Does Massage Therapy Lower Or Raise Blood Pressure

Does Massage Therapy Lower Or Raise Blood Pressure?

Our health suffers silently as a result of the stresses and anxieties that come with navigating modern life. Among various holistic approaches to health management, massage therapy stands out not only for its ability to relax but also for its potential impact on our cardiovascular health.

But does massage therapy lower or raise blood pressure? Deep tissue massage is known not just for its intense relief of muscle tension but also for its beneficial effects on blood pressure. Through targeted pressure, deep tissue massage has been observed to positively influence both systolic and diastolic blood pressures, offering a therapeutic approach to managing high blood pressure.

In this article, let us delve into how different massage techniques can either reduce or temporarily increase blood pressure, providing crucial insights for anyone looking to enhance their well-being through massage.

Does Massage Therapy Lower Or Raise Blood Pressure? – A Short Answer

Massage therapy is a popular method that can both decrease and sometimes increase blood pressure. Techniques like Swedish and deep tissue massage are often used to promote relaxation and reduce stress, which can lead to lower blood pressure. However, it’s important to note that vigorous massages, such as sports massages, can have the opposite effect, temporarily raising blood pressure due to their stimulating nature. 

Understanding the nuances of how different massage approaches affect blood pressure is key for anyone considering massage therapy as part of their health regimen.

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Key Areas to Massage to Lower Blood Pressure

By focusing on specific regions of the body that are known to harbour stress or that correlate directly with blood pressure regulation, targeted massage therapy can help ease tension, enhance circulation and foster a state of relaxation that may contribute to healthier blood pressure levels. Here are some areas for massage that can be crucial for managing and potentially lowering high blood pressure. 

Neck and Shoulders

The neck and shoulders are common areas of tension accumulation. Massaging these areas can help alleviate stress and may lead to a reduction in blood pressure. Techniques like gentle kneading and pressure application can soothe tight muscles, thereby promoting relaxation and potentially lowering blood pressure.

Feet and Lower Legs

Reflexology, a massage technique that involves applying pressure to specific points on the feet and lower legs, is believed to influence internal organs and body systems, including blood pressure regulation. This approach can help in calming the nervous system, which is essential in managing hypertension.


The back, especially the lower back, holds significant stress, which can affect overall health, including blood pressure. Massaging the back can help relax the entire body, improve circulation and reduce the strain on the cardiovascular system, potentially lowering blood pressure.

Wrists and Hands

The wrists and hands contain several acupressure points linked directly to heart health and blood pressure management. Massaging these points can stimulate the corresponding areas in the body that regulate blood pressure, offering a non-invasive way to influence blood pressure levels.

How Long Do the Effects of Massage on High Blood Pressure Last?

The duration of the beneficial effects of massage on blood pressure varies significantly among individuals. While some may experience immediate relief, others might notice a gradual improvement in their blood pressure levels over time.

Here are some factors that affect the longevity of effects of massage:

Frequency of Massage

Regular massage sessions are key to maintaining the blood pressure-lowering effects. Routine massages can help keep stress levels under control, which is crucial for managing hypertension.

Technique Used

The type of massage technique employed can also impact how long the blood pressure-lowering effects last. Techniques that deeply relax the body and reduce stress, such as Swedish massage, may have more enduring effects.

Individual Health Conditions

Personal health conditions play a crucial role in how the body responds to massage therapy. Individuals with chronic conditions might experience different effects compared to those with situational hypertension.

Lifestyle Factors

A person’s lifestyle choices, like diet and physical activity, significantly affect the longevity of massage therapy’s benefits. A healthy lifestyle can enhance and prolong the effects of massage.

Can Massage Raise Blood Pressure?

While massage is typically associated with relaxation and lowering blood pressure, certain situations and techniques might lead to a temporary increase in blood pressure. For example, massages that involve vigorous manipulation of muscles can stimulate the circulatory system, leading to a brief elevation in blood pressure.

Types of Massages That Help in Raising Blood Pressure

In certain therapeutic contexts, increasing blood pressure slightly through massage can be beneficial, especially for individuals experiencing low blood pressure.

Sports Massage

This technique is designed to awaken the muscles and improve circulation, often leading to an increase in heart rate and blood pressure. It is particularly popular among athletes looking to enhance performance and muscle recovery.

Deep Tissue Massage

Deep tissue massage targets the deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue and uses strong pressure that can temporarily elevate blood pressure. This type of massage is beneficial for releasing chronic muscle tension.


Shiatsu involves rhythmic pressures along the meridians of the body, which can stimulate blood flow and, consequently, increase blood pressure temporarily. It’s known for balancing the body’s energy pathways and improving overall health.

Summing Up

Massage therapy offers a dual potential in terms of blood pressure management; it can both lower and raise it, depending on the technique used. For those dealing with hypertension or stress-induced high blood pressure, techniques like deep tissue massage can be particularly beneficial in managing these conditions. Conversely, individuals with naturally low blood pressure or those looking for a boost in energy and circulation might find value in more vigorous massages that can temporarily increase blood pressure. 

As with any therapeutic approach, it is crucial to tailor massage techniques to individual needs and conditions, ensuring both safety and efficacy in their application. Embracing massage therapy can, thus, be a powerful tool in the broader context of personal health management and stress reduction.

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