The two most obvious benefits of massage are increased circulation and flexibility.
Looking at massage from a physics point of view, we see that electromagnetic energy is transferred from the giver to the receiver and back. This energy transfer cannot be duplicated by gadgets or machines. The oriental cultures call this energy Chi or life energy. This human energy transfer is an important part of the healing process .
From a psychological point of view, massage creates a sense of being cared for, of being nurtured. Massage helps us become more aware of our bodies and the feelings we value. Human touch connects one person to another and the feelings shared are healing and energizing emotionally. Safe touch is an important part of life. Massage, by a responsible professional, is a relaxing way to enjoy safe touch. Massage gives one a feeling of comfort and relaxation, like a mini vacation from the pressures of life. A clinical study at the University of Miami, School of Medicine, shows that massage increases mental alertness and accuracy in mathematical calculations. A group was given mathematical problems both before and after a series of massages and accuracy increased some 20%. This study also showed increases in beta waves, which shows that one is more relaxed after a series of massages. This relaxed state lasts longer as the cumulative benefits of more massage at regular intervals are experienced.
From a physiological or mechanical engineering point of view, massage increases the lubrication between muscle fibers and allows the muscle to move optimally. Muscle fibers are designed to work independently of each other. When muscles dry out, or dehydrate, the fibers stick together and the muscle becomes stiff or ridged. As fluid is reintroduced, the muscle softens and regains its flexibility. As circulation increases between the muscle fibers, nutrients reach the cells to heal and toxins are carried off more efficiently. Most importantly, white blood cells are a part of these nutrients and when being flushed into an area, the tissue has an increased healing effect.
The less water in the body, the more quickly we age. As we dehydrate, we begin to shrink and as our muscles become smaller, our skin begins to wrinkle. Drinking lots of water and having regular massage is a great way to get rid of wrinkles. Muscle dehydration is found at every area of disease. This would lead one to believe that good circulation could possibly keep one healthy. Degenerative diseases like cancer and muscular sclerosis are anaerobic and can not live in an oxygenated environment. Because blood carries oxygen to the cells, circulation is necessary for optimal health. Massage increases circulation, thus increasing oxygen to the cells.