Heart disease is now the number one leading cause of death in both men and women in the United States, resulting in over 610,000 deaths every year. Because February is National Heart Month, we can’t help but wonder why these statistics are so staggering. What can we do to help raise awareness?
Biologically, we all know what the heart is and it’s functions. It is an organ the size of a fist, located behind the breastbone just left of center. It pumps blood throughout the body through the circulatory system, supplying oxygen and nutrients to tissue. Aside from the brain (your command center) the heart is the center of the body, giving life to every inch of your physical self.
Spiritually, the heart is the center of your entire being. Known as the fourth chakra, it is purposely situated in the middle of the body, balancing the lower three chakras of world matter and the upper three chakras of the spirit. When it’s open, it colors your life with compassion, love, beauty, and acceptance of self. When closed, it’s said to give way to anger, resentment, grief, and hatred.
Whether you are a spiritual person or not, it’s clear that the state in which your heart is functioning will impact your overall health. Obviously, there are many factors that affect this (diet, exercise, medications), but more and more studies are showing that simple lifestyle changes can have a dramatically positive impact—massage therapy being one of them.
- The biggest way massage therapy supports a healthy heart is by reducing stress. It’s relaxing, peaceful, and gives you time to rest. Many people meditate and reflect during their sessions or rather just quiet the mind and enjoy the stillness. Stress increases cortisol levels telling the heart and other organs to work harder. Massage therapy can actual inhibit these hormones from being produced and instead replace them with feel-good hormones known as endorphins.
- When muscles become stagnant from lack of exercise or movement, naturally occurring toxins have no where to go. They begin to build up and your tissues start to become inflamed. If blood can’t reach the tissue, your already hard-working heart is forced to pump harder in an effort to get those vital nutrients and oxygen where needed. Before you know it, you can have dangerously high blood pressure. Massage therapy releases contracted muscles which helps increase circulation, allowing blood to flow more freely throughout the circulatory system.
- Massage therapy also plays a vital role in the rehabilitation of those who have had operations on their heart or are going through other cardiovascular procedures. Surgery related pain can lead to disrupted sleep, negatively affect mood, and interfere with living a normal life. All these factors can lead to stress and anxiety, further delaying the healing process and putting additional burdens on the body. Recent studies have shown that incorporating massage into cardiac surgery patients’ post-operative rehabilitation can significantly reduce pain, anxiety, and muscular tension while improving relaxation and satisfaction.
Here at Nature’s Touch, our clients’ health and happiness is our top priority. We hope that talking about issues such as cardiovascular health will encourage or inspire you to practice positive lifestyle choices.
Massage therapy is a simple, drug-free, and non-invasive treatment that could change your life! Call us today to schedule your appointment.