How fitting it is for me to write an article about how massage can heighten the health benefits to the heart with massage for HTF’s Friday, Feb. 14, Valentine’s Day edition. My hopes are that it will show how massage can have a positive effect on the heart.
Heart disease is a health concern that needs to be taken seriously. Some people are born with a congenital heart defect and they can’t help their condition. Others have poor heart health due to a lifestyle choice (i.e., poor diet that is high in processed foods, lack of exercise, excessive alcohol consumption and/or drug addiction, a stressful job and diabetes).
There are too many of us, myself included, who take our health for granted until something drastic happens. Then we are scrambling to make healthier choices, hoping it will turn around the health concern and create a healthier body.
While massage can’t cure heart issues, it certainly can help with keeping the heart healthy. According to one article I read, high pain levels cause our bodies to release cortisol and adrenaline, stress hormones, as a way to deal with the pain. Over time, the stress takes its toll on the heart. If not managed, this can be a recipe for a heart attack.
Massage helps to lower those stress levels by reducing pain. As our muscles relax, our heart rate and breathing go down. Then our relaxation hormones, called endorphins, are released, giving us that wonderful overall feeling that all is right in the world and a sense of stability in our crazy, busy world.
I have a friend whose husband had a serious heart attack just over a year ago. I saw a picture she had posted of him at Christmastime. I couldn’t believe the transformation in her husband. Before his heart attack, he was very overweight. Since then, he had lost a ton of weight and looked really good.
I can only imagine, since I haven’t talked to my friend, that his heart attack scared him pretty good. He took it seriously enough to make those necessary changes to get healthy. While I would love to tell you he incorporated massages into his wellness program, I can’t say for sure.
Being proactive, doing everything we can to stay healthy or perhaps it is getting healthy after a bad health report, is key to enjoying life. I have a saying that I have used for years for myself and it goes like this: “I am doing the best I can with all I have got and that’s the best I can do.”
One last item, I came across this saying that was on the website listed at the end of this article. It was too good to not share: “People say the effects of massage don’t last. Well neither do the effects of bathing. Which is why I recommend you do both often.”
Source: “Massage Therapy’s Loving Role in Heart Health” by Leslie DeMatteo at www.integrativehealthcare.org.
Susan Santi is a certified massage therapist and owner of Ahhh Massage in Virginia, MN. Feel free to contact her with questions at 218-410-2144.