The Benefits of Massage Therapy for Your Blood Pressure

The Benefits of Massage Therapy for Your Blood Pressure

High blood pressure (hypertension) puts you at high risk for heart disease, stroke, and even death. In fact, in 2019, more than half a million Americans died due to hypertension-related issues. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come with any warning signs, so unless you check your blood pressure regularly, you may not even know the danger is lurking. That’s the bad news. 

The good news is that you can lower your blood pressure to safer levels, and we can help.

Dr. Dana Robinson and our team at Peninsula RSI Chiropractic Wellness Center in Redwood City, California, use massage therapy to address hypertension. Here, Dr. Robinson explains the condition of hypertension and how massage therapy may be a key component of your treatment plan.

Why blood pressure matters

Every time your heart beats, it pumps out a fresh supply of oxygenated blood to the rest of your body through a network of arteries. Blood pressure is simply the number we use to indicate the force of your blood as it pushes against the walls of your arteries. 

Your blood pressure fluctuates throughout the day and throughout your life. Stressful moments or traumatic events can elevate your blood pressure temporarily. But if your blood pressure stays elevated and doesn’t return to normal levels, your artery walls take a beating. Over time, the damage to these vessels can lead to serious complications, such as heart attack, stroke, aneurysm, metabolic syndrome, and cognitive problems.

How high is too high?

We check your blood pressure with an inflatable cuff that slips over your upper arm. When we inflate the cuff, it squeezes just until it stops your blood flow, then it begins to deflate. As soon as your blood begins to flow, the monitor registers the top number, which measures your systolic blood pressure. 

As the cuff deflates even more, it detects the pressure in your arteries in between beats when your heart is refilling with blood, which gives us the bottom number, or your diastolic blood pressure. 

Normal blood pressure is less than 120 systolic and less than 80 diastolic, which is written 120/80.

You have stage 1 hypertension if your blood pressure is 130-139/80-89.

Stage 2 hypertension is 140 or higher systolic and 90 or higher diastolic.

If your blood pressure is more than 180 systolic and more than 120 diastolic, you’re in hypertensive crisis and need emergency medical attention.

Causes and treatments for high blood pressure

Hypertension can be a symptom of other medical conditions, such as sleep apnea, kidney disease, and thyroid problems to name a few, but it can also stem from certain lifestyle choices and circumstances, including tobacco use, alcohol consumption, high stress, high sodium diet, dehydration, physical inactivity, and obesity.

Whatever’s causing your hypertension, there are ways to lower your numbers and get you out of the danger zone. Dr. Robinson can help you identify the factors that may be contributing to your high blood pressure so you can make some healthy changes, and she can supplement those efforts with massage therapy. 

How massage therapy can help lower your blood pressure

Since one of the driving forces behind high blood pressure is high stress, it stands to reason that relaxation can be part of the solution. Avoiding or decreasing stressful situations and finding ways to calm down can lower your blood pressure, as can breathing exercises, meditation, and massage therapy.

Massage therapy calms your nerves

Massage therapy affects your nervous system — specifically, your sympathetic nervous system, which contains the nerves involved in the “fight or flight” mode. 

Massage therapy decreases tension and stress

Science backs the use of massage therapy for reducing chronic stress and tension, and research proves it lowers blood pressure.

Studies show that Swedish back massage therapy, one of Dr. Robinson’s areas of expertise, increases healthy blood flow and oxygenation and can decrease your blood pressure by 6.44 systolic and 4.77 diastolic. 

Other studies reveal that massage therapy can also address hypertension in people who suffer from anxiety disorders. 

Massage therapy decreases pain and inflammation

Chronic pain is stressful, and stress leads to hypertension. Massage therapy can ease your pain and have a positive ripple effect on your body, which includes lowering your blood pressure.

Inflammation, which can stem from injury, a sedentary lifestyle, high sodium intake, or certain medical conditions, exacerbates hypertension. Massage therapy increases your circulation and drains excess fluid buildup, which can help to lower your blood pressure.

If your blood pressure numbers are too high, come talk to Dr. Robinson to find out if massage therapy can help you lower them. Schedule an appointment by calling our friendly staff or using our online booking tool. 

You Might Also Enjoy...

The Link Between Bone Spurs and Sciatic Nerve Pain

Some spurs are good. A boot spur communicates with your horse, a spur under your saddle motivates you to pick up the pace, and to spur on a friend is an act of encouragement — but a bone spur can be a pain in the behind. Here’s why.

5 Effective Ways to Manage Stress

A little stress can get you out of danger quickly, but too much stress can cause danger for your body and your mind. With the holidays right around the corner, we’re offering tips for keeping stress under control so it doesn’t control you.