Heart disease is now the number one leading cause of death in both men and women in the United States, resulting in over 650,000 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?
What Are the Functions of the Heart?
• Biologically, we all know what the heart is and its 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 the 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, many factors 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. How Can Massage Therapy Support a Healthy Heart?
The most significant 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, quiet their mind, and enjoy the stillness.
• Massage therapy can inhibit stress hormones from being produced and instead replace them with feel-good hormones known as endorphins.
• 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’ postoperative rehabilitation can significantly reduce pain, anxiety, and muscular tension while improving relaxation and satisfaction.
Here at Nature’s Touch, our clients’ health and happiness are 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!