The Circulatory System
The circulatory system is one of the 11 systems of the body. It consists of the heart, arteries, veins and blood. It has three main functions.
Transport - The heart pumps blood around the network of blood vessels in the body (arteries, veins and capillaries) via its double circulatory system. The arteries transport oxygenated blood (via red blood cells), nutrients and hormones, away from the heart to every cell of the body. The veins remove metabolic waste that has been produced by cells. This includes transporting deoxygenated blood to the heart and lungs for gaseous exchange.
Protection - An important part of the body’s immune system lies within the blood. White blood cells protect against toxins and foreign microbes (infection and disease). Platelets support the blood clotting process which is essential for wound healing.
· Body temperature - regulation of the body's temperature is assisted by the circulatory system pumping the heat generated by the liver and muscles around the body.
· Body fluids – blood carries water in the form of plasma proteins to cells of the body. As a result, osmotic balance is maintained.
· pH balance - the exchange of hydrogen ions to level out the acidity of the blood.
How massage benefits the circulatory system.
· Warms tissues of the body
· Increases arterial flow of oxygen, nutrients and hormones to body cells, tissues and organs.
· Helps clear metabolic waste produced by tissues by stimulating venous and lymphatic flow.
· Realises restrictions on circulatory flow i.e. fascial tension, muscle spasms and restrictive scarring.
· Decreases muscle tension thereby enabling the body to work more efficiently
· Speeds healing and shortens recovery after injury or recovery
· Relieves muscular and joint pain
· Aids in lymphatic drainage
· Reduces edema and bruising
· Enhances recovery from disease by reducing congestion and enhancing circulation.
· Increases/ decrease blood pressure - depending on the pressure and rhythm applied.
· Induces the parasympathetic nervous system which in turn causes slowing and strengthening of the heartbeat (relaxation).
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