Massage and its effects on the Respiratory System

What is the respiratory system I hear you ask? In addition to the lungs, your respiratory system include airways, muscles, blood vessels, and tissues that help make breathing possible.
How does massage therapy help? Massage plays an important role in training the body how to relax and help improve breathing. It does this by reducing the heart rate, blood pressure and breathing rate through slow, deliberate and controlled strokes.
When any of the muscles in the chest, stomach as well as the upper back are tight for a long time or shortened either due to stress or bad posture, it can make your normal breathing difficult.
I briefly mentioned in my last article about the sympathetic nervous system which is your fight or flight response. Being in a constant state of stress or anxiety can release Cortisol, our fight or flight response hormone. Signs of this can be shown via quickened or shorter breathing.
Did you know that after the body’s perceived threat is gone, it takes between 20 to 60 minutes for the body to return to normal levels?
High levels of cortisol have been linked to many stress-related symptoms and illnesses including sleep deprivation, anxiety, inflammation and aggression. Massage can help reduce levels of cortisol levels, returning the body and mind to a more balanced state.
Massage therapy can not only improve breathing and reduce stress, but also posture. This helps open the chest area ensuring that your rib cage is in the correct alignment needed for optimal lung function (more air)
Not only will massage therapy help relax muscles, it can also help individuals become aware of their daily stress levels and can also help you enjoy a more balanced life.