Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a serious condition affecting one in four American adults. Some information suggests that people with hypertension should not use massage as treatment. Fortunately, research contradicts this finding.
Any kind of massage flushes stagnant blood and floods a tightened area with new, fresh blood. This increase in circulation can increase intra-vascular pressure. So goes the reasoning behind advising individuals with hypertension to use caution.
As early as 1999, however, researchers from the Touch Research Institute, the University of Miami School of Medicine and Nova Southeastern University in Florida concluded that high blood pressure and associated symptoms were, in fact, reduced by massage therapy. According to the Integrative Health Care site, in this study:
. . . participants with controlled hypertension were randomly assigned to either a massage therapy group or a progressive relaxation group. Results showed that while both groups had lower anxiety levels and lower levels of depression, only the massage therapy group showed decreases in sitting diastolic and systolic blood pressure as well as cortisol stress-hormone levels.
These results were supported by later studies include those conducted in 2005 by researchers at the University of South Florida and by National University of Health Sciences the following year.
So you can rest assured: use of a massage chair is not simply safe, but absolutely therapeutic. According to medical massage expert, Boris Prilutsky, mobilization of skin, connective tissue, and muscle tissue during massage stimulates receptors, sending messages of relaxation to the central nervous system. These messages in turn cause vasodilation, resulting in decreased blood pressure and heart rate.
If you suffer from hypertension, of course, you should take precautions. If you have uncontrolled hypertension, consult your doctor and get approval before using a massage chair. And choose a chair with modalities particularly suited for relaxation and hypertension, like Swedish massage, which research shows has the greatest effect in reducing blood pressure readings.
And if you have questions, contact us. We can help you choose a product that best suits your needs.
Cutler, Nicole. “Hypertension: Massage Indication or Contraindication?” Institute for Integrative Healthcare, 17 Mar. 2014, www.integrativehealthcare.org/mt/archives/2007/01/hypertension_ma.html.
“Southern California Health Institute.” Meet Our Founder – Boris Prilutsky | SOCHi.edu, www.sochi.edu/about/sochi-founder/.