Hello Friends my name is Mamta Bhatt and I am a registered massage therapist (R.M.T.) managing my clients with hypertension @ Candlestick Massage Therapy in Mississauga. I would like to share my knowledge and experience of managing hypertension with massage therapy.
Hypertension, more commonly known as high blood pressure afftects approximately one in three adults in North America,majority of them are 65 years or plder. But it is increasingly becoming common to detect hypertension in much younger populations too..
Hypertension is defined as the persistent measurement of systolic blood pressure exceeding 140 mmHG and/or a diastiolic blood pressure exceeding 90 mmHg.
Massage Therapy has a great role to play in the management of hypertension along with management of other lifestyle factors, diet management along with the medical line of treatment.
High blood pressure arises from complex interplay of genetic,environmental,sociological,psychological, interpersonal factors, weight,diet and other lifestyle factors.
But most important cornerstone in the management of hypertension along with diet modification, exercise and aiming weight reduction is stress management.
- How massage therapy helps in lowering the blood pressure?
Per research Swedish massage techniques are most beneficial for lowering of the blood pressure.
Massage calms down sympathetic nervous system which is the main ‘fight,flight or freeze’ response of an organism under stress. Massage increases functioning of parasympathetic nervous system which is the nervous system promoting ‘rest and digest’ mechanism.
The paradigm shift from sympathetic to parasympathetic tone is the main goal of Swedish Massage therapy, which in turn promotes ‘vasodilatation’ or relaxation of blood vessels resulting in drop of blood pressure.
A registered massage therapist achieves the goal of lowering the blood pressure by:
- client’s head raised over 2-3 pillows (head high position)
- Often massage starts at the periphery..eg hands and feet and covering only small areas of arms and legs with short, soothing strokes. This helps in improving blood circulation at the periphery and reducing load on the heart.
- Massage in face down (prone) position is minimal or avoided.
- Only gentle soothing techniques are used and painful and deeper techniques are avoided.
A massage therapist is very careful about don’ts and contraindications while treating a client with high blood pressure:
- For very high and uncontrolled blood pressure a doctor’s note would be necessary before the massage therapy treatment is given.
- Hydrotherapy in the form of heat is best applied over hands and feet and minimizing or avoiding its use over the large areas like back for prolonged periods.
- Massage therapist is careful while working over large central area of the body back and chest/abdomen.
Overall Massage therapy treatment is very helpful intervention in managing the multifactorial, complex lifestyle cardiovascular disorders like hypertension.