the internal organs. Parasympathetic system is soothing; it encourages the rest and digests as well as relaxation and calming.

Light and vigorous massage will activates the sympathetic nervous system, where moderate massage will activate the parasympathetic system which is the one we want in massage. One hour long massages are better as they give the client enough time to fully relax and give the body enough time to move from the sympathetic to the parasympathetic nervous system.


Touch is one of the most basic needs in life, and yet we don’t spend much time considering how it effects one another. We know there’s a difference between “good touch” and “bad touch.” But you have to take into account the four aspect of touch, the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual to fully understand the effects of receiving or giving touch.

The Effects of Massage Strokes

Effects of massage can help people in so many ways, it can help with movement of the body, muscles and tissue, move fluid and help with the movement of lactic acid with people from sports or other physical activities. Touching and holding is a gentle technique used by massage therapists to introduce themselves to a new client. It is soothing and comforting to those who aren’t used to someone else’s touch and it isn’t invasive or aggressive making the client feel good.


Effleurage is continuous, long strokes with fully relaxed hands on the surface of the skin. Increasing lymphatic and venous circulation.

It is used to relax the client before moving in deeper and helps to warm up the tissues. It is used to spread the oil and used to connect massaged areas. It gives a sedative effect when it is light and superficial. When general effleurage is applied it helps to move blood towards the heart.


Firmly grasping or squeezing and then releasing skin and muscle tissues from usual position away from the bone in circular motion using hands and fingers.

It reduces soreness and stiffness which may have been caused by lactic acid from physical activities. It has a vigourating and stimulating effect, which moves fluid throughout the body as well as lengthening the muscles.


Friction is movement briskly over the skin with a flat hand or fingers and thumb in circular movements especially on joints.

It raises skin tempeture, reduces swelling and soreness of joints and superficial tissues are moved.


Rapid shaking or trembling movement applied with full hand which helps with relaxation, movement of nerves and bowels as well as waking up the nervous system.


Is stimulating especially for weak muscles. It awakens the body from a relaxed state and can cause numbing if applied for to long. It can increase local blood flow as well as tone loose muscles.

The Other Effects of Massage.

Decrease in blood pressure that lasts up to 40 minutes after the massage (1 hour)

Increases circulation in the removal of metabolic waste.

Decrease in heart rate through the activation of the relaxation response

An increase in skin tempeture

Improves skin condition

Stimulates oil glands

Reduces stress and anxiety

Promotes relaxation

Reduces feeling of depression

Decreases pain and muscle tension

Reduces muscle soreness and fatigue.

Improves sleeping patterns.


Salvo. S (2007) Massage therapy. Principle and practice 3rd edition Missouri Saunders

Fritz. S (2004) Mosbys fundamentals of therapeutic massage 3rd edition. Missouri Mosby,-Emotional,-Mental,-and-Spiritual-Qualities-of-Touch&id=1376688


a hormone secreted by the adrenal medulla upon stimulation by the central nervous system in response to stress, as anger or fear, and acting to increase heart rate, blood pressure, cardiac output, and carbohydrate metabolism.


The progressive wave of contraction and relaxation of a tubular muscular system, esp. the alimentary canal, by which the contents are forced through the system.


Extreme slowness of movements and reflexes (as in catatonic schizophrenia or in weightless spaceflight)

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