Healthy Beginnings

Improve Brain Function with Therapeutic Massage

Massage therapy promotes healthy brain function through the applied pressure to the muscles, which stimulate receptors in different areas of the brain. This is accomplished by the production of intracellular messengers (proteins such as neurotransmitters). These messengers are key to a healthy brain and are primarily useful through three main systems of the body. These are the endocrine, nervous and immune systems.

Each of these systems has a tremendous impact on brain activity as well as each other. They form a network of communication that allows the brain to receive the intracellular messengers during a massage session. If one of these systems becomes compromised, it can cause problems with the other two systems, thereby decreasing brain activity.

The healthier the brain, the better results from the massage and other alternative healing modalities, such as aromatherapy. It becomes a symbiotic relationship between the body and the brain; much like strengthening and stretching a muscle through exercise, yoga, walking, etc. Everything we do, or neglect to do, affects our brains. Everything we “perceive” has to do with brain function. A decrease in brain activity affects the body’s ability to function normally.

How healthy is your brain? Can you remember easily, such as why you walked into a particular room? Count backwards in increments of seven? Do you read, learn easily or play games that stimulate your thought processes? What we focus on either sends positive or negative reaction to the brain. If you are constantly watching or listening to the news, watching violence on TV or playing violent video games, you are sending negative responses to the brain, causing harm to the receptors and diminishing brain function.

There are some instances, however, where you won’t want the brain to receive more stimulation. For example, stroke victims wouldn’t want it because it’s too much stimulation to injured neurons. Therefore, if you have any illnesses or injuries, it is always best to consult with your doctor first and be sure to keep your massage therapist informed of any medical issues.

The brain uses 20 percent of the body’s glucose levels. To keep up the glucose levels, it is important to eat something within an hour or two before getting a massage, for maximum results. The amount of pressure of the massage does not affect the body’s ability to send intracellular messengers to the brain, so you can reap the rewards of stimulating your brain’s activity whether you’re getting a light relaxing massage or a deeper, therapeutic one.

Just as we respond positively when we are treated with kindness and respect, our brains respond with a higher level of activity, which promotes healthy brain function. Be kind to yourself and consider making massage therapy an integral part of keeping yourself healthy and wise.


1. Dr. Datis Kharrazian CD lecture on “Intracellular Messengers of Endocrinology”




For more info, contact Massage Envy on South Virginia in Reno at (775) 853-8399.