When you want to switch off and unwind, there's nothing better than a good massage. But, while stress release or muscle tension are the main reasons for getting a massage, it can also help ease anxiety, enhance sleep and improve circulation. In this article, we'll explore the benefits of massage for blood circulation and the best techniques for boosting blood flow, from seeing a masseur to sitting in a comfortable massage chair.
Does Massage Increase Circulation?
While the body regulates blood circulation, research shows massage is an effective technique for stimulating the circulatory system. The gentle or deep strokes can boost blood flow through the entire body, all the way to the fingers and toes.
The Best Massage Techniques to Improve Circulation
Most massage techniques enhance circulation to some extent. However, certain massage styles provide advanced benefits, including:
Often used at the start of a massage, effleurage stimulates the lymphatic system and prepares the body for a deeper massage. It involves the therapist applying lighter and longer strokes from one area of the body towards the heart, promoting gentle relaxation, blood flow and improved circulation.
Deep tissue massage
Distinguishable by its firm, slow and continuous strokes, deep tissue massage works to reduce muscle tension. It does this by stimulating the circulatory system and improving blood flow to efficiently capture, filter and release toxins stored in muscles, relieving muscle tightness and pain.
While this technique uses similar pressure to a deep tissue massage, it's different as it directs firm and slow strokes from one area of the body towards the heart. It increases circulation by speeding up the time it takes for blood to move from the veins back to the arteries, known as the venous return. In other words, Swedish massage stimulates the release of toxins from the muscles and increases the rate they're removed from the body.
Manual lymphatic drainage
While most massage techniques stimulate the removal of waste and toxins via the lymphatic system, manual lymphatic drainage can help speed up this process. This specialised massage gently pulls the skin towards the target lymph node, encouraging the drainage of lymphatic fluid out of the body. It's helpful for anyone with immune disorders, swollen lymph nodes or lipedema.
Pfrimmer Deep Muscle Therapy
This revolutionary massage style reduces muscle tightness caused by constricted blood flow to the body's limbs. It uses firm cross-fibre strokes to improve blood circulation and enhance mobility, which can be effective for people with arthritis, multiple sclerosis, paralysis and other mobility concerns.
Sports massage can encompass various techniques, including effleurage, deep tissue and wringing. Regardless of the specific type of sports massage, the goal is to open the blood vessels, stimulate blood flow and improve circulation to reduce muscle tension, tightness or pain.
Like removing water from a towel, wringing, as the name suggests, involves using both hands to gently lift, squeeze and twist the muscles to promote blood flow and reduce muscle tightness.
How to self-massage to increase circulation
While there's nothing better than getting a massage, finding the time or money to see a masseuse can be challenging. Self-massage techniques that you can quickly apply are beneficial when you're feeling muscle tightness, pain or poor circulation.
Find a comfortable seated position and place one leg on top of the other in a figure four shape. Wrap your hands around your feet and gently squeeze the muscles with your fingers. Continue this movement working your way up the leg until you reach your hip area, applying more pressure with your thumbs on particularly tight muscles if that feels ok.
If you have flexibility concerns and can't get your toes, a foot massager is an excellent massage for blood circulation in the feet. While localised to the feet, it promotes blood flow and improves circulation throughout your legs.
Head and face massage
The best thing about self-massage techniques for your head and face is that you can use them anywhere and anytime. They are great ways to improve blood circulation in your head.
Place your fingers on your head and gently press down, moving your fingers in a circular motion or back and forth across your scalp.
Close your eyes and place your fingers on either side of your nose below your inner eyes. Gently push down your fingers along your nose, across your cheeks, under your jaw and down your neck. You can also use a Gua Sha, a small, flat, smooth tool, to stimulate lymphatic drainage and invigorate blood flow around the face.
It might sound challenging to give yourself a full body massage; however, with the help of some tools is easier than you might think. The obvious choice is a comfortable full-body massage chair with custom programs to tailor your massage experience.
When You Shouldn’t Get a Massage
If you have a health condition, massage may worsen some symptoms. Please speak with your doctor before getting a massage to improve circulation if you have any of the following.
- Brittle bones associated with osteoporosis
- Skin concerns, including rashes, open wounds, or sores
- Painful varicose veins or suspected blood clots, e.g. DVT
- Significant leg, face or arm swelling
- Prone to bruising associated with low platelet count or blood-thinning medication
- Neuropathy associated with diabetes or other medical condition
Invest in your Health Today with Masseuse Massage Chairs
If you're ready to invest in your health and reap the rewards of a massage chair to improve your blood circulation, give us a call today. Enjoy the benefits of therapeutic massage in the comfort of your own home every day.