The ancient healing practice of massage is based on solid science - a fact many people aren't aware of. It is prescribed for certain medical conditions and the results achieved are readily identifiable and measurable.
Understanding how medical massage acts on an animal's body allows practitioners to target specific areas of weakness, for example, problems with the fibrous tissue that encloses and separates layers of muscle, or with the nervous system.
An understanding of the nervous system can explain how and why appropriate manipulation of soft tissue - massage - improves a number of bodily processes including:
- Emotional state
- Weight regulation
- Pain control
- Immune function
Medical massage has been shown to lower a patient's heart rate, blood pressure and cortisol levels, which means it is able to make changes within the autonomic nervous system.
According to Narda Robinson, DVM, writing for Veterinary Practice News:
“Eventually, investigations [into how and why massage works] led to the vagal nerve network as the final common pathway. This 10th cranial nerve and associated brainstem nuclei affect nearly every bodily function, serving as a neural expressway mediating the tightly orchestrated, restorative, parasympathetic nervous system.”
The vagus nerve, also called the 'Wanderer' or the 'Rambler,' travels from the brain's medulla down past the neck and chest to the abdomen, where it provides stimulation to internal organs and sends information about the condition of those organs to the central nervous system.