Kneading treats high muscle tension while at rest. Increased tension comes from an increase in excitatory messages from the nervous system. Excitatory messages are stimulated by emotions and the release of adrenaline from stress or anxiety. The stimulation of nerves causes muscle to shorten and tighten. Kneading can treat muscle tension by relaxing these tissues.
Kneading helps reduce muscle tightness by increasing temperature of soft tissues, increasing blood circulation, breaking down adhesions, and decreasing stress. Kneading stimulates the increase of temperature by friction against the skin. When temperature increases, the muscle fibers relax and loosen allowing more movement. Kneading also reduces tightness by applying pressure to knots and adhesions. Kneading can break down knots and adhesions by aligning the fibers back to normal form which, in turn decreases muscle aches and pains.
Kneading can be a common massage technique used within a therapeutic massage. Kneading compresses the tissues in circular movements. Kneading can relieve pressure in muscles allowing them to relax. Kneading can also stimulate the nervous system which can produce calmness and reduce negative emotions leading to stress and anxiety.
Kneading stimulates capillarisation in the body. Capillarisation is the increase of the number of active capillaries in the tissue. When the number of functioning capillaries is increased the amount of blood flow to an area increases. Capillarisation happens from kneading due to the friction and stimulating movements to the surface of the skin. The increase of capillaries also means there is an increased amount of oxygen and nutrients to tissues which is effective for increased performance and in maintaining muscle health.
Kneading also produces vasodilation. Vasodilation is the widening of blood vessels. When vasodilation occurs in concert with capillarisation an increase occurs in the temperature of the soft tissues in the body. The process of vasodilation and capillarisation helps increase cellular exchange, allowing more oxygen and nutrients into muscle cells.
Kneading also increases flexibility of the muscles by increasing muscle tissue elasticity. Kneading increases tissue elasticity by stretching along the direction of muscle fibers. When muscle tissues are stretched by kneading process, muscle spindles in the muscles increase length and process signals into the nervous system. The more tissues are stretched in the muscle, the more muscle spindles adapt to a new muscle length.