Know the Anatomical Physiological Effects of Massage

Updated on March 16, 2021

We all like massages, there are many types and techniques, but did you think how effective are massages to help restore the functions of our body? Today you will be surprised with this information.


The mechanical energy, at the time of performing a diverse manipulation – that is, a massage – is converted into nervous excitation energy, thus activating the exteroceptors (skin receptors), the proprioceptors, located in muscles, tendons, joints, and ligaments; and Angio receptors, housed in blood and lymphatic vessels.

Soft massage techniques

When we apply this technique, we can notice that we excite the pain exteroceptors, we increase the temperature and we excite the proprioceptors of the tendon muscular apparatus and also some joints.

Deep massage technique 

With this technique, we mainly influence the receptors of the vessels, especially the baroreceptors and chemoreceptors.

Physiological action

The physiological action of massage on the body is a very complex process in which three factors participate:

  1. Nervous factor: The massage exerts its action on the nervous reception mechanisms, these are found in the different layers of the skin, we can find them both in the epidermis, in the dermis, or the hypodermis. In essence, the neuro-reflex action of the massage consists of the stimulation of the cutaneous receptors, that is, a reflex arc.
  2. Hormonal or humoral factor: Its action consists in that, under the influence of massage on the skin, biologically active substances have formed that pass through it, called tissue hormones. These hormones are inactive and at the time of performing a massage they go into an active and soluble state, they function as mediators in the transmission of the nerve impulse between one cell and another[cholinergic fibers]. The main hormones that we find are histamine and acetylcholine.
  3. Mechanical factor: In this case, the massage has an action of draining, eliminating, and displacing certain toxins, likewise, we avoid the stagnation of liquids and increase the metabolism.
A very clear example of the action of massage – for example – in a sports practice such as a marathon, where when applying a massage, we can eliminate psychic attention immediately after a competition, or we can create conditions for deep relaxation.

Effects of massage on the skin

Thanks to massage we produce a:

  • Cell regeneration
  • Melanocyte production
  • Helps eliminate sweat and sebaceous glands

Effects on muscle

  • Increase blood flow
  • Decreases muscle fatigue
  • Increase the recovery process
  • Decreases the sensation of pain (caused by lactic acid)
  • Increases functional possibilities (strength and endurance capacity)

Effects on bones and joints

  • Improve the elasticity of tissues
  • Synovial fluid activation
  • Decreases edema
  • Increase mobility
  • Protects from injury to the body
  • Allows you to perform passive and active movements with greater ease

Effects on the vascular system

  • Increase blood flow
  • Increased elasticity of tissues
  • Expansion of the arterial network
  • Increased lymphatic harvesting occurs
  • Increases the temperature of the tissues caused by the dilation of the vessels
It is important to emphasize that during a massage the movements of the hands should always be circular or semicircular, towards the nearest lymph nodes.

In summary

We can understand that massage has various benefits, for example, it helps eliminate CO2, eliminates lactic acid, as well as hydrogen ions and water, favors the venous return of the body, eliminates serotonin, bradykinin, histamine, and prostaglandins. At the peripheral level, it suppresses pain, eliminates fatigue, and eliminates stress.

It should be noted that, if you suffer from an injury or trauma that requires the attention of a physical therapist, there are professionals who can help you treat, recover and improve your physical condition. 

Do not hesitate to go to one as soon as possible, but make sure that you are doing it under COVID-19 restrictions. Check out here whether you should visit a therapist during the pandemic:

The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.