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Natural Awakenings Milwaukee Magazine

The Hidden Benefits of Massage Therapy

Mar 01, 2022 12:00AM ● By Alex Broses

(L-R) Alex Broses and Infinity Massage founder DeOndre Lewis

Massage therapy is a useful tool for reaching better health and bringing balance and awareness to the body.

A massage therapist gets hands-on with more muscles and tissues than many other professionals, and this offers them the opportunity to develop a unique picture of how the musculoskeletal system is functioning. A good practitioner will also consider lifestyle habits and movement patterns in each client that may lead to dysfunction and discomfort.

There are over 600 skeletal muscles in the human body that are used to move the bones and hold posture. Any one of these muscles can have a dysfunction that can lead to pain in the immediate and/or surrounding areas—and sometimes even in more distant areas of the body. When assessing pain and injuries, professionals often use movement screens and range-of-motion standards to determine the cause. Though this provides helpful information, it lacks the precision and depth that palpation provides. This is where hands-on forms of bodywork have an advantage.

In addition, massage therapists often have an understanding of how emotional energy and nervous system distress can keep the body in states of dysfunction, which is why relaxation is such a huge component of massage. Here’s an example of how that could play out:

The nervous system is responsible for sending and interpreting information from all body systems. When the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) interprets something stressful, the body changes chemically. Cortisol may rise, which raises blood pressure, inhibits other important hormones (such as DHEA) and signals the brain that there is a perceived threat. This state (of being under threat) activates a part of the brain called the amygdala, which decreases activity in the parts of the brain required to think clearly and be social. In short bursts, this is fine, and can even build resilience; however, over the long term, this can cause remarkable amounts of dysfunction and damage within the body, ultimately causing pain. Massage helps to balance the nervous system and calm our innate stress response.

Many people are unaware of the numerous benefits that massage therapy offers. When these benefits are taken into consideration, it is clear that massage therapy can be tremendously beneficial to one’s holistic health. In addition, it relieves stress, helps one relax and feels wonderful.

Alex Broses is a licensed massage therapist with Infinity Massage and Bodywork. For more information, call 414-231-9326 or visit