Neck Massage Helps Lower Blood Pressure

Harry Hirsute

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Apr 12, 2006
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Propecia, CA
REGULAR neck massages can lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of stroke and heart disease, research suggests. High blood pressure, which often has no symptoms, doubles the risk of dying from one of the conditions and affects a third of adults.

Researchers from Leeds University found signals from the neck play a key role in helping the brain maintain blood pressure, heart rate and breathing when we change posture, for instance by standing up. When these signals stop - perhaps because the neck is stiff and not being moved - we can suffer from problems with blood pressure and balance.

The findings could explain research showing that easing pain by 'cracking' the neck lowers blood pressure. Neck pain, often caused by stress, affects one in ten Britons at any one time, with three- quarters of us suffering at some point in our lives.

Writing in the Journal of Neuroscience, Professor Jim Deuchars said the breakthrough could also explain why those with whiplash injuries can experience a change in their blood pressure. 'This work also contributes to the understanding of postural hypotension - fainting which can be caused by standing up too fast,' he added.

'The neck muscles could be part of the system which normally prevents this from happening by sending signals to the brain that posture has changed.'
I Need A Massage Honey, My BP is High
 

liverock

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Jul 18, 2008
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Out of sight
Your blood pressure can be raised and not know it through painless neck problems. This study shows the right kind of massage can lower BP substantially if a misaligned vertebrae is the problem. People who spend a lot of time on computors are candidates for this neck problem.

Heart Beat: Big bend for blood pressure? Information on Healthline

Heart Beat

Subtle, precise nudges of a misaligned atlas can dramatically lower blood pressure. We are not talking about rearranging reference books, but about lining up the spinal column's topmost vertebra.

The C-1 vertebra is a doughnut-shaped bone at the top of the spine. It is sometimes called the atlas vertebra because it supports the head, much as the titan Atlas held up the sky in Greek mythology. Unlike the 25 vertebrae below it, which maintain their positions by nestling one into the other, the atlas is held in place mostly by muscles and ligaments. A link between a misaligned atlas and high blood pressure has been known since the 1960s.

Now, a Chicago-area team has tested whether realigning a skewed atlas could improve blood pressure. It was headed by Dr. George Bakris, an eminent hypertension expert at the University of Chicago who helped write the national guidelines for blood pressure treatment.

Fifty volunteers with modest high blood pressure and a misaligned atlas vertebra volunteered for the trial. Half had the bone gently nudged into place by a chiropractor who specialized in adjusting this one vertebra. The other half, the placebo group, received a manipulation that let the atlas remain cockeyed.

After eight weeks, systolic blood pressure had fallen by 3 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) and diastolic pressure by 2 mm Hg in the placebo group, suggesting a small placebo effect. In the realignment group, systolic blood pressure dropped a whopping 17 mm Hg and diastolic an equally impressive 10 mm Hg. Those are substantial improvements in blood pressure, far surpassing what is usually seen in tests of single blood pressure medicines. The results were published in the Journal of Human Hypertension.

Fixing an out-of-line atlas vertebra is not going to be a miracle cure for high blood pressure. The procedure was tested only on people with a misaligned top vertebra. And it was just a pilot study — a larger one needs to be done to see if the effect was real, and how it might work.

A misaligned atlas vertebra doesn't cause pain or curve the spine. So how would you know if yours is off kilter? Take off your shoes and lie flat on your back, legs stretched out straight in front of you. If one leg is slightly longer than the other, and the position of one heel moves when you turn your head to the left and right, the chances are good that your atlas vertebra is awry.
 

reviyve

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Jun 2, 2009
Location
Westchester County, NY
One aspect of massage to consider is the fact that when the body is relaxed through massage, the heart rate lowers. Stress is a common cause of heart attack. Tension is usually reflected in the neck muscles when stress is encountered. This is why when the neck muscles are massaged, stress and tension are released.

