Over time, areas of poor circulation form trigger points which are highly irritable tender spots that refer pain, tingling or other uncomfortable sensations elsewhere in the body, usually in a predictable pattern. Muscles tense around referred pain, and if it persists, the muscles can become habitually contracted. Eventually the body lays down connective tissue throughout any contracted area with poor circulation. Trigger points respond well to deep tissue massage. Massage increases circulation, rehydrating and softening soft tissue; it acts on the nervous system to counteract the body's response to stress, relaxing muscle tension and allowing heart rate, blood pressure and circulation to return toward normal. Many people sleep better after a massage, which helps the body heal and renews emotional reserves. Massage can relieve pain, and even though temporarily, it reduces stress by giving you some control over your situation.
A massage also helps you become aware of unconsciously held tension, and how it feels to relax. This helps you recognise and release tension later, before it creates a problem.