High blood pressure can be dangerous for those who are already genetically at risk of heart attack or stroke. It’s incredibly important to adopt a healthy lifestyle which includes a balanced diet, exercise, good sleep and the elimination of salt, fat, and smoking. Did you know that aside from all of these precautions there is one more thing you can do to lower your blood pressure?
Before we get into how massage therapy can actually lower your blood pressure, it’s important to understand what blood pressure means to your body and what high blood pressure causes internally. According to the Livestrong website, “Blood pressure measures the force that blood places against the blood vessel walls as it is pumped through the body. It is recorded as a fraction, and the top number, or systolic pressure, measures the force created as the heart pumps. The bottom number, or diastolic pressure, measures the force created when the heart is between beats. If the arteries become hard or narrow due to plaque buildup, the blood will have to squeeze through a smaller area, which will create more force against the blood vessel walls. If the body retains fluid due to too much salt intake or an underlying disease, this extra fluid can also increase the pressure inside the arteries. According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, once blood pressure reaches more than 120/80 mmHg, steps need to be taken to lower it.” (source: livestrong.com)
Massage rubs, squeezes, and stretches muscles, tendons, ligaments and soft tissue in the body. The rubbing and pressure moves the blood along to improve circulation, and reduce swelling or edema (which is generally caused by high blood pressure). Massage of course also does a great job in relaxation which is important when your high blood pressure is partly due to stress.
As with any kind of therapy, there are some risks involved. Because massage affects circulation, it’s important to note to your practitioner any history of blood clots or if there is a risk of internal bleeding. Patients with high blood pressure or any kind of current heart disease should always check with the physician first before scheduling a massage. The massage session shouldn’t cause any pain, or increase it, so if this does occur, vocalize your experience to the practitioner.
Finding a way to manage your blood pressure is important to your overall health; easier said than done sometimes. It’s a daily struggle to eat well, and to quit those bad habits that have gotten you to this place. Start small by making one change at a time, and schedule yourself for a regular massage to commit yourself to better health. Ask us for more information on how we can help you put together a plan for better wellness management!