Benefits of Massage for High Blood Pressure
Blood is essential to life, but there are times when our blood can work against us. This is true in the case of hypertension or high blood pressure. High blood pressure can cause a whole host of medical issues, making the management of this condition essential. Fortunately, there are numerous benefits of massage for high blood pressure.
What Is Hypertension?
To understand high blood pressure, it’s necessary to understand what blood pressure is. Blood pressure is the force of the blood against the walls of your veins and arteries as it moves through your system.
Blood pressure is natural—the result of your heart pumping and the resistance of your arteries against this movement. When the heart is pumping more blood than the arteries can handle or when the arteries become contracted, causing the heart to have to work harder, you experience high blood pressure. This disruption in blood flow can lead to many health issues, such as:
- Cardiovascular issues (heart attack, heart disease, heart failure, etc.)
- Peripheral artery disease
Hypertension can also impact parts of the body outside the circulatory system that depend on blood flow, such as the kidney and eyes. That means reducing high blood pressure is essential for overall health and wellness.
Benefits of Massage for Hypertension
There are numerous causes of hypertension, including stress and muscle tension. Massage is uniquely equipped to address several of these causes.
When we are stressed, our bodies secrete a hormone called cortisol. This hormone is part of the “fight-or-flight” instinct designed to keep you alive in the face of danger. Part of this involves increasing your heart rate and your blood pressure. Because of that, it’s easy to fall prey to chronic high blood pressure if you’re often stressed.
Massage helps the body relax by slowing the production of cortisol. Additionally, it causes the body to release endorphins. Along with putting you in a good mood, endorphins help lower your heart rate.
Our arteries are surrounded by muscles. When our muscles are loose, our veins can relax and contract with ease, allowing blood to pass through. But when our muscles are tight, it is difficult for our arteries to expand fully, increasing our blood pressure. Fortunately, there are few things better for loosening muscle knots and relaxing tight muscles than massage.
A Note on Massage Types
Although massages are meant to be relaxing, not every massage has the same impact on blood pressure. More intensive massages such as sports massages can actually raise blood pressure. Swedish massage, a gentler massage focused on relaxation, is considered the best type of massage for lowering blood pressure. So keep that in mind when choosing a home massage device or massage chair setting.