The mystery behind massage nose:
Have you ever gone for massage and after about 15mins you feel as if your nose may never clear again? But when you go to blow out all the mucus and snot, nothing comes out? Well, although there hasn't been any Harvard medical studies conducted specifically to this phenomenon there is actually a very simple, and positive explanation!
When you are receiving a massage, two major things are happening. This first is the therapist is breaking up adhesive tissue or scar tissue. Some of this adhesive tissue could have been “stuck” for days to months to years! And along with the muscle tissue itself is all the stagnant blood, toxins, and dead cells. So as this tissue is broken up, all of the stagnant “junk” is released back into the blood stream so that the body can break it down and process it out as waste.
The second major thing happening, is that from the pressure and strokes of the massage itself, Lymph fluid is being moved throughout the entire body. Lymph is a clear and colorless fluid; the word "lymph" comes from the Latin word lympha, which means "connected to water," according to the National Lymphadema Network.
You may have no idea what lymph is or what is does, so here is a quick simple break down of the lymphatic system:
The lymphatic system is a network of tissues and organs that help to rid the body of toxins. It is also responsible for the distribution of white blood cells throughout the body through the fluid called Lymph. White blood cells is what helps to fight diseases and infections. Lymphatic fluid flows through the body in vessels very similar to our veins in the circulatory system; but these vessels are much more superficial, and require very little external pressure to be affected. The tonsils, spleen and thymus are all part of the lymphatic system.
The tonsils are the first line of defensive for the body, and are the largest collection of lymphatic cells.
The spleen is the largest Lymphatic organ, and this is where white blood cells are produced.
The Thymus is where T-cells (type of white blood cell) are store to mature and then released into the lymphatic system for circulation; T-cells directly help the body with immunity.
The simple break down of how the lymphatic system functions, is plasma flows through the body in a continuous loop. Once the plasma has delivered all the vital nutrients to a cell, picked up any debris, most of the plasma fluid returns to the venous circulation through tiny blood vessels called venules and continues as venous blood. The remainder becomes lymph, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Lymph, unlike the circulatory system, only travels in one direction; up towards the neck. And because it does not have a heart to pump the fluid, it is through the motion of the joints and muscle to keep it moving. Along its way to the neck, it passes through hundreds of lymph nodes (500-700 in a human body) which filter it to remove debris and toxins. Once it reaches the final destination at the neck, it reenters the blood stream as a protein rich, toxin free fluid. From here the cycle continues.
So now that we have a basic understanding of the lymphatic system, I'm sure you're already starting to piece everything together.
As we said, the first thing that is happening during massage is the break down of old stagnant tissue and blood; so we are already upping the “toxin dumping” and causing a higher white blood cell response (more lymph fluid and flow).
Secondly, the pressure and gliding movements from the massage itself will help to move the lymphatic fluid faster; which we already established finishes its cycle at the base of the neck.
So with a higher amount of lymphatic fluid, and a faster flow, with the added pressure of gravity (laying face down) it is very likely that the fluid will start to backup a bit at its drop point in the neck. This can without a doubt cause an external force and create a sensation of clogged sinuses. Which is exactly the reason why 1. nothing comes out when you blow your nose, and 2. when you sit up and allow gravity to help push the lymph fluid back down to reenter the circulatory system, the sensation clears within a minute (remember there is no “pump” to move the fluid”.
So why is this a good thing? Well the Lymphatic system is extremely vital to our bodies immune system and overall survival. So when we have such a great output and response during body treatment, it is a GREAT sign that our bodies are working! On the other end of things, if you receive regular body work and are continuously experiencing severe lymphatic congestion, your body's toxin build up may be too high, and a full body cleanse should be considered, along with some dietary or environmental changes (chemical based body products, laundry detergents, ect.)