I think everyone should take advantage of regular neck massages because we all exeperience stress which could leave us tense. Well, that's my 50 cents worth :)

Michelle http://stressreliefbyrv.com/
 

Jenny19

New member
Joined
Jun 7, 2009
For many of us, it is the best way to unwind after a hard day's work.
But scientists believe a regular neck massage could also prove a life-saver.
It can lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of stroke and heart disease, research suggests.
High blood pressure, which often shows no symptoms, doubles the risk of dying from one of the conditions.
Researchers from Leeds University found signals from the neck play a key role in helping the brain maintain blood pressure, heart rate and breathing when we change posture, for instance by standing up.
When these signals stop - perhaps because the neck is stiff and not being moved - we can suffer from problems with blood pressure and balance.
Neck pain, often caused by stress, affects one in ten Britons at any one time, with three-quarters of us suffering from it at some point in our lives.
Writing in the Journal of Neuroscience, Professor Jim Deuchars said the breakthrough could also explain why those with whiplash injuries can experience a change in their blood pressure.
"This work also contributes to the understanding of postural hypotension - fainting which can be caused by standing up too fast," he added.
"The neck muscles could be part of the system which normally prevents this from happening by sending signals to the brain upon neck movement that posture has changed."
High blood pressure claims 60,000 lives a year and is becoming more common as Britons work longer hours and eat more fatty and salty food.
In April, the London School of Economics warned the stress of modern life could lead to an epidemic of heart disease, with half of Britons suffering from high blood pressure by 2025.
 

bbmartin

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Joined
May 9, 2009
This is great information, it adds even more "meat" to the benefits of massage or anything that helps us relax stressed, tight muscles. Massage is often thought of as an expensive luxury in the USA.

I'd like to find some simple to learn neck massage techniques so that my husband and I can give them to one another. We both work at the computer for most of the day and I know that this would improve our health - physical and mental! - greatly.

Cheers,
BB
 

kind2creatures

...elusive dreamer
Joined
Apr 5, 2009
Location
USA
This is great information, it adds even more "meat" to the benefits of massage or anything that helps us relax stressed, tight muscles. Massage is often thought of as an expensive luxury in the USA.

I'd like to find some simple to learn neck massage techniques so that my husband and I can give them to one another. We both work at the computer for most of the day and I know that this would improve our health - physical and mental! - greatly.

Cheers,
BB
These instructions are for martial artists, but I think the idea of what muscles to massage is clear, circular motion is what I use for me and hubby. I like to use transdermal magnesium oil for muscle massage, relaxes nicely! :)



1
Begin by locating the trapezius. This large muscle starts at the base of the back of the head and extends out to the tops of the shoulders, then comes in at an angle on each side, meeting in the middle of the back about halfway down the spine. The area you want to focus on is the upper trapezius, which covers the lower sides and back of the neck. This muscle controls the raising and lowering of the shoulders. Have the martial artist raise his shoulders to isolate the trapezius so that you get a feel for it with your fingertips.


Step 2
Locate the sternocleidomastoid (SCM) muscles. These are the rope-like muscles which run from just behind the ear to the collarbone. When your subject tilts her head to the side, you should be able to easily find the SCM. These muscles act in flexing, tucking and rotating the head.


Step 3
Locate the scalene muscles. This is a group of three muscles—the anterior, middle and posterior scalene—which are attached to the first and second ribs, and are crucial in assisting the breathing process. While supporting respiration is their main function, these muscles also manage the weight of the head. The scalene muscles are located in the groove that is formed where the trapezius and the SCM meet on the lower side of the neck.


Step 4
Have the martial artist assume and hold various martial arts movements, such as ready stances, blocks and punches. This isolates the relevant muscles so that they can be accessed for massage. As each muscle is flexed, work your fingers into the muscle, moving along the length of it gradually, applying enough force that firm pressure is felt, but not pain. When you work the SCM, use your finger and thumb to grasp it while rolling it between your fingers.
 

bbmartin

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Joined
May 9, 2009
Thank you kind2creatures! It's really great to be able to put the health information here to practical use! I think that giving and getting healthy massages from your mate is definitely part of living a healthy lifestyle!

Cheers,
BB
 

Arrowwind09

Standing at the Portal
Joined
Oct 16, 2007
One good way to give a neck massage is to have the person lay on their back and you stand or sit by the top of their head. This way you have the weight of their body as you stroke the back of the neck and shoulder blades and they can relax more because they are laying down and not having to hold their head up.
 

bbmartin

New member
Joined
May 9, 2009
Ah, that's so true Arrow! It helps me get more pressure on my hubby's neck and back too, since I can put some of my body weight into it.

I just found this "Hoe to Do an Indian Head Massage" that includes the shoulders and the neck when I was looking for an illustration of the trapezius muscle. It has good pictures with the instructions, I have a willing volunteer here :) (Then it will be my turn!)

http://www.wikihow.com/Do-an-Indian-Head-Massage

Cheers,
BB
 

Arrowwind09

Standing at the Portal
Joined
Oct 16, 2007
I just gotta tell about this one since we are on the topic of massage.
Did you know that there are acupressure points in the eye balls?

To work them have your client lay flat on their back. Stand at their head. Use one thumb for each eye ball. Apply a steady direct pressure straight down on the eyeball with the lids closed, (of course!) Hold for about 30 seconds. Not to hard at first. But you had go pretty hard as tolerated. You can then increase the time as tolerated. Its intense but Its a great energizer for the eyes and creates an interesting light show for the recipient.
 

bbmartin

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Joined
May 9, 2009
Interesting! I wonder if you could use that on someone who had retinopathy... What do you recommend as a introduction to the subject of "acupressure for dummies?" :)
 

Arrowwind09

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Joined
Oct 16, 2007
You know, I do not have any formal acupressure training. I was taught by a religious science minister who worked little miracles on people in his little church in San Deigo, long ago now. His main instruction was that if it hurts press it. I have read books on it as time went by...

Xania would be the one to give ideas on this I suppose as she is an Acupuncturist.
 

bbmartin

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Joined
May 9, 2009
Thank you for your help and responsiveness - I certainly appreciate it! I'm sure there is plenty of good information on the Web. My problem is that I love learning and am interested in so many things that now I keep a "to do" list of stuff I want to know more about :D

Have a great day,

BB
 
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u&iraok

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Joined
May 22, 2009
Location
In my head
bbmartin, have you tried the Indian Head Massage yet? I have had that book for several years but have never read it. I'm curious to know if it works.

kind2creatures, that's interesting about isolating the different muscles for massage. I have a need for a lot of neck massages and it's hard to really get to some of those muscles so I think I'll try this.

I'd be interested to know, too, if a tight neck has something to do with blocked chi because when I have a good neck massage I feel something like a release of a block and energy flowing down to my toes. And then I feel much better.
 

bbmartin

New member
Joined
May 9, 2009
bbmartin, have you tried the Indian Head Massage yet? I have had that book for several years but have never read it. I'm curious to know if it works
Hi there!

I followed the video at the end of the article and gave one to my husband last night. By the look on his face and that he said it felt wonderful, I'd say it worked! He says he'll give one to me tonight so we'll see!

If you observe an increase in energy flow after you've had a massage, that's pretty good evidence of it :)

Cheers,
BB
 

u&iraok

New member
Joined
May 22, 2009
Location
In my head
Well I think I'll read the book, then. I've always been meaning to, but your results with it is just the motivation I need. And please, let me know how your massage goes.
 

u&iraok

New member
Joined
May 22, 2009
Location
In my head
Recently I had a rash all over my back and neck and was kind of freaked out. I never get rashes. What is it? Is it Morgellons, I wondered? Oh, no! Then I figured out that it was poison ivy and I got it when my husband gave me a back massage! He didn't remember touching poison ivy and had washed his hands many times that day. So...a hidden danger of back massages. Who knew?
 

auburnfan23

New member
Joined
Jan 5, 2010
very interesting I guess I have never really thought about it..but I know I sure could use a massage.
 

JTaylor

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Joined
Jun 16, 2010
great thread. It makes sense that a good neck massage reduces ones blood pressure. I have also started using the Heart Tracker system. I am training to create a deep parasympathetic relaxation response simply by doing deep paced breathing. I have done this for over 6 weeks and have noticed a normalization in my blood pressure.
 


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