How does a massage work? March 31, 2016

EuropeSpa Blog: How does a massage work?

In one of our previous articles we already discussed ancient civilizations and their healing techniques. The practice of using massages as a curative method goes back to ancient history and is still highly evolving and performing in recent days. There are dozens of different massage techniques varied by cultures and stroking movements but they all share some beneficial effects.

Science has already declared that massage therapy is safe and favourable in many cases and health related issues, given that a professional practitioner carries them out. A massage – that is the manipulation of soft body tissues to improve health and overall well-being – without limitation, can be a solution for rehabilitation, relaxation, to ease pain and for stress relief.

We massage-lovers all know that bodywork can do miracles to us.

Imagine you are lying on a massage bed in a restful atmosphere, surrounded by tranquil music and indulging scents. You feel the sheet on your bare skin. The room is pleasantly dark, lit by small lights similar to stars on the sky. This relaxing, ambient sanctuary sets your mind at peace and your thoughts are fading away. You start feeling better before your therapist even enters the room. Does that sound familiar?

Did you know that touch is the first sense to develop in humans? Our skin behaves as a kind of “wall” between the outer and inner world and makes up 15% of the total body weight.

There are approx. 5 million touch receptors (mechano-receptors, thermo-receptors, pain-receptors and proprioceptors) in our skin. Their ability to identify touch sensations gives the brain countless information about the environment surrounding us, including temperature, pain, or pressure.

But how does a massage work exactly? Studies prove that massage therapy has biomechanical, physiological, neurological and psychological effects on us. It heals the body by its non-direct effect on the mitochondria development, which is responsible for cell growth and energy production. In order to better understand how a massage works we collected some facts below and grouped them by their benefits on the body. Remember that a single treatment only is a short-term solution, so one has to go regularly for bodywork to enjoy all its benefits.



Improves the circulatory system:

  • Encourages circulation
  • Removes metabolic waste
  • Decreases swollen limbs
  • Dilates blood vessels
  • Increases oxygen level of the cells
  • Decreases blood pressure
  • Reduces heart and pulse rate
  • Increases the number of red blood cells
  • Reduces inflammation

Improves the metabolic system:

  • Stimulates metabolic rate

Improves the renal system:

  • Increases kidney function
  • Stimulates the elimination of water

Improves the muscular system:

  • Eases pain
  • Relaxes muscle spasm, relieves tension
  • Exercises muscles
  • Promotes tissue regeneration
  • Stretches connective tissues
  • Speeds up recovery from injuries
  • Decreases tissue adhesion

Improves the skin:

  • Stimulates circulation
  • Improves the skin’s tone, elasticity and colour
  • Improves the nutrition of skin cells

Improves the lymph system:

  • Stimulates the lymphatic drainage
  • Speeds up the elimination of waste and toxins

Improves the skeletal system:

  • Distresses bones
  • Increases flexibility of joints
  • Improves posture



Improves the nervous system:

  • Relieves stress
  • Improves sleeping patterns
  • Increases parasympathetic activity
  • Decreases Cortisol and Adrenaline
  • Relieves migraine
  • Reduces mental stress
  • Clears the mind
  • Improves productivity



Improves the psychological benefits:

  • Releases endorphins
  • Reduces anxiety
  • Harmonizes the breathing rhythm
  • Provides a feeling of “well-being”
  • Enhances mental focus and concentration
  • Increases self-awareness
  • Harmonizes the body-mind-soul connection


Generally speaking, receiving a massage is pure joy and pleasure!

Please also note that a massage, in some cases, can be harmful! If you are interested in getting more details, check back later on to the EuropeSpa blog to read about contra-indications, too.


Photo credit: © Trencianske Teplice, Slovakia

Written by

Anett Wellesz

Anett Wellesz, has been a Certified EuropeSpa Consultant since May 2015. She has over 15 years of experience in marketing, branding and hospitality. Graduated as an Economist she holds a Spa Management degree from the prestigious University of California Irvine. Anett, parallel to her operation, as a Head of Marketing Read More