Massage is a very effective technique for controlling pain. There are a number of ways massage may help in controlling pain.
Massage confuses the body’s pain signals.
Massage strokes may interfere with pain signal pathways to your brain, a process called the “gate control theory”. Pain impulses run toward the spinal cord and then up the cord and into the brain. Its only when they reach the brain that these impulses are perceived as pain. When you massage, it sends other impulses along the same nerves. When all these impulses try to reach the brain through nerves, the nerves get clogged like a highway during morning rush hour. The result? Most of them won’t reach the brain. And if the pain signal does not reach the brain, you won’t feel pain. Therefore, massage works by ‘closing the gate’ that pain impulses have to pass through.
Massage stimulates the body’s natural painkillers.
It stimulates the release of endorphins, the morphine-like substances that the body manufactures, into the brain and nervous system.
Massage provides deep relaxation.
It relieves muscle tension, spasm, and stiffness. All of these contribute to pain. Experts suggest that tense muscles are usually deprived of oxygen, because the tightness reduces blood circulation to the area. Massage improves blood circulation, bringing with it what the muscle needs: oxygen, other forms of nourishment and removes toxins which irritate nerve endings. The muscle then relaxes and pain decreases.
Massage relieves mental stress and anxiety.
Massage is providing the benefit of the therapeutic value of touch which helps a person in pain. Research shows that even touch lasting for less than 1 second has the ability to make people feel better.
Obviously one hour-long touch provided by massage has to make you feel good!