Can Massage Bring Down Your Blood Pressure?

Tips and Tricks of Massage Therapy
By: Julie Keating

When you go to the doctor, the first thing that they normally check is your blood pressure. Your blood pressure is a measurement of the amount of force that your blood has to use to pump blood through your arteries to supply oxygen and nutrients to your body’s tissues and organs. The heart moves blood with each beat. When you have clinically high blood pressure, it can be a risk factor for things like cardiovascular disease, stroke, heart failure, kidney disease, and other chronic health conditions.

Why Does Blood Pressure Fluctuate?

Your blood pressure is not fixed, meaning that it can fluctuate depending on what you are doing. When you are excited or active, your blood pressure will likely go up, and when resting, it lowers. Other factors that can affect your blood pressure are age, changes in body positioning, and medications. 

Who is at Risk for High Blood Pressure?

Some risks that can predispose you to high blood pressure, include:

  • A family history of HBP, diabetes, or cardiovascular disease
  • Of African American descent
  • The use of birth control pills
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • High salt intake
  • Tobacco use
  • Sedentary lifestyle

How Deep Tissue Massage Lowers High Blood Pressure

There are many benefits to having a deep tissue massage, one of them being that it can help to lower blood pressure. Medical studies have shown that deep tissue massage can positively affect diastolic, mean arterial blood, and systolic blood pressure. Deep tissue massage helps to relieve tension in the back and neck. It is also associated with boosting oxytocin levels in the body, which helps you to relax and reduce symptoms of stress.

It Helps to Improve Blood Flow and Circulation

Another benefit of deep tissue massage is that it helps to increase blood flow and circulation, which in turn, positively affects hypertension. Recent studies have shown that massage can lower your blood pressure, not just for the time being, but long term. 

How is Blood Pressure Calculated?

The blood vessels are made from smooth muscle fibers moving together that create a pumping action or contraction. Then, they dilate and relax to allow for blood flow. That force is recorded as a fraction with the diastolic pressure on top, meaning the force created when the heart pumps over the diastolic pressure, which measures the force exerted between the heartbeats. When your arteries become narrowed and hardened due to the build-up of plaque and other factors, blood is pushed through a smaller pathway. That creates more force on the vessel walls. When your body retains fluid, you’re under stress, or you have an excessive amount of cortisol, pressures can increase even more. 

The Function of Cortisol

Cortisol is a hormone that increases blood pressure and is responsible for the “fight or flight” response of the body. When your body senses cortisol, it will divert blood away from vital organs and prioritize survival functions. When the stressor disappears, the body secretes endorphins and goes into repair mode to combat cortisol. Deep tissue massage triggers the body to begin the release of endorphins, which relaxes blood vessels and reduces the intensity of your heart contractions, lowering cortisol levels. Although blood flow is only temporarily increased, massage helps the body promote natural healing. Over time, however, it helps to reduce wear and tear and retrains the brain to reduce cortisol levels, increasing healthier blood flow.

Deep Tissue Massage

As humans, the body can get stuck into improper patterns of functioning, and blood pressure is just one way that stressors and lifestyle habits can hurt your overall health. Massage is an excellent way to help retrain the brain to respond more healthily to stress, decrease cortisol production, and promote increased blood flow for a healthier body and mind. Contact us today to get started on better heart health