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Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of men and women in the United States, according to the American Heart Association. The good news is decades of research shows that massage therapy is effective in lowering stress and blood pressure, which are contributors of heart disease.

Massage therapy performed by a qualified therapist can stimulate the nerve endings in the skin through the use of effleurage, kneading and tapotement (rapid and repeated striking of the body as a technique in massage).

These massage strokes send messages to the central nervous system to relax.  The increased blood flow causes the arteries to widen, decreasing pressure and increasing the amount of nutrient-rich blood flowing to muscles and organs.

Mounting research concludes that regular massages reduce both diastolic and systolic blood pressures by about 10mg Hg.   Additionally, heart rates drop on average 10 beats per minute after one treatment.  

These results equals that of blood pressure medication administered over one’s lifetime. A pilot study conducted at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles showed that in-patient massage treatments performed after heart bypass surgery reduced pain and muscle spasms.

According to massage therapy and osteopathic medical expert Dale G. Alexander, LMT, MA, PhD, there is another way massage therapy can benefit heart health. In a recent Massage Today article, Alexander describes how massage can literally create more space for the heart within the thorax. In the article Alexander explains, “This is achieved by increasing the suppleness and length of the soft tissues both within the chest and those of the outer wall, enhancing the mobility of the thoracic joints, and by reducing the pressure within the cavity itself.” Based on this premise, freeing restrictions found in the sternum, rib and thoracic areas will help the heart function at maximum capacity, thus improving overall cardiovascular health.

Massage therapy also releases endorphins (“feel good” hormones), which allows your body to rest, relax and digest food efficiently, as well as inhibiting stress hormones.  Since stress contributes to high blood pressure, receiving regular massages will likely reduce your risk for heart disease.

For those who do not get enough physical exercise, a monthly massage is highly recommended. Keep in mind that the effects of regular massage are cumulative. If the goal is one of health maintenance, a massage every week or two can help one feel better and reduce tension and stress levels.
In conjunction with avoiding cigarette smoke, eating a heart-healthy diet and exercising regularly, massage therapy is a valuable component to preventing heart disease.

About Vibrant Life Therapies
Vibrant Life Therapies, LLC,  located in Trexlertown, PA, offers massage therapy, exercise therapy, and nutritional counseling. Donna Ondek, owner, is a licensed Massage Therapist and certified Personal Trainer and Fitness Counselor.

Donna specializes in and Rehabilitative and Medical Massage, Lymphatic Drainage, Mastectomy and Oncology Massage. To learn more, contact Donna via phone or text at (610)703-1596, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or visit

By combining your desire for and commitment to improved health and my knowledge of the body and passion for health, we can begin to help you experience a more Vibrant Life today! Call (610)703-1596 today to schedule an appointment.

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