Many of us overlook alternative treatment methods for our physical illnesses. Despite the benefits that such practices may offer, we opt for more direct routes, such as medicine, surgery, and the like. Still, it's important that we consider the ways that less conventional practices might benefit our overall physical well being. For example, massage therapy has been shown in many cases to offer a number of possible benefits to individuals living with chronic heart conditions or who have recently suffered a cardiac event such as a stroke or heart attack. Take a look at some of the ways that massage therapy may be good for your heart.

Stress

The stress that you feel from your day-to-day life could have more physical effects than you might think. When you undergo stressful experiences, your body may release a handful of harmful chemicals, reduce your appetite, and raise your blood pressure in ways that are detrimental to your heart. According to the American Massage Therapy Association, regularly undergoing massage therapy has been shown to reduce both mental and physical manifestations of stress in women who suffer from hypertension.

Autonomic nervous system

The autonomic nervous system, a part of the body that controls involuntary processes and has a great deal to do with cardiovascular function, could benefit from massage. According to Integrative Health Care, research has shown that those who undergo massage therapy may experience a relaxation of this system. This process could reduce levels of cortisol - a chemical released by the body during times of stress - as well as lower heart rate and blood pressure.

Combating lifestyle factors

One of the most significant but frequently overlooked benefits of massage is that it could help you adopt a healthier lifestyle. Many people say massage has helped them quit smoking or adhere to other resolutions for their health. The relaxation provided through massage may provide a sort of release that could help you manage your health goals and emotions. Consider speaking with your physician about how you can integrate massage into your life to help you meet your cardiac fitness goals.

For more on heart health:

10 Tips to Fight Patient Burnout
Imaging Test for Lower-Back Pain
Pulmonary Embolism: Prevention