Compressions are an effective massaging technique. Compressions are used on larger areas of muscle. The compression process applies pressure onto muscles, it is then held, and released. This technique is then repeated. Compressions are used within many different types of massages including Swedish, therapeutic, massage chairs, and deep tissue massages. Compression is used to help relax the body physically and mentally. Light pressure is applied across the soft tissues increasing temperature and circulation. Increased temperature allows the muscle to soften and lengthen. Compression techniques can also help stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system to support relaxation. The parasympathetic nervous system encourages relaxation and digestion in the body. When the parasympathetic nervous system is stimulated, hormones such as endorphins, serotonin and dopamine are released. These are hormones that produce feelings of calmness, contentment, and happiness.
The Compression process is also used to relieve tightness in the muscles. Compressions can enhance the stretch reflex in the muscles. Pressure applied can stretch the muscle spindle cells and trigger a reflexive contraction. A rhythmic compression technique into the muscles also creates a deep hyperaemia in the tissues. Hyperaemia is the increase of blood flow in the blood vessels. The hyperaemia effect softens the muscle fibers so they can be better worked.
Compression is used to treat acute pains. Compression onto a muscle can help decrease pain by reducing inflammation in the tissues, increasing blood circulation, and interrupting pain signal pathways. Inflammation or swelling within the tissues can cause pain. Compression can help flush out excess fluids and relieve this pressure. Compression can also encourage pain free movements by eliminating trigger points and relieving tightness.
Compression stimulates cellular exchange in the tissues. The compression techniques initially constricts the blood flow and muscle fibers. The firm tightening of the muscles compress the venous and lymph channels. The force onto the channels can push out waste products and toxins which cause tissue irritation. On release the increase of oxygenated, nutrient rich blood is filtered back into the muscles. This is a key component of the general adaptation syndrome. In order to release tension you must first increase tension, in this case with compression.
One benefit of compression is relaxation. Compressions are performed onto the muscles and stimulate a feel good factor. Compressions can be performed gently and for prolonged times. This affects the parasympathetic nervous system in the body. The parasympathetic nervous system is able to alter the mood and produce complete relaxation.
Compressions can help increase healing to damaged tissues. Compressions accelerate the healing process by increasing oxygen and nutrients into the tissues. Oxygen and nutrients can work to repair and heal any damaged cells. Increasing the healing process can help speed up recovery.