Massage can dramatically increase the rate of blood flow and stimulate nerve receptors that cause blood vessels to dilate, or open. It also causes changes in the composition of the blood. After a massage, the oxygen content in the bloodstream can increase as much as 15%.
A clear fluid called lymph carries impurities and waste fluids away from the body’s tissues and passes through glands and nodes located throughout the lymphatic system that act as filters. While blood flow is controlled by your heart, lymph’s movement depends largely on the squeezing effect of muscle contractions. Inactive people fail to stimulate the circulation of lymph, while very active people can create more waste than the body can actually remove on its own. Therapeutic massage can dramatically aid in the movement of lymph in either case.