Approximately 75 million Americans have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, which greatly increases the risk for heart disease and stroke. We know that the health benefits of massage are undeniable. Massage can reduce pain and muscle tension, while increasing relaxation and range of movement. A regular schedule of massage can overall increase your quality of life and studies have shown that it can also lower blood pressure. It’s important to know the details of high blood pressure and how massage can be used to lower it.
Blood pressure is the measure of the force of blood pumping against the blood vessel walls. If the pressure of your blood pumping is consistently too high, then you have high blood pressure, or hypertension. This means that your heart and arteries are working too hard and inefficiently, leading to hardening of the arteries, stroke, kidney disease, and heart failure. The #1 leading cause of deaths in the United States is heart disease / failure, while strokes are the #5 leading cause of deaths. Clearly, high blood pressure is a serious issue.
High blood pressure does not have any visible symptoms, and can only be diagnosed by a doctor. Remember to receive your regular annual physical to assess any hidden or underlying symptoms. Hypertension can affect both men and women equally, and studies have shown that it can affect people of any age. Physicians most often recommend high blood pressure medication, but even more importantly, they recommend lifestyle changes. A healthy lifestyle of aerobic exercise, healthy eating habits (or losing weight), abstaining from smoking, reducing the amount of alcohol and sodium in your diet, and reducing stress can be very helpful to lower blood pressure. One of the best ways to reduce stress is through massage therapy.
Massage therapy relaxes the body and improves circulation, leading to a relaxed and healthier state. Studies have shown that those who receive massages weekly have lower depression, anxiety, lower stress hormone levels, and lower diastolic and systolic blood pressure. Swedish massage in particular, which is a gentle, relaxing massage, is particularly effective. A regular schedule of weekly or biweekly massages gives your body regular doses of relaxation and reduces blood pressure consistently over time.
High blood pressure is a serious problem for 30% of the American population. If you or someone you know is affected by hypertension, get started on reducing stress and taking care of your body through massage therapy. Consult with a physician and our trained experts at MMS before starting any massage therapy to determine whether it is the right course of treatment for you.