February is American Heart Month. The goal is to raise awareness about heart disease and how it can be prevented. Heart disease is a term used to describe several different cardiovascular-related illnesses, such as arrhythmia, high blood pressure, and heart failure. It is the number one cause of death in the US, accounting for 2,300 deaths every day. In addition, heart disease affects an estimated 44 million American women. Although these numbers are staggering, lifestyle changes and education may prevent 80% of heart disease and stroke events. Being active can help lower blood pressure, improve circulation, and control weight.
Massage can also play a role in improving cardiovascular health. Recent studies have shown massage to help lower blood pressure. Moreover, other research has shown that massage therapy can help reduce pain, anxiety, and muscular tension in post-cardiac surgery patients. Another goal of massage is to alleviate medication side effects, such as headache and insomnia.
Stress and heart health
For those who struggle with stress, especially chronic stress, it is important to know how heart health is impacted. Stress releases adrenaline, which causes heart rate and blood pressure to rise. Chronic stress can keep those effects elevated, which may damage arterial walls. The relaxation properties of massage may help to relieve stress and lower blood pressure.
To sum up, massage is safe for those whose disease is well-controlled. When talking to your massage therapist, it is important to give a thorough health history, as well as a list of all medications you are taking. Medications have side effects that may affect you during a massage. For example, antihypertensive medication may cause dizziness, light-headedness, and nausea. Most importantly, always tell your massage therapist if you begin to feel any symptoms during the massage.
For information on how to prevent heart disease, go to www.heart.org. The American Heart Association has several informative articles on how to reduce your risk of heart disease.
Related Topics / Blogs:
M, Givi. “Durability of Effect of Massage Therapy on Blood Pressure.” International Journal of Preventative Medicine. (2013): 511-16. Web.
Supa’At, Izreen, Zaiton Zakaria, Oteh Maskon, Amilia Aminuddin, and Nor Anita Megat Mohd Nordin. “Effects of Swedish Massage Therapy on Blood Pressure, Heart Rate, and Inflammatory Markers in Hypertensive Women.” International Journal of Preventative Medicine. (2013): 1-8. Web.
Bauer BA, Cutshall SM, Wentworth LJ, Engen D, Messner PK, Wood CM, Brekke KM, Kelly RF, Sundt TM 3rd. Effect of massage therapy on pain, anxiety, and tension after cardiac surgery: a randomized study. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2010 May;16(2)
Heart Disease Statistics at a Glance. Retrieved from https://www.goredforwomen.org/about-heart-disease/facts_about_heart_disease_in_women-sub-category/statistics-at-a-glance/
Stress and Heart Disease. Retrieved from https://www.goredforwomen.org/live-healthy/stress_management/stress-heart-disease